The effect of music reinforcement for non-nutritive sucking on nipple feeding of premature infants

Pediatr Nurs. May-Jun 2010;36(3):138-45.


In this randomized, controlled multi-site study, the pacifier-activated-lullaby system (PAL) was used with 68 premature infants. Dependent variables were (a) total number of days prior to nipple feeding, (b) days of nipple feeding, (c) discharge weight, and (d) overall weight gain. Independent variables included contingent music reinforcement for non-nutritive sucking for PAL intervention at 32 vs. 34 vs. 36 weeks adjusted gestational age (AGA), with each age group subdivided into three trial conditions: control consisting of no PAL used vs. one 15-minute PAL trial vs. three 15-minute PAL trials. At 34 weeks, PAL trials significantly shortened gavage feeding length, and three trials were significantly better than one trial. At 32 weeks, PAL trials lengthened gavage feeding. Female infants learned to nipple feed significantly faster than male infants. It was noted that PAL babies went home sooner after beginning to nipple feed, a trend that was not statistically significant.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Analysis of Variance
  • Clinical Nursing Research
  • Enteral Nutrition / methods
  • Enteral Nutrition / nursing
  • Female
  • Gestational Age
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infant, Premature* / physiology
  • Infant, Premature* / psychology
  • Intensive Care, Neonatal / methods
  • Length of Stay / statistics & numerical data
  • Male
  • Music Therapy / methods*
  • Neonatal Nursing / methods*
  • Pacifiers*
  • Referral and Consultation
  • Reinforcement, Psychology*
  • Sex Characteristics
  • Sucking Behavior* / physiology
  • Weight Gain