Primary: to identify the potential relationship between duration of tube feeding and success of oral feeding in preterm infants; secondary: to identify the potential relationships among duration of tube feeding and alert behavioral states, orally directed behaviors, and nutritive sucking.Design
A descriptive correlational study.Setting
A Level III NICU at an inner-city hospital.Participants
Twenty-eight preterm infants who were born between 28 and 32 weeks gestational age, were clinically stable, and were expected to have at least 1 week of tube feeding during their initial hospitalizations.Methods
Data were collected daily from participants’ electronic medical records and at one-time oral feeding evaluations within 48 hours after the removal of the feeding tube.Results
We found a significant negative correlation between duration of tube feeding and oral feeding success (p = .000). We found no correlations between duration of tube feeding and alert behavioral states, orally directed behaviors, or nutritive sucking.Conclusion
Although the duration of tube feeding is a nonmodifiable factor, preterm infants who are anticipated to have extended durations of tube feeding may be at risk for delayed oral feeding success.