Development of sucking patterns in preterm infants

Saakje da Costa

Research output: Ph.D. ThesisPhD Research internal, graduation external

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The studies reported on in this thesis addressed the development of sucking
patterns in preterm newborns. Preterm infants often have problems learning
to suckle at the breast or to drink from a bottle. It is unclear whether this is
due to their preterm birth or whether it is the consequence of neurological
damage. From the literature, as well as from daily practice, we know that
there is much variation in the time and in the way children start sucking
normally. Factors such as birth weight and gestational age may indeed be
risk factors but they do not explain the differences in development. A small
spot-check proved that most hospitals in the Netherlands start infants on
oral feeding by 34 weeks’ post-menstrual age (pma). By and large the policy
is aimed at getting the infant to rely on oral feeding entirely as soon as
possible. The underlying rationale is to reduce the stay in hospital, and the
idea that prolonged tube-feeding delays or even hampers the development of
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Awarding Institution
  • Rijksuniversiteit Groningen
  • Bos, Arend F., Supervisor, External person
  • van der Schans, Cees, Supervisor
Award date10 Apr 2010
Place of PublicationGroningen
Print ISBNs978-90-367-4200-9
Publication statusPublished - 10 Apr 2010


  • preterm infants
  • nutrition
  • sucking skills


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