Feeding premature babies. How not to take the tube.

Babies who are born extremely prematurely are often fed via a tube either up their nose or into their stomach. Generally speaking the earlier babies can eat through their mouths the better and in this study Michael D. Kamitsuka, from the Swedish Medical Centre in Seattle, led a team of researchers looking into the effectiveness of a new oral-feeding protocol. The protocol involved four steps:

  • Encouraging sucking (on things other than food) before 30 weeks
  • Oral motor exercises starting as early as 30 weeks
  • Swallowing exercises as early as 31 weeks
  • An infant-driven oral-feeding pathway as early as 32 weeks

and was found to lead to earlier oral feeding, full oral feeding happening sooner and a reduced incidence of babies still being fed via a tube when they were sent home.

You can read the abstract of this article here.

About John Gale

I work as a medical librarian in the Joint Education and Training (JET) library at Leighton Hospital, Crewe. I keep clinicians up to date with the latest research, help them to find the best information about treatment and train them to find - and assess - high-quality information for themselves. I also help doctors and nurses find and write high-quality information for patients.
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