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What is 'successful feeding' on the neonatal intensive care unit? A psychologist’s perspective.

Reissland, N. and Lewis, S. and Lal, M. and Patterson, L. (2016) 'What is 'successful feeding' on the neonatal intensive care unit? A psychologist’s perspective.', MIDRS midwifery digest., 26 (2). pp. 231-235.


This paper discusses studies of feeding preterm infants on the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) with a view to defining ‘success in feeding’. The term ‘successful feeding’ is used regularly but without any universal consensus of specific parameters entailing success. The current paper contributes to the debate of the psychological impact of feeding on the NICU in relation to parent, nurse and infant feeding interaction, centring on infant behavioural development in the context of feeding. We analyse the published literature covering a wide range of methodological approaches including randomised controlled trials and observational studies. Four key themes are identified in terms of what contributes to success in feeding: infant developmental maturity, mother-infant feeding interactions, nursing interventions, and comparison of parental and health care professionals’ engagement during infant feeding practice. We conclude that the emphasis of the meaning of successful feeding has changed from a mainly medical focus to include a psychological perspective.

Item Type:Article
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Date accepted:18 May 2016
Date deposited:19 January 2017
Date of first online publication:01 June 2016
Date first made open access:No date available

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