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The science 
behind feeding difficulties

Most pre-term babies struggle with feeding because it’s a complex skill for a baby with immature neurological, gastrointestinal and respiratory systems. Adding to the problem, a baby’s low muscle tone makes it difficult to get the critical coordination needed to suck, swallow and breath to feed properly.

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For those newborn infants that struggle with feeding - which are 27% of all newborns - there is a great deal of support in the hospital and NICU from doctors, nurses, feeding therapists and pediatricians. At home, parents are left to manage on their own a majority of the time as specialist access is expensive and in short supply, sending parents down the unreliable rabbit hole of doctor google.

Scientific articles 

Published on 14 Oct, 2014
in Pediatrics Research Magazine

Impact of nutrition on Brain Development

Excellent review summarizing the influence of early nutrition on brain development in babies born preterm. Inflammation and low oxygen has been shown to a common cause of  injury to the developing preterm  brain.nfants with brain injury who received high energy and protein diet during the first year after birth had significantly improved head growth, weight gain and brain repair. 

Published on Oct 8, 2018



Quantification of nutritive sucking among preterm and full-term infants

This study measured infant feeding metrics in preterm infants over time compared to babies born full term. Preterm infants had different sucking patterns over time compared to full-term infants. When preterm infants reached full term age,  their feedings skills were similar to those of full-term infants, but with more variability.

Published on Oct 10, 2020


Neonatal feeding performance is related to feeding outcomes in childhood

This study looked at how persistent early feeding difficulties were in preterm infants. They found that neonatal feeding performance was related to standardized parent-report measures in childhood at age 4 years.Neonatal feeding performance can be an important predictor of childhood feeding outcome.

Published on Jul 24, 2015


Development of Suck and Swallow Mechanisms in Infants

Preterm infants' hospital discharge is often delayed due to their inability to feed by mouth safely and competently. No evidence-based supported guidelines are currently available for health-care professionals caring for these infants.

Published on Dec 8, 2021


Feeding Problems and Long-Term Outcomes in Preterm Infants

Preterm infants are known to have long-term healthcare needs. With advances in neonatal medical care, younger and more preterm infants are surviving, placing a subset of the general population at risk of long-term healthcare needs. 

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