Effectiveness of supplementary suckling technique in underweight infants

Radnyi U. Mande, Alka R. Jadhav, Prachi S. Karnik, Lakshmi T., Vishal Sawant


Background: The period from birth to 6 months is part of a larger critical ‘window of opportunity’ within which the impact of undernutrition has both immediate and long term adverse consequences. Protocols for older children are often extended to this age group owing to the absence of evidence-based treatment protocols. The following study was carried out to assess the effectiveness of supplementary suckling technique and lactation counselling over counselling alone in management of malnourished infants in the age group of 1- 6 months.

Methods: After IRB clearance, all underweight infants with weight for age <-2SD by WHO charts were enrolled in the study. Once identified as lactation failure, the infants were randomly allocated into two groups using SAS 9.2 package. Both, cases and controls were counselled regarding breast feeding practices as per WHO module. Cases were additionally started on supplementary feeds by Supplementary Suckling Technique (SST) for the 1st week. Weight gain was monitored at enrolment, on day 7 and day 14. Weight gain >20gm/day in the 2nd week was considered successful re-lactation. Data was analysed using student unpaired t test and chi square test.

Results: Mean weight gain per day in 1st and 2nd week in the cases was significantly higher than that in the controls (p= <0.001). In 2nd week, maximum weight gain i.e. 20-30 g/day was found in 93.3% cases as against 13.3% controls (p=0.01) depicting successful re-lactation.

Conclusions: Lactation counselling along with supplementary suckling technique should be the standard of care in management of malnourished infants.


Malnourished infants, Re-lactation, Supplementary suckling technique

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