Research Corner: Assessment Tools for Evaluation of Oral Feeding in Infants Younger Than 6 Months

Britt F. Pados , PhD, RN, NNP-BC ; Jinhee Park , PhD, RN et Advances in Neonatal Care • Vol. 16, No. 2 • pp. 143-150 (2016)

Abstract: Eighteen assessment tools met inclusion criteria. Of these, 7 were excluded because of limited available literature or because they were intended for use with a specific diagnosis or in research only. There are 11 assessment tools available for clinical practice. Only 2 of these were intended for bottle-feeding. All 11 indicated that they were appropriate for use with breastfeeding. None of the available tools have adequate psychometric development and testing.

 Implications for Practice: All of the tools should be used with caution. The Early Feeding Skills Assessment and Bristol Breastfeeding Assessment Tool had the most supportive psychometric development and testing.

 Implications for Research: Feeding assessment tools need to be developed and tested to guide optimal clinical care of infants from birth through 6 months. A tool that assesses both bottle- and breastfeeding would allow for consistent assessment across feeding method.