The influence of breastfeeding on cortical and bio-behavioural indicators of procedural pain in newborns: Findings of a randomized controlled trial Academic Article uri icon

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abstract

  • AIMS: The objective of this study was to compare the influence of breastfeeding and 24% oral sucrose on pain-related electrophysiologic activity, bio-behavioural pain scores, physiologic recovery, and adverse events during heel lance. STUDY DESIGN: Single-blind randomized controlled trial. SUBJECTS: 39 full-term infants were randomized to receive breastfeeding or 0.24 mL of 24% oral sucrose plus offered non-nutritive sucking 2 min prior to heel lance. OUTCOME MEASURES: The primary outcome of pain-related potential was recorded on electroencephalogram. Secondary outcomes included Premature Infant Pain Profile - Revised (PIPP-R) score, physiologic recovery, and adverse events. Data were analyzed per protocol (ClinicalTrials.gov: NCT03272594). RESULTS: Between November 2017 and January 2019, 20 infants were randomized to breastfeeding and 19 infants to receive oral sucrose. Infants who were breastfeeding had an appreciably smaller, yet not statistically different (F[1,15.9] = 0.58, p = 0.64, SE = 11.79), amplitude pain-related potential (peak amplitude 0.29 μV) following heel lance compared to infants who received oral sucrose (peak amplitude 8.97 μV). Mean PIPP-R scores were not statistically significantly different between groups following heel lance, however, they were indicative of low pain across groups. Mean time in seconds to physiologic recovery was faster in breastfeeding infants (M = 17.5, SD = 31.1) compared to oral sucrose (M = 70.8, SD = 144.3). There were no safety concerns. DISCUSSION: Breastfeeding and oral sucrose both reduce bio-behavioural responses to pain, however, may differentially modulate pain response in the infant brain. Further research to understand the neurophysiologic effects of these interventions during acute painful procedures is needed.

publication date

  • March 2021