Purpose: Single-use, laser-cut, slow-flow nipples were evaluated for their effect on respiration and milk ingestion in 13 healthy preterm infants (32.7–37.1 weeks postmenstrual age) under nonlaboratory, clinical conditions. Method: The primary outcomes of minute ventilation and overall milk transfer were measured by using integrated nasal airflow and volume-calibrated bottles during suck bursts and suck burst breaks during slow-flow and standard-flow nipple bottle feedings. Wilcoxon signed-ranks tests were used to test the effect of nipple type on both outcomes. Results: Prefeeding minute ventilation decreased significantly during suck bursts and returned to baseline values during suck burst breaks across both slow-flow and standard-flow nipples. No differences were found in minute ventilation (p >.40) or overall milk transfer (p =.58) between slow-flow and standard-flow nipples. Conclusions: The lack of difference in primary outcomes between the single-use slow-flow and standard-flow nipples may reflect variability in nipple properties among nipples produced by the same manufacturer. Future investigations examining the effect of both single-use and reusable nipple products are warranted to better guide nipple selection during clinical care.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This work was supported by the National Institute of Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (Grant 1K24DC12801, PI: Bonnie Martin-Harris, Medical University of South Carolina), the South Carolina Clinical Translational Research Institution (Grant UL1TR000062, PI: Katlyn McGrattan, Medical University of South Carolina), and the Mark and Evelyn Trammell Trust. The research team acknowledges and thanks the neonatal nurses and the parents of the participating infants, without whom this work would not be possible.