Content validation as a tool for evaluating oral feeding readiness in preterm babies

OBJECTIVES: to produce and validate the content and appearance of a tool for evaluating the readiness of preterm infants to begin the transition from gastric to oral feeding. METHODS: for the validation of the tool and accompanying instructions, the authors established a minimum percentage agreement of 85% among the 15 peers who participated in the study, all of them speech therapists with broad experience in the area of neonatology. RESULTS: the validated tool and accompanying instructions contained the following items: corrected gestational age, state of behavioral organization (state of consciousness, overall posture and overall muscle tone), oral posture (lips and tongue), oral reflexes (rooting, sucking, biting and gagging) and non-nutritive sucking (tongue movements, cupped tongue configuration, jaw movements, sucking force, sucking pause, maintaining the rhythm sucking and pause, maintaining an alert state and signs of stress). CONCLUSIONS: the tool and accompanying instructions aim to systematize the evaluation of preterm infants, beginning with the transition from gastric to oral feeding. Clinical validation is necessary before they can be used in neonatal wards.

Infant; Premature; Behavior; Sucking

Instituto de Medicina Integral Prof. Fernando Figueira Rua dos Coelhos, 300. Boa Vista, 50070-550 Recife PE Brasil, Tel./Fax: +55 81 2122-4141 - Recife - PR - Brazil