Effect of vacuum–release teat versus standard teat use on feeding milestones and breastfeeding outcomes in very preterm infants: A randomized controlled trial

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Abstract

Background: Breast milk is important to infant health, yet shorter breastfeeding duration is reported for preterm infants. Both breast and bottle feeds are given in the neonatal unit, with full oral feeding often the last milestone to be achieved prior to discharge home. Unlike standard bottle teats, a vacuum release teat requires the application of negative intra-oral pressure to release milk, and so may facilitate breastfeeding in preterm infants. The objective of this study was to determine the effect of vacuum release teat use on timing of achievement of the first full oral feed and on first completion of 24 h full oral feeds. Feeding method at discharge home, 2 weeks, 6 weeks and 12 weeks corrected gestational age were also examined.
Methods: A randomized controlled trial was completed with mothers of preterm infants born 24–33 weeks gestation in the neonatal unit of a tertiary women’s hospital. Infants were randomized to one of two parallel groups using a vacuum release teat or standard teat for oral feeds when the mother was not available to breastfeed. Test weights were completed for all oral feeds. It was not possible to blind participants, care givers and outcome assessors to group assignment due to the nature of the study.
Results: The groups did not differ with regard to timing of achievement of first full oral feed or 24 h of full oral feeds. Significantly more infants in the vacuum release teat group were exclusively fed breast milk at discharge from hospital and breastfed at 3 months corrected gestational age.
Conclusions: Use of a vacuum release teat when the mother is not available to breastfeed may promote preterm breastfeeding skills, resulting in higher rates of exclusivity and longer breastfeeding duration.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0214091
Number of pages14
JournalPLoS One
Volume14
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 22 Mar 2019

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