The Effect of Non-Nutritive Sucking on Weight Gain and Length of stay in Preterm Infants

Document Type : Original Quantitative and Qualitative Research Paper


1 . Instructor of Nursing, Department of Community Health Nursing, School of Nursing and Midwifery, Mashhad University of Medical Sciences, Mashhad, Iran

2 MS in Neonatal Intensive Care Nursing, School of Nursing and Midwifery, Mashhad University of Medical Sciences, Mashhad, Iran

3 Associate professor of Neonatologist, School of Medicine, Mashhad University of Medical Sciences, Mashhad, Iran


Background: Preterm infants frequently experience oral feeding difficulties due to undeveloped oral- motor skills and lack of coordination between sucking, swallowing and breathing. Infants’ ability to orally consume all feedings while maintaining physiological stability and weight gain is necessary for their discharge.
Aim: The effect of non-nutritive sucking on weight gain in preterm infants.
Methods: A total of 40 preterm infants from the neonatal intensive care unit in Ghaem hospital in Mashhad were divided into experimental and control groups in this quasi-experimental study. The experimental group received non-nutritive sucking by mother before early feeding tube for 10 consecutive days. In the control group, feeding tube is started without sucking intervention. A chart review was then conducted to compare the access time to independent oral feeding and weight gain between the experimental and control groups. Data were analyzed by SPSS 16 software using Independent t and Mann Whitney tests.
Results: Characteristics of the two groups in terms of age, preterm birth, birth weight and sex were not significantly different. Average weight of non-nutritive sucking and control groups was 1384.2±0.203 and 1246.1±193.9 grams, respectively (p<0.04). However, non-nutritive sucking had no effect on infant weight gain on the seventh, tenth, and fourteenth day of discharge. Non-nutritive sucking decreased significantly the length of stay (p<0.02).
Conclusion: Non-nutritive sucking has no significant effect on weight gain. Even non-nutritive sucking may cause infants’ energy expenditure and weight loss.


Main Subjects

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