Research Mentor(s): Melissa Andersen, Assistant Professor
Research Mentor School/College/Department: Pediatrics, Michigan Medicine
Presentation Date: Thursday, April 22, 2021
Session: Session 1 (10am-10:50am)
Breakout Room: Room 14
Some hospitals feed infants on a provider-driven schedule, which emphasizes quantity of the oral feed over the quality and frequently ignores infant oral-feeding engagement and disengagement cues to quickly meet oral feeding goals. Infants who are fed using this type of approach quickly learn that eating is a scary process that should be limited or avoided entirely. Alternatively, a cue-based feeding approach focuses on responding to behaviors infants use to communicate oral-feeding readiness and disengagement. Cue-based feeding promotes safe, efficient oral feeding skill acquisition and avoids negative feeding experiences that result in oral aversions. Currently, the majority of the cue-based feeding literature focuses on premature infants and newborns, and there is a lack of research for implementation with older infants (6-12 months). The research that does exist primarily focuses on behaviors observed in typically developing, healthy infants; however, behaviors of older hospitalized infants can differ dramatically from healthy infants. Consequently, cue-based feeding guidelines for older hospitalized infants do not exist. To address this gap in the literature, we used a brief 15-question online Qualtrics survey to gather information about (1) the use of cue-based feeding in older hospitalized infants and (2) specific feeding behaviors observed in older hospitalized infants. Participants included nurses, feeding therapists, and unit techs. Participation was incentivized with the chance to win a gift card. Data analysis will include frequency counts and chi-square tests to identify relationships between hospital position, length of employment, and cue-based feeding beliefs. The information gleaned from this study, in combination with existing literature on cue-based feeding, will add critical knowledge to enhance the implementation of a cue-based feeding protocol hospital wide, ensuring that even older infants will be protected from scary and overwhelming feeding experiences that place them at risk for long-term feeding issues.