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  4. Promoting positive oral experiences for preterm infants. Dr. Celia Harding




Promoting positive oral experiences for preterm infants. Dr. Celia Harding



Public, Staff, Students, Alumni

Speaker: Dr. Celia Harding


Non-nutritive sucking is often used with premature infants by either using a pacifier or an expressed breast nipple to support the introduction and development of early oral feeding. The pattern of non-nutritive sucking is distinct in that it involves two sucks per second in contrast to nutritive sucking which is one suck per second. Although much of the literature has identified that non-nutritive sucking has some benefit for premature infant feeding development, it is not entirely clear why such an approach is helpful as neurologically, activation of non-nutritive and nutritive skills are distinct. Non-nutritive sucking as an approach for neonates has dominated the literature.

This presentation considers both non –nutritive sucking and other beneficial approaches to managing the introduction of infant feeding. These are: the infant's toleration of enteral feeds pre oral trials, overall development and gestational age when introducing oral experiences, developing swallowing skills before sucking, physiological stability, health status, as well as the development and interpretation of infant oral readiness signs and early communication.

Discussion will consider that research should focus more on these alternative approaches, rather than continue to focus on non-nutritive sucking. Reference will be made to the presenter’s own research, which has been undertaken in collaboration with Kirsty Harrison, Abigail Levin and Sally Morgan from City, University of London, as well as other speech and language therapists from Barnet Community Services, the Evelina Hospital and the Homerton Hospital. Collaborators also include members of the neonatal MDT at the Royal Free Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.

About the speaker

From 1986 – 2004 Celia Harding was a full time , practising speech and language therapist, developing expertise in the area of paediatric dysphagia, both congenital and acquired disorders in acute and community settings. Since 2004, she has worked at City, University of London, with an honorary contract as a speech and language therapist at the Royal Free Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust. Main areas of research have been in the areas of learning disability and  paediatric swallowing problems , in particular premature infant feeding. Research aims have focused on investigating typical strategies used by speech and language therapists in dysphagia practice. Many of Celia Harding’s publications focus on neonatal feeding and her collaborative approach to neonatal research, alongside her support for peers working in the neonatal field has earned her the Fellowship of the Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists in 2018.

A light lunch with refreshments will be provided. Further information and event timings can be found on our website.

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When and where

12.45pm - 2.00pmMonday 12th November 2018

MG26 Myddelton Street Building City, University of London 1 Myddelton Street London EC1R 1UW United Kingdom