Associations between feeding and development in preterm infants in the NICU and throughout the first year of life.

Document Type


Publication Date


Publication Title

Early human development


oregon; psvmc; diversity


BACKGROUND: There is little published evidence regarding associations between feeding and development in preterm infants which could help identify infants most needing follow-up services.

AIMS: To determine if preterm infant feeding and development were predictable throughout the first year of life and identify associations with maternal factors, neonatal factors, and socioeconomic measures.

STUDY DESIGN: Prospective single-site study of the feeding and development of extremely and very preterm infants at three time points throughout the first year of life.

SUBJECTS: Infants(NICU) discharge (DC) until 12 months corrected gestational age (CGA).

OUTCOME MEASURES: Feeding and development were evaluated at NICU DC, 3 months and 12 months CGA. Maternal health, infant health, and socioeconomic measures were also recorded.

RESULTS: Significant differences were found between assessments for feeding and development at each of the three time points: NICU DC (p = 0.026), 3 months CGA (p = 0.001), and 12 months CGA (p = 0.000); however, no associations were found between feeding and development at NICU DC and 12 months CGA (p = 0.137). Of the maternal factors determined to be significant, none were consistent enough as to be considered relevant.

CONCLUSIONS: This study demonstrated that preterm infants with typical feeding and development at DC may go on to develop concerns in these areas, and those who scored abnormally at DC may perform typically during the first year of life. This study affirms the importance of NICU follow-up services to support feeding and development for all infants borngestation.

Clinical Institute

Women & Children


Obstetrics & Gynecology