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Volume 15/Issue 1, January 2019

Expert Commentary. Dummies and non-nutritive sucking for preterm infants in neonatal care.

Annie Aloysius, Alexandra Connolly


Non-nutritive sucking (NNS) is the process of sucking without a milk flow and consequent need to co-ordinate swallowing and breathing. It is one of the earliest motor reflexes to develop in fetal life and can be observed in utero at as early as 11 weeks’ gestation. NNS is an important element of feeding support and development for the sick or preterm infant; however its use needs to be in context of the need to support lactation and cue-based responsive feeding in transition to enable breastfeeding success.

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