Evidence-Based Interventions Supporting Oral Feeding in Preterm Infants
Girgin, Burcu Aykanat
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The oral feeding of preterm infants is a complicated and dynamic process involving interactions of the oral motor, neurological, cardiorespiratory, and gastrointestinal systems. Interactions of these systems, which allow preterm infants to become physiologically stable during oral feeding, are called as "self-organization" of infants. When self-organization could not be ensured, feeding and respiratory coordination is disrupted and the negatively affected respiration also causes change and irregularity in physiological values of infants. Based on this situation, infants have physiological stress and fatigue symptoms in the early period during feeding. The insufficient feeding ability of infants delays their discharge from hospital, and this causes infants to be influenced by the negative environmental conditions of neonatal intensive care units and be more exposed to infectious agents. Insufficient feeding also results in delayed growth and development of infants in the long term. Neonatal nurses should involve therapeutic interventions in infant care to establish a successful and safe oral feeding experience by considering feeding problems of preterm infants. In this review, evidence-based interventions supporting oral feeding in preterm infants will be discussed in light of the literature.
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