Ross, E.,& Fuhrman, L., (2015). Supporting Oral Feeding Skills Through Bottle Selection. Perspectives in Swallowing and Swallowing Disorders (Dysphagia) Volume 24. American Speech Language Hearing Association
Many NICU’s across the US are in the process of evaluating their current oral feeding practice standards, specifically the shift from a “volume driven” to an “ infant driven, cue based” oral feeding practices. This shift in clinical care is driven by the evidence provided by the growing body of research on infant feeding skill development. As this re-evaluation and practice shift to establish best feeding practices occurs, NICU clinical staff are also tasked with evaluating the best feeding “tools or equipment” to utilize when providing bottle feedings. Last year, Ross and Fuhrman (2015) published an informative article that discussed the “influencing factors that need to be considered when determining the optimal flow rate for an individual infant” as the infant’s “tolerance for the flow rate from the nipple/bottle is a major consideration”. Ross and Fuhrman provide an excellent review of the current evidence on the science of bottle feeding, and a blueprint for neonatal caregivers to assess the bottle systems available. “Understanding the basics of bottles and/or nipples is important to support emerging skills in the infant”; the authors provide ways in which you can evaluate the “equipment factors” including information on nipple hole size, pliability of material, shape/size, hydrostatic pressure in the bottle, and air exchange. Before selecting a feeding tool for your next feeding evaluation or therapy session, be sure to read this article!