The Effect of Non-nutritive Sucking on Mother's Finger on Feeding Tolerance and Attainment of Independent Oral Feeding in Preterm Infants: A Randomized Trial


1 Clinical Research Development Center, Imam Reza Hospital, Kermanshah University of Medical Sciences, Kermanshah, Iran.

2 School of Public Health, Dezful University of Medical Sciences, Dezful, Iran AND Department of Epidemiology, School of Public Health, Iran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran.

3 Associate Professor of Pediatrics, Neonatologist, Imam Reza Hospital, Kermanshah University of Medical sciences, Kermanshah, IR Iran.


Non-nutritive sucking is part of the initial development process in preterm infants that may speed up the transition from the tube to oral feeding. The aim of this study was to evaluate the effect of non-nutritive sucking on mother's finger on feeding tolerance and attainment of independent oral feeding in preterm infants.
Materials and Methods
This single blind clinical trial was conducted on 40 preterm infants admitted to the NICU of Imam Reza Hospital, Kermanshah in 2017. In the intervention group, non-nutritive sucking was performed on the mother's finger three times a day for 10 days during the first 10 minutes of gavage. Then, the gastric residual volume, time to achieve independent oral feeding, length of hospitalization, and weight at discharge were measured. The data was analyzed using SPSS software version 24.0.
Results: According to the results, the mean of gastric residual volume was less in the intervention group (0.65±0.33) compared to the control group (2.30±0.71) (P<0.001). Time to achieve independent oral feeding in the intervention group (7.85±1.87) was less the control group (12.15±2.00) (P<0.001). On average, the infants in the intervention group were discharged from the hospital 4.5 days earlier (P<0.001). However, their weights at discharge were not significantly different from those of neonates in the control group (P>0.05).
The results of the study showed that non-nutritive sucking on mother's finger can be effective in improving feeding tolerance and accelerating attainment of independent oral feeding in the preterm infants, resulting in early discharge from the hospital.