Syringe Feeding Near Term Infants

  1. I have been asked by my colleagues to see how many NICUs and Newborn Nurseries are syringe feeding their near term or term infants. We have been having nursing mothers who have been discharged home but their infant remains hospitalized either in the NICU or Newborn Nursery and syringe feeding has been suggested by our Lactation staff. These mothers request that their infant have no pacifier or be fed by bottle. Instead they request their infant receive either EBM or formula only via syringe feeding. This can be very time consuming and at times frustrating when an infant does not like feeding via syringe.
    Does anyone have good evidence based research that states this is a safe procedure, and any research that shows that it has a positive effect on near term or term newborns toward preventing a nipple confusion problem?
    I would appreciate everyone's view on this idea and any opinions (positive or negative on syringe feeding) and any suggestions to help the staff toward having the infant be more receptive to syringe feeding.
    PremieOne
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  2. 30 Comments

  3. by   txspadequeenRN
    I am not a NICU nurse but I am a experienced mother. There is no way in H*LL that any Lactation consultant will persuade me to feed my newborn with a syringe. To me that seems unsafe and puts the baby at risk for aspiration. Now again I am not a NICU nurse... Oh and my baby gets the binky any time she wants it..
  4. by   PremieOne
    I agree with you. I breast fed both my kids. We at work call them the boob nazis. I have to collect as many responses so I have ammunition to prevent them from making syringe feeding a NICU policy. Thanks for your reply. PremieOne
  5. by   Gompers
    They do that kind of stuff in our newborn nursery - syringe feedings, cup feedings, and that thing that looks like a rubbery spoon, I think it's called a soft feeder. We refuse to do any of that up in our NICU. If the mother isn't going to be there to nurse and the baby needs to eat, it's getting a bottle. We allow moms in 24/7 to breastfeed so it's her decision. We've even had moms ask us to place NG tubes or peripheral IVs if their baby can't breastfeed for whatever reason. Doctors refused of course.

    I also have to mention that we have received many babies from newborn nursery, post aspiration.
  6. by   wjf00
    No syringe feeding in the NICU where I work. We encourage breast feeding of course, but if the mom can't be there to BF, its bottle and pacifyer prn. The nursery will post no pacifyer. In the NICU however, mom must be there to hold and BF if they want no pacifyer. New research supports the use of pacifyers for non-nutritive sucking and sleep aid once BF has been established, so that lactation consultant should add that to the teaching.
  7. by   prmenrs
    I have syringe fed, cup fed, finger fed (tape the end of a feeding tube to your [gloved] finger, a syringe full of formula on the other end, let them suck on your finger while slowly pushing the formula in), you name it.

    I do draw the line @ feeding tubes (term kids just love pulling them out after the wrestling match of putting them down in the first place) and IVs instead of alternatives. Some kids fight tooth and nail no matter what you've done or tried to do, others don't care how the milk gets there, just as long as it DOES! One size/feeding method doesn't fit all.

    I don't think there is any greater chance of the baby aspirating w/syringe or cup feeding. You're not giving them that much @ one time. And you're watching them very carefully. I have had some rare and really talented kids figure out how to suck the formula out of the syringe. I like those kids!
  8. by   BSNtobe2009
    Hey, I have a question to everyone who currently works NICU...why in the world would cup or syringe feeding be necessary...at all? That sounds so absurd to me and not natural for the baby at all, and I can't imagine why it would be done in the first place.

    Sucking is a natural thing that babies do to comfort themselves, and I personally believe babies NEED pacifiers, but as a parent, there comes a time when the binky needs to go and I think it needs to be done before their first birthday.

    I was lucky, my daughter spit it out at 8 months on her own and wouldn't take it back one particular time, and never cried for it again. Then you hear stories about children that go to Kindergarden with the binkies, and thta is a problem that I think rests with the parents...I mean, what is a kid going to do? Cry for a couple of days? If she hadn't spit it out, the "binky bye bye" party was going to take place a few days before she turned one.


    Oh, SIDE NOTE: This is funny! I was watching the America's Funniest Videos and they got their child to stop using his pacifiers, because he had to "send them up to heaven" for the other babies to use. They tied all of his binkys to a huge bouquet of baloons and sent them flying. I thought it was hysterical and very clever!
    Last edit by BSNtobe2009 on Nov 26, '06
  9. by   TiffyRN
    I had this whole long ranting post I had to delete, this subject gets my goat.

    Since our General Nursery started cup feeding (they don't believe in syringe feeding) we have had multiple admissions for "blue episodes" (read drowning) while cup feeding and many low blood sugar kids that would have been fine if they just would have given them 45+mls by bottle instead of dribbling in 10-20mls by cup.

    I truly believe that this whole cup feeding/syringe feeding thing will be a practice we will laugh about 50 yrs from now.
  10. by   dawngloves
    When we are pulled to the newborn nursery, many nurses refuse to cup feed. They feel it is too dangerous. I do it so slow it takes half an hour to get an ounce in. A real PITA.
    It is done to prevent, "nipple confusion", which I feel is a myth. I see NICU babies switch from bottle to breast easily.
  11. by   txspadequeenRN
    Will someone explain to me the benefits of cup feeding or syringe feeding. To me it seems the feeding is more controlled with a bottle and will satisfy the babies natural sucking reflex. I personally think it is just a bunch of non-sense if your dealing with a normal healthy newborn.
    But thats just me....
  12. by   danissa
    in our NICU, we don't syringe or cup feed! (aspiration issues!) almost all of the babies are able to switch between bottle/breast, who ever thought up this nonsense of nipple/ teat confusion. We also widely advocate non-nutrative sucking for our preemies, and it really works! the hospital is more concerend with the % of mothers going home breast feeding, this doesn't apply in the NICU!
  13. by   BSNtobe2009
    Ok, at least I read that right. I agree, I think the nipple vs breast confusion is a myth.

    The 2 months my daughter was in her NICU (Lev IV), they never even mentioned it to me nor the lactation consultant, and I never saw them doing it with other babies, so I am assuming they probably don't do the cup or syringe at all. They just bottle fed her when I wasn't there and I breast fed her when I was, until my milk suddenly dried up and we had to switch to formula.
  14. by   MegNeoNurse
    I have never seen a syringe feeding in our NICU. Babies that eat PO are bottle-fed and breast-fed is mom chooses. I will have to inquire about this whole syringe feeding deal.

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