The National Center for Evidence-Based Practice
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Summary of Systematic Review

Non-Nutritive Sucking for Promoting Physiologic Stability and Nutrition in Preterm Infants
Pinelli, J., & Symington, A. (2005).
Cochrane Database Syst Rev(4), CD001071.

This review meets the criteria for a high-quality evidence-based systematic review.

Indicators of Review Quality:

The review states a clearly focused question or aim No
Criteria for inclusion of studies are provided Yes
Search strategy is described in sufficient detail for replication Yes
Included studies are assessed for study quality Yes
Quality assessments are reproducible Yes
Characteristics of the included studies are provided Yes

This is a review of experimental and quasi-experimental designs addressing the use of non-nutritive sucking (NNS) in preterm infants.

Question(s)/Aim(s) Addressed:
Question not specifically stated.

Preterm infants.

Non-nutritive sucking (NNS).

Number of Studies Included:

Years Included:
1976 to March 2010.


Pediatric Dysphagia

  • Treatment

    • Oral Motor Treatments

      • Results of this review indicate that “NNS decreased length of hospital stay in preterm infants, and appears to facilitate the transition to full oral/bottle feeds and bottle feeding performance in general” (p. 7). NNS resulted in a reduction in defensive behaviors during tube feeding, a reduction in fussy time and active states before and after tube feeding, and improvement in transition to sleep state. No consistent positive effects on behavioral state were noted related to NNS. “Although a number of outcomes demonstrated no differences with or without NNS, there do not appear to be any short-term negative effects as a result of this intervention” (p. 8)

Sponsoring Body:
The Cochrane Collaboration; Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development; National Institutes of Health; Department of Health and Human Services

Oral Motor, Swallowing Disorders, Feeding Disorders

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