Effect of Breast Milk Oral Care on Breast-Feeding Performance in Preterm Infants
Introduction: Oral care using breast milk helps preterm infants to stimulate sensory of odor and taste of breast milk resulting in better sucking and swallowing performance.
Research objectives: To compare the breast-feeding performance, including breastfeeding behaviour, breast milk consumption, and transition time between preterm infants those receiving breast milk oral care and those receiving conventional care.
Research methodology: This quasi-experimental study employed two groups post-test design. A purposive sampling method was used to recruit 43 participants (22 in the control group, and 21 in the experimental group) into the study. Inclusion criteria were: (a) infants with gestational age 28-34 weeks assessed using Ballard score; and (b) admitted at Udonthani hospital from May to September 2020. The preterm infants in the control group received a conventional care. The preterm infants in the experimental group received breast milk oral care. Once the neonatologist allowed both groups to oral breastfeeding, the breast-feeding performances (breastfeeding behaviour, breast milk consumption, and transition time) were assessed. Instruments were breast milk oral care procedure, and the Preterm Infant Breastfeeding Behavior Scale. Data were analyzed using Chi-square test, and Independent t-test
Results: At post-test, between-group statistically significant differences of breast-feeding performances were found on breastfeeding behaviour, and breast milk consumption (p<.05). However, the transition time was not statistically significantly different (p>.05).
Conclusions: Breast milk oral care affects the breast-feeding performances in preterm infants, including breastfeeding behaviour, and breast milk consumption.
Implications: Nurses should be encouraged to apply breast milk oral care to preterm infants to promote better breast-feeding performances.
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