Evid Based Nurs 5:74 doi:10.1136/ebn.5.3.74
  • Treatment

A semidemand feeding protocol reduced time to full oral feeding in healthy preterm infants

 QUESTION: In healthy preterm infants, is a semidemand feeding protocol more effective than the standard practice of scheduled feedings for reducing the time to attain full oral feeding and maintaining a satisfactory weight gain?


Randomised (unclear allocation concealment), unblinded controlled trial with {follow up to attainment of full oral feeding}*.


2 neonatal intensive care units in Cincinnati, Ohio, USA.


89 preterm infants who were 32 to ≤34 weeks postconceptional age and appropriate for gestational age. Infants with congenital anomalies, gastrointestinal conditions, neurological diagnoses, or grade III/IV intracranial haemorrhage were excluded. 81 infants (91%) completed the study (mean postconceptional age at study entry 32 wks, 53% boys).


44 infants were allocated to a semidemand feeding protocol. 10 minutes of non-nutritive sucking (NNS) were provided every 3 hours, followed up by an assessment of behavioural state (modified Anderson Behavioral State scale). If the infant was judged to be in a state of restlessness or wakefulness (scores ≥3), an oral feeding was offered. If the infant was in a sleep state, he was allowed to …

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