Feeding Route

Because preterm infants lack the ability to coordinate sucking, swallowing, and breathing, tube feedings must be used. Jejunal feeding was a popular method for feeding infants during the 1970s to early 1980s. It was felt that this method would minimize the risk of reflux and aspiration. This method is now generally reserved for infants in whom reflux and aspiration is complicating chronic lung disease or those who have poor gastric emptying. Now, most infants are fed using an orogastric or nasogastric tube; the former usually selected for the tiniest babies as the feeding tube may occlude one naris and impair nasal breathing.

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