Oral Motor Stimulation, Feeding and Sucking Success in Preterm Infants


Journal of nursology (Online), vol.26, no.1, pp.27-33, 2023 (Peer-Reviewed Journal) identifier


Objective: Sucking and swallow dysfunction are common complications in preterm infants that cause oral feeding difficulties. Achieving oral feeding as early as possible is beneficial for preterm infants. This study aimed to determine the effect of nutrition oral motor stimulation in preterm infants for successful feeding and sucking. Methods: This study was conducted as an experimental trial at a neonatal intensive care unit between May 5, 2017, and March 19, 2018. The population of the study comprised preterm infants between the 29th and 34th weeks of gestation. Preterm infants in the experimental group (n = 39) were applied oral motor stimulation, preterm infants in the control group (n = 38) were only fed. These procedures were performed on each preterm infants in the experimental and control groups 3 times a day for 14 days. Results: It was found that the time of transition to full oral feeding was shorter (P = .010) while the LATCH mean scores for the first (P < .001) and second (P = .001) measurements and average nutrient intake for the second (P = .005) measurements were higher in the experimental group. The preterm infants who received oral motor stimulation transited to full oral feeding earlier and showed a higher success in sucking. Conclusion: Oral motor stimulation positively affects sucking skills in preterm infants and pro- motes their health. It is recommended to use international standard values for assessing the growth rate in preterm infants.