The relationship between behavioral states (alert, sleep, drowsy, and crying) and oral feeding efficiency in preterm infants is not well understood.
The purpose of this study was to determine the relationship between behavioral states and feeding efficiency in preterm infants.
Comprehensive assessment of behavioral states and infant characteristics for oral feeding readiness is crucial. Alert states are optimal for oral feeding. Forced oral feeding when infants are sleeping should be avoided. Infants in crying or drowsy states prior to feeding should be closely evaluated. Sleeping or drowsy infants may benefit from interventions (eg, oral sensory stimulation, nonnutritive sucking, or multisensory intervention) to support transition to alert states prior to feeding.
Future research should evaluate behavioral states prior to and during feeding and their relationship to oral feeding efficiency.
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