Visualizing infant feeding with nfant Feeding Solution:
by Amanda A. Peeler MCD, CCC-SLP; Account Manager East for Nfant Labs, LLC.
Blog Note: I saw this system demonstrated at a feeding conference and asked Amanda if she would write a post explaining it and what it can do. Thank you Amanda!
As a speech language pathologist in the neonatal ICU, I have personally experienced the different struggles we encounter as clinicians as we guide the most fragile patients to oral feeding. We all know feeding is important for a baby’s nutrition (of course), but it also has implications for long-term development and eating. But, when we approach feeding issues as clinicians, we tend to focus on what is front of us and not the whole picture. While my SLP brain is focused on neuromotor development and subtle feeding cues, a nurse may see a baby who desperately needs to gain weight, a neonatologist is ensuring that the infant is medically stable, and the mom just wants to know why she can’t take her child home.
And, while cue based feeding is our gold standard and has helped us see infants as unique individuals with specific needs for feeding development, it is reliant on subtle cues that require special training to reliably detect; cues that are hard to reliably communicate to other clinicians and feeders. If I am lucky, I get to feed a baby once a day, but what happens during every other feeding is a mystery to me.
That’s why when I got a chance to join the team at Nfant Labs as an account manager, I didn’t hesitate. I saw it as an opportunity to help feeding teams deal with these issues. For the past 18 months, I have traveled the country meeting with NICUs of all sizes and populations, and I have found a common theme: we all want to be more objective in our assessments and treatment. Not only do objective measurements help us determine treatment for these infants, it is the language we use to communicate with each other. If we as clinicians are looking at an infant’s feeding development through the same lens and seeing the same thing, it helps turn us from individuals into teams.
And that’s why I believe nfant Feeding Solution is so important! It’s changing the way we are assessing feedings and how we communicate that information with other staff members.
I was introduced to nfant Feeding Solution while working as an SLP in a NICU. I was experiencing the common growing pains of a shift from volume driven to cue based feeding, however, with this technology that shift accelerated through improved continuity among disciplines. I found that with the real time biofeedback of infant sucking, I had further objective information to guide bedside care and recommendations. In addition to this, I found a way to be more effective in how I made my recommendations to the staff working with me.
With nfant Feeding Solution, we all now have a way to objectively assess each feeding based on that individual infant’s previous and current moment to moment feeding abilities. This information is seen as real time visual biofeedback and stored in a secure database that all staff can later access for further review and analysis.
Imagine being able to:
- Immediately see the impact of changing the flow rate or position of an infant to quickly iterate your treatments
- See in real time, the signs of fatigue and disorganization that might be too subtle when looking at the infant and avoiding that adverse event
- Objectively show your feeding team exactly why you made those recommendations for “elevated side-lying with a slow flow for only 15 minute partial feedings” in team huddles instead of one clinician at a time.
- Objectively show the visible progress to parents when they worry why their baby isn’t on the “standard” flow rate yet
- Assess feedings that occurred while you were not even there, giving you insight you never had before.
All of these things are available with nfant Feeding Solution which is completely non-invasive and done in the natural feeding setting. Nfant Feeding Solution certainly changed the way I completed my treatment and assessments, and by coming into this role as account manager, I am beyond excited to introduce other clinicians and NICUs to its amazing potential.
If you or your facility are interested in learning more about Nfant Labs and nfant Feeding Solution, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 1(800)761-7601 Ext. 801
Amanda Peeler MCD, CCC-SLP, Clinical Account Manager NFANT Labs