Jakarta, IO – The simple act of drinking is a great challenge for premature babies, as their bodily functions are still immature and also because they are frequently ill, due to their vulnerable condition. 40–70% of premature babies show atypical nursing abilities: they find it difficult to start sucking; their sucking is irregular, weak, and inefficient; it is hard for them to coordinate even a normal suck-swallow-breathing process; they tire easily, and they cannot continue sucking for a long time.
“This means that premature babies are not naturally able to consume sufficient calories for survival. They are not able to tolerate direct drinking, and it is hard for them to transition from having their nutrient needs inserted directly into their bodies using orogastric tubes (OGT), into a normal drinking function,” explained dr. Luh Karunia Wahyuni, Sp.KFR(K), in her Doctorate Thesis Defense at the University of Indonesia Faculty of Medicine Doctorate Program on Monday (18/07/2022).
Baby’s ability to drink has been determined at a pregnancy stage of 32–34 weeks, with stable cardio-respiration status and full nutrient feeding, using OGT. However, “drinking ready” premature babies are actually frequently unable to drink. Thus far, there are no consistent treatment methods that comprehensively encompass the complexity of the drinking process. “The purpose of my study is to determine the various factors that affect babies’ inability to drink, and to prove the effectiveness of a new type of treatment that helps premature babies to drink,” dr. Luh Karunia said.