Effect of non-nutritive and nutritive suck on gastric emptying in premature infants

Joanne S. Szabo, A. Craig Hillemeier, William Oh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


Ten healthy preterm infants were studied to determine if non-nutritive and nutritive suck significantly altered gastric emptying patterns when compared with gavage feeding alone. We used a 10% dextrose meal with phenol red marker and a double sampling technique to determine gastric emptying at 10-min intervals over a 30-min test period. A crossover study design compared the effects of the three feeding methods in each infant. The gastric residual volumes expressed in milliliters per kilogram did not differ significantly when comparisons were made among groups at 10, 20, and 30 min following the test meal. Non-nutritive suck and nutritive suck and swallow of a liquid dextrose meal do not significantly improve gastric emptying in healthy preterm infants. The beneficial effects of non-nutritive and nutritive sucking on the nutritional status of preterm infants, demonstrated by others, are not related to improved gastric evacuation of feeds. Alternative explanations for these beneficial effects require further investigation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)348-351
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of pediatric gastroenterology and nutrition
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 1985

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Gastroenterology


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