Nonnutritive suckling during tube feedings: Effects on preterm neonates in an intensive care unit

T. Field, E. Ignatoff, S. Stringer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

133 Scopus citations


Preterm neonates (mean 32 weeks' gestation, 1,3000 gm birth weight) were provided a pacifier for nonnutritive suckling during tube feedings in the intensive care nursery. Their clinical course, subsequent bottle feeding behavior, and performance on the Brazelton Neonatal Behavior Assessment Scale were compared with those of control group infants. The infants provided with pacifiers averaged 27 fewer tube feedings, started bottle feeding three days earlier, averaged a greater weight gain per day, and were discharged eight days earlier for an average hospital cost savings of approximately $3,500. Formula intake was similar for the two groups, although nurses appeared to provide more feeding stimulation for the control infants. On the Brazelton scale, the infants provided with pacifiers showed weak reflexes more frequently. Increased restfulness and diminished activity level in these infants may have contributed to the appearance of weak reflexes. The consistency between these findings and those of previous investigators suggest that the provision of a pacifier for nonnutritive sucking during tube feedings may be a cost-effective form of intervention.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)381-384
Number of pages4
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jan 1 1982

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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