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Investigation into the flow rate of bottle teats typically used on an Australian neonatal unit

Crossley, S-L., Duthie, K., Newton, M. and Harding, C. ORCID: 0000-0002-5192-2027 (2021). Investigation into the flow rate of bottle teats typically used on an Australian neonatal unit. Speech, Language and Hearing, doi: 10.1080/2050571x.2021.1914960


Aims and objectives
Premature and medically fragile infants in neonatal intensive care may be establishing oral feeding skills during their admission. Not all infants can achieve breastfeeding and bottle feeding is the recognised alternative. Choosing a bottle with a manageable flow rate can enable a positive feeding experience. The flow rate of teats used on an Australian NICU were tested to determine their actual flow rate and the variation of flow observed.

Design and methods
Flow rate of five different teats were tested by attaching each teat to a breast pump and measuring the output of milk after 1 minute. Range of flow rate and variability in flow rate values of the five teats used were compared.

Results and conclusions
The results identified differing flow rates as well as individual variation of flow rates for all teats used on an Australian NICU. The Sepal Green /small size nipple/slow flow was the fastest flow rate teat (mean 25.34 mL /minute). The Sepal White / ultra-slow flow teat had the slowest flow rate (mean 7.34 mL/minute). Measurement of variability in flow rate identified a moderate - high mean flow rate for the Sepal White ultra -slow flow teats (CoV = 0.2), with a low mean flow rate for Sepal Green slow flow / small nipple (CoV = 0.06). Data confirmed variability of flow rates both within and between teats used. Flow rate and variability are important factors to consider when selecting supportive feeding equipment for preterm infants.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Speech, Language and Hearing on 19 April 2021, available online:
Publisher Keywords: Milk flow rate; suck; swallow breathe (SSB) coordination; preterm infants; medically fragile infants; neonatal care; bottle feeding
Subjects: R Medicine > RJ Pediatrics > RJ101 Child Health. Child health services
Departments: School of Health Sciences > Language & Communication Science
Date Deposited: 05 May 2021 08:57
[img] Text - Accepted Version
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