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Oral Feeding Readiness in Preterm Infants: A Concept Analysis

Kish, Mary Z. MSN, NNP-BC

Section Editor(s): Ikuta, Linda

doi: 10.1097/ANC.0b013e318281e04e
Foundations in Newborn Care

Oral feeding readiness in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) population of preterm infants is a complex and multifactorial concept that is encountered on a daily basis. The significance of having an understanding of the concept of oral feeding readiness within the context of prematurity is explored using the Wilsonian approach to concept analysis through the identification of characteristics and case examples of oral feeding readiness in preterm infants as directly observed in a level III NICU. Identification of these essential elements provides clarity for determining oral feeding readiness as well as leading to greater consistency in the provision of evidence-based feeding-related care for the preterm infant hospitalized in the NICU. Outcomes of this analysis demonstrated that oral feeding readiness is affected by a combination of neurodevelopmental maturity, behavioral state organization, and physiologic stability as well as being influenced by caregivers and the environment.

Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, Chatham University and Magee Womens Hospital of University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, Pennsylvania.

Correspondence: Mary Z. Kish, MSN, NNP-BC, 3117 Liberty Way, McKeesport, PA 15133 (mkish@magee.edu).

Case study observations occurred in the neonatal intensive care unit of Magee Womens Hospital of University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, Pennsylvania.

The author declares no conflict of interest.

© 2013 by The National Association of Neonatal Nurses