Summary of webinar

For parents, learning to feed their preterm infant can be both frightening and stressful due to the infants’ fragile nature but also due to the overwhelming well-intended pressure to “get it in” the infant. The importance of the feeding relationship and the infant’s positive learning experiences may get lost “in the numbers” when the parents’ focus is primarily on “emptying the bottle” to get the infant home. Providing parents with the awareness and skills to let their preemie’s communication guide them during feeding creates a meaningful relationship, reduces stress and leads to improved intake.  The webinar provides a foundation for supporting parents as they build both  confidence and competence feeding their preterm infant, strategies  to support safety and move  the NICU team away from volume-driven feeding, and enhance long-term feeding outcomes for former preemies.

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Catherine S. Shaker MS/CCC-SLP, BCS-S is a Pediatric Speech-Language Pathologist with Florida Hospital for Children in Orlando, FL who has advanced training in clinical/ instrumental assessment and treatment of swallowing and its disorders. With over 39 years’ experience, Ms. Shaker is nationally recognized as an expert in swallowing/feeding across the continuum of pediatric settings, including neonates, medically-fragile infants, and children through school age. She is an ASHA Board Certified Specialist in Swallowing and Swallowing Disorders. Ms. Shaker has been an integral part of large Level III Neonatal Intensive Care Units for over 30 years and is known for her work on Cue-Based Feeding Approaches in the NICU. She has published several manuscripts on NICU intervention, and co-authored The Early Feeding Skills Assessment Tool for NICU Infants with Suzanne Thoyre, PhD, RN of Chapel Hill. She provides Videofluoroscopic Swallow Studies for infants and children, and is certified in Neurodevelopmental Treatment (NDT), trained in Pediatric FEES and Vital Stim as well as SOS (The Sequential Oral Sensory Approach to Feeding). Ms. Shaker lectures both nationally and internationally to physicians, nurses, therapists and families.