Feeding Imprinting: The Extreme Test Case of Premature Infants Born With Very Low Birth Weight

Moriya Suberi, Iris Morag, Tzipora Strauss, Ronny Geva*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations

Abstract

Feeding imprinting, considered a survival-enabling process, is not well understood. Infants born very preterm, who first feed passively, are an effective model for studying feeding imprinting. Retrospective analysis of neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) records of 255 infants (Mgestational age = 29.98 ± 1.64) enabled exploring the notion that direct breastfeeding (DBF) during NICU stay leads to consumption of more mother's milk and earlier NICU discharge. Results showed that DBF before the first bottle feeding is related to shorter transition into oral feeding, a younger age of full oral feeding accomplishment and earlier discharge. Furthermore, the number of DBF meals before first bottle feeding predicts more maternal milk consumption and improved NICU outcomes. Improved performance in response to initial exposure to DBF at the age of budding feeding abilities supports a feeding imprinting hypothesis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1553-1566
Number of pages14
JournalChild Development
Volume89
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Sep 2018

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