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Ecological sucking monitoring of newborns

Taffoni, Fabrizio and Tamilia, Eleonora and Palminteri, Maria Rosaria and Schena, Emiliano and Formica, Domenico and Delafield-Butt, Jonathan and Keller, Flavio and Silvestri, Sergio and Guglielmelli, Eugenio (2013) Ecological sucking monitoring of newborns. IEEE Sensors Journal (99).

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Abstract

Feeding by sucking is one of the first activities of daily life performed by infants. Sucking plays a fundamental role in neurological development and may be considered a good early predictor of neuromotor development. In this work a new method for ecological assessment of infants’ nutritive sucking behaviour is presented and experimentally validated. Preliminary data on healthy newborn subjects were first acquired to define the main technical specifications of a novel instrumented device. This device was designed to be easily integrated in a commercially available feeding bottle, allowing clinical methods development for screening large numbers of subjects. The new approach proposed allows (i) accurate measurement of intra-oral pressure for neuromotor control analysis and (ii) estimation of milk volume delivered to the mouth to within less than 2% variation between estimated and reference volumes.