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Abstract

Literature reflects that neonatal clinical practices are increasingly infant-driven, and promote, developmentally based care. Particularly, in the area of oral feeding, practitioners are moving away from traditional gestational age criteria for the initiation of oral feeding, or progressing feedings based on volume, instead they are trending toward feeding protocols that are based on developmental maturity.

A statement released by the American Academy of Pediatrics (2008), made the attainment of independent oral feeding one of the critical criteria for hospital discharge of preterm infants. This statement not only reflected the increased research attention on oral feeding acquisition and outcomes, it caused neonatal clinicians to seriously reconsider their methods for feeding premature infants, so that premature infants could safely acquire oral feeding prior to going home.

This paper reviews and summarizes the principles and benefits of cue-based feeding that have been presented in the literature. Cue-based feeding is an outgrowth of developmentally-based care. Being increasingly used in feeding plans for premature infants, cue-based feeding is a feeding method, where, the infant directs how and when it will eat, by displaying behavioral cues and eating reflexes.

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