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Title: Breastfeeding in premature infants : a descriptive study
Author: Freer, Yvonne
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 1997
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Establishing breastfeeding in the infant born prematurely remains one of the most important challenges to neonatal midwives. Many obstacles stand in the way of mothers becoming successful in this art; probably the most notable being unit guidelines established through anecdotal rather than evidence based on information. Difficulties arise in gathering "evidence" and this may in some part account for the lack of literature on breastfeeding and the preterm infant. Earlier studies indicate that breastfeeding premature infants regulate feeding differently to bottle feeding infants but these qualitative data do not adequately describe feeding performance. A convenience sample of preterm infants was selected and variables associated with feeding measured. A pulse oximeter measured heart rate and oxygen saturation pre, during and post feed, whilst feeding variables of sucking, swallowing and breathing were monitored throughout feeding using pressure sensors and auscultation. The data were continuously collected and stored in a computer using the Snapshot programme. The findings of this study indicate that practice at feeding affects outcome, bursts become longer and pauses shorter, sucks and swallows/second increase with breaths/second being influenced by milk flow and swallow rate; that total feeding time is variable and not dependent on post menstrual age (PMA); that immature infants (those of 31 weeks PMA) are able to coordinate sucking, swallowing and breathing and produce rhythmic bursts and pauses and possibly adapt feeding performance according to physiological status; finally that suckling does not cause any obvious increase in heart rate and therefore cannot be considered as an energy consuming activity.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available