Interventions to Improve Oral Feeding Performance of Preterm Infants This review presents a summary of our current understanding of the development of preterm infant oral feeding skills, the feeding issues they are facing, and evidence-based approaches that facilitate their transition from tube to oral feeding. The field of infant oral feeding research is understudied as the recognition of its ... Article
Article  |   February 01, 2014
Interventions to Improve Oral Feeding Performance of Preterm Infants
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Chantal Lau
    Department of Pediatrics-Neonatology, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, TX
    Optima Feeding Systems LLC, Santa Fe, NM
  • Financial Disclosure: Chantal Lau is an Associate Professor of Pediatrics-Neonatology at Baylor College of Medicine and Founder of Optima Feeding Systems LLC.
    Financial Disclosure: Chantal Lau is an Associate Professor of Pediatrics-Neonatology at Baylor College of Medicine and Founder of Optima Feeding Systems LLC.×
  • Nonfinancial Disclosure: Chantal Lau has previously published in the subject area.
    Nonfinancial Disclosure: Chantal Lau has previously published in the subject area.×
Article Information
Swallowing, Dysphagia & Feeding Disorders / Articles
Article   |   February 01, 2014
Interventions to Improve Oral Feeding Performance of Preterm Infants
SIG 13 Perspectives on Swallowing and Swallowing Disorders (Dysphagia), February 2014, Vol. 23, 23-45. doi:10.1044/sasd23.1.23
SIG 13 Perspectives on Swallowing and Swallowing Disorders (Dysphagia), February 2014, Vol. 23, 23-45. doi:10.1044/sasd23.1.23

This review presents a summary of our current understanding of the development of preterm infant oral feeding skills, the feeding issues they are facing, and evidence-based approaches that facilitate their transition from tube to oral feeding.

The field of infant oral feeding research is understudied as the recognition of its importance truly came about with the increased preterm population and the realization that a large number of these infants are not safe and competent oral feeders. It is understandable that this research has taken a “back seat” to the more immediate concerns of saving these babies’ lives. However, the time has now come when these infants make up a large proportion of patients referred to feeding specialists for unresolved oral feeding problems during their stay in neonatal intensive care units (NICUs) as well as post-discharge. Unfortunately, due to the limited research so far conducted in this domain, available therapies are limited and lack evidence-based support. Fortunately, this growing medical concern is stimulating deeper research interests and funding.

It is hoped that the information provided will assist the development of systematic differential diagnostic approaches to address infant oral feeding issues.

Acknowledgment
The author wishes to thank her many collaborators who have supported her work over the years and for support from the National Institute of Health (R01-HD-28140; HD 044469; MO1RR000188). The contents of this publication are solely the responsibility of the author and do not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development or the National Institutes of Health.
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