Lack of feeding progression in a preterm infant: a case study

Adv Neonatal Care. 2013 Jun;13(3):175-80. doi: 10.1097/ANC.0b013e31827bfd3e.


The purpose of this article was to present the case of a premature infant who displayed immature feeding progression because of nasal occlusion. Two male preterm infants of 33 weeks' gestational age at birth from a larger randomized trial were observed in a comparative case study. Using a prospective design, feeding assessments were conducted weekly from initiation of oral feeding until hospital discharge. Sucking organization was measured using the Medoff-Cooper Nutritive Sucking Apparatus (M-CNSA), which measured negative sucking pressure generated during oral feedings. Oral and nasogastric (NG) intake and vital signs were recorded. At 35 weeks, infant A demonstrated an immature feeding pattern with the M-CNSA NG feedings prevailing over oral feedings. When attempting to feed orally, infant A exhibited labored breathing and an erratic sucking pattern. During the third weekly feeding evaluation, nasal occlusion was discovered, the NG tube was discontinued, and phenylephrine (Neo-Synephrine) and humidified air were administered. Following treatment, infant A's sucking pattern normalized and the infant maintained complete oral feeding. Infant B demonstrated normal feeding progression. Nasal occlusion prevented infant A from achieving successful oral feeding. The M-CNSA has the ability to help clinicians detect inconsistencies in the sucking patterns of infants and objectively measures patterns of nutritive sucking. The M-CNSA has the potential to influence clinical decision making and identify the need for intervention.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Body Weight
  • Bottle Feeding / methods
  • Breast Feeding / methods
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Child Development / physiology*
  • Feeding Behavior*
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Gestational Age
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infant, Premature*
  • Male
  • Nasal Obstruction / complications
  • Nasal Obstruction / diagnosis
  • Nutritional Status*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Risk Assessment
  • Sucking Behavior / physiology*