Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Science in Occupational Therapy


Occupational Therapy

Project Chairperson

Jennifer S. Pitonyak

Second Advisor

Renee Watling

Third Advisor

George Tomlin


Cue-based Feeding, NICU, Premature Infants


In collaboration with Cuyler Romeo, an occupational therapist working in the NICU at Banner-University Medical Center in Arizona, a systematic review was conducted to answer the question "What evidence exists for implementing cue-based feeding in the NICU?" Six databases were searched and eleven articles were selected for critical appraisal after meeting search criteria. The results indicate moderate evidence that supports the implementation of cue-based feeding (CBF) for preterm infants in the NICU. It is recommended that CBF be implemented in the NICU as a team approach with a protocol in order to provide positive feeding experiences for preterm infants. A tri-fold informational pamphlet was developed to educate both bedside care staff and caregivers on CBF. It included the benefits of CBF and an overview of infant feeding cues. Feedback from the collaborating occupational therapist indicated the usefulness for the pamphlet in her setting, with modifications to be audience specific, such as two different handouts for bedside care staff and caregivers. Future research is recommended for developing consistent protocols so that bedside care staff can consistently implement this intervention while involving caregivers. Recommendations for future translation of knowledge include targeting the information to specific audiences, such as new staff or student interns in the NICU.

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