Background: Food taste experience for tube fed preterm infants is sporadic and provided with milk feeds or glucose solutions. It is unknown how often taste experience is provided with tube feeding.
Objectives: The research examined the knowledge, beliefs, and practices of NICU staff regarding preterm infant taste and whether these factors differ among staff by NICU site, experience, or profession.
Methods: A cross sectional survey method was used and a 14 item questionnaire was developed.
Results: The majority of staff lacked knowledge regarding fetal and preterm sense of taste development. Conversely, staff believed strongly in, and routinely provided taste during tube feeding. Practice varied across professions and by months of experience. Practice did not vary to the same degree by NICU sites.
Conclusions: Opportunities exist to address gaps in NICU staff knowledge of preterm infant taste. Standardization of taste practices and updating of guiding documents are needed.