State of the science: Feeding readiness in the preterm infant

Jacqueline M. McGrath, Ana V. Bodea Braescu

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

79 Scopus citations


Finding ways to consistently prepare preterm infants and their families for more timely discharge must continue as a focus for everyone involved in the care of these infants in the neonatal intensive care unit. The gold standards for discharge from the neonatal intensive care unit are physiologic stability (especially respiratory stability), consistent weight gain, and successful oral feeding, usually from a bottle. Successful bottle-feeding is considered the most complex task of infancy. Fostering successful oral feeding in preterm infants requires consistently high levels of skilled nursing care, which must begin with accurate assessment of feeding readiness and thoughtful progression to full oral feeding. This comprehensive review of the literature provides an overview of the state of the science related to feeding readiness and progression in the preterm infant. The theoretical foundation for feeding readiness and factors that appear to affect bottle-feeding readiness, progression, and success are presented in this article.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)353-368
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Perinatal and Neonatal Nursing
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jan 1 2004
Externally publishedYes


  • Bottle feeding
  • Feeding readiness
  • Oral feeding
  • Premature infants

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics
  • Critical Care
  • Maternity and Midwifery


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