Feeding Culture in the NICU...Who's leading the team?

The journey to successful oral feedings for preterm and sick infants and their families in the NICU can be arduous. There are many strategies the NICU interprofessional team can integrate into practice throughout the journey to maximize potential feeding success. In this presentation we will focus on practical examples to support infants and families toward that destination. We will review how our feeding cultures in the NICU set up the feeding experience by supporting the action of feeding, assessing readiness cues, energy reserves, understanding the skills needed to eat and feeding competencies. Each team member involved in the care of a preterm infant plays a role in feeding success as we provide important feedback about parent understanding and needs, infant performance, and progress towards coordination. We will conclude with the importance in understanding that the infant is the leader of the feeding team, and our understanding of their language is what leads to a positive, successful, and enjoyable feeding experience for the infant and family in the NICU and after discharge.


  1. List two practical clinical strategies that can help prepare families for the feeding experience in the NICU.
  2. Discuss three feeding competencies that help lay the foundation for feeding success between the co-regulated relationship of infant and care-provider.
  3. Discuss two topics for parent education related to the importance of understanding maturational age in assessing feeding readiness.
  4. Identify one concern parents experience after discharge that can be eased with NICU education prior to discharge.

Total CE = 1.5

NCC Coding

NCC Code NIC Code 3 or 7

NCC NNP Code 3 or 7

NCC LRN Code 2 or 7

Rx = 0

Last updated: April 2023

Your Instructor

Liz Drake
Liz Drake

Liz Drake has been practicing in the NICU for 34 years. She received her Master’s Degree, Neonatal Nurse Practitioner and Clinical Nurse Specialist certification from UCLA. Quality Improvement, Neuro-protective Care and Family Partnered Care are her passions and expertise. She has a strong desire to teach the healthcare team about the uniqueness and language of the premature infant as every touch and experience can have impact. Through team building, education, academic thinking and direct patient care Liz has a tireless focus on excellence. Her vision for the future is to create passion and desire in others to practice with intention, purpose and to practically integrate evidence into the care provided to infants and families. Liz is a driver for quality improvement initiatives and actively involved with the VON, NICQ Collaborative.

Frequently Asked Questions

When does the course start and finish?
The course starts as soon as you enroll. You will have access to this course (videos) for two months. Please be sure to download lecture handouts for ongoing access to the content presented. You must complete and submit the Evaluation at the end of the course to receive CE.
How can I communicate any questions, comments, or feedback?
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