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Keywords:

  • chronic lung disease;
  • cross-cut teat;
  • feeding performance;
  • oral movement;
  • preterm infant;
  • single-hole teat

Aim.  To compare effects of single-hole and cross-cut teats on feeding performance, oral movement and cardiorespiratory parameters in preterm infants with chronic lung disease.

Background.  Infants’ feeding performance and physiological stability are affected by the shape and hole size of teats because of varied milk flow. The single-hole teat could facilitate efficient milk intake in healthy preterm infants. In preterm infants with chronic lung disease, few studies have determined which type of teat is suitable for feeding.

Design.  A crossover study design was conducted.

Methods.  Twenty preterm infants with chronic lung disease were studied in a neonatal intensive care unit. During the early stage in transitional period of oral feeding, each infant was provided with a small single-hole, an intermediate single-hole and a cross-cut teat with diameters of 0·45–0·5 mm, 0·7–0·8 mm and 2·0 mm, respectively, for three consecutive feeds in a random order. Feeding performance, oral movement, heart rate, respiratory rate and oxygen saturation (SpO2) were measured.

Results.  Infants fed with single-hole teats had a shorter duration of feeding time (p < 0·001) and higher feeding efficiency (p < 0·001) compared with the cross-cut teats. However, infants fed with cross-cut teats had a higher sucking pressure (p < 0·001), more sucks (p < 0·001) and bursts (p < 0·001), longer sucking duration (p = 0·002) and higher respiratory rate (p = 0·005) and SpO2 (p = 0·014) than infants fed with single-hole teats.

Conclusions.  For preterm infants with chronic lung disease, cross-cut teats facilitate feeding coordination and physiological stability during the early stage of the transition from tube to oral feeding.

Relevance to clinical practice.  Cross-cut teat can be considered for preterm infants with chronic lung disease to increase safety and self-regulation in the early stage of the transition from tube to oral feeding.