Parent Confidence and Competence for Feeding in the NICU: A Qualitative Multi-Site Survey and Process Development

April 13, 2023 10:45 am

Presentation Summary

A qualitative multi-site survey was completed by NICU parents towards the end of their stay to identify factors that impacted confidence and competence with oral feeding. Survey results & video testimonials will shed light on gaps & opportunities when meeting parents' oral feeding needs and goals in the NICU and once home.

Learning Objectives

  1. Discuss the common psychosocial experiences and parental stressors in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit and how they differ across various NICUs.
  2. Identify 2 parent perceived barriers and 2 helpful strategies that parents perceived as impacting confidence and competence with feeding their infant
  3. Identify 2 process improvements in the NICU to better promote parental confidence and competence with feeding


  • Ramya Kumar


    Ramya Kumar specializes in infant & pediatric feeding disorders while practicing in a Level 3 NICU & pediatrician's office in Phoenix, AZ. She is a Board Certified Specialist in Swallowing & Swallowing Disorders, Certified Neonatal Therapist, International Board Certified Lactation Consultant, Neonatal Touch & Massage Certified Therapist & Trauma Informed Professional. Ramya is an internationally sought out speaker & clinical mentor on the topic of neuroprotective care in the NICU & pediatric feeding disorders. She is passionate about helping families create mealtime success through a whole-body lens. More recently, Ramya has been serving as a NICU Developmental Coordinator conducting NIDCAP assessments and championing changes in unit culture, system-wide policy development and supporting transition of NICU families to community-based programs.

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  • Louisa Ferrara

    Louisa Ferrara PhD, CCC-SLP, BCS-S, CNT, NTMTC

    Louisa Ferrara is a Board-Certified Specialist in Pediatric Feeding/Swallowing Disorders, Certified Neonatal Therapist, Neonatal Touch/Massage Certified and Trauma-Informed Professional. She provides parent education and neonatal care in Private Practice and is a Clinical Researcher at NYU Langone Hospital - New York. She is Chief Clinical Officer at Innara Health. Louisa has published in high-standing peer-reviewed journals and is an internationally sought out speaker on the topic of neonatal feeding/swallowing disorders.

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  • Jenny Reynolds

    Jenny Reynolds MS, CCC-SLP, CNT, CLC, BCS-S

    Jenny Reynolds is currently practicing as Advanced Clinical Specialist at Baylor University Medical Center in Dallas, Texas in the Level 4 Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. Jenny is a board-certified swallowing specialist, certified lactation counselor and a certified neonatal therapist. She is an adjunct speaker at several speech therapy graduate programs in the DFW area.

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  • Brittany Rush

    Brittany Rush MS, CCC-SLP, CNT

    Brittany Rush is an ASHA certified speech language pathologist specializing in evaluation and treatment of feeding and swallowing disorders. Additionally, she is a certified neonatal therapist. She currently serves as a Senior level Speech Language Pathologist for the Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation department at Baylor University Medical Center in Dallas, Texas. Primary patient populations currently served include the premature and medically complex infant within the neonatal intensive care unit in a Level IV NICU. She has received specialty training and mentorship in developmental care/intervention and objective swallow evaluations (MBSS and FEES) within in the neonate and infant population. Her prior experience included services within the Adult Cardio-pulmonary and Transplant ICU/floors and obtained competencies in MBS, FEES, PMV, and speech/language/cognitive evaluations. Interests beyond her clinical duties include standardization of patient care, cultivating a positive teamwork environment and culture, and state/national level education.

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