Authors: Rebecca Birch Tsusaki, Pedro Mancias, Duck-Hee Kang, Nikhil Padhye, Diane Wind Wardell
Little is known about early postnatal sucking performance during breastfeeding in late preterm infants or how this may affect breastfeeding efficiency. The objective of this study was to compare differences in sucking patterns and heart rate (HR) between seven late preterm infant and seven full term infants during early postnatal breastfeeding. Feeding efficiency was measured via surface electromyography and digital video using the following parameters: time to latch (TTL), bursts per feed (BPF), intra-burst suck counts (ISC), mean pause times (MPT), and total feed performance (TFP). The mean HR was measured during sucking and pauses to compare autonomic response between groups during these feeding phases. Late preterm infants had fewer BPF (p = 0.001) and ISC per feeding burst (p = 0.007). TTL and MPT were significantly longer in the late preterm infant group (p = 0.001). Late preterm infants had higher HR during the intra-burst phase of sucking (p = .005) and during breastfeeding pause times (p = .040). Differences in TFP between groups were significant (p<.001). These findings suggest that late preterm infants experience early postnatal dysrhythmic 1sucking and feeding difficulty as well as signs of immature autonomic response during breastfeeding.
Keywords: Breastfeeding, late preterm infant, electromyography, sucking pattern Findings suggest early postnatal dysrhythmic sucking and feeding difficulty, as well as autonomic immaturity during breastfeeding in the late preterm infant.