Smell and Taste to Improve Nutrition in Very Preterm Infants: A Randomized Controlled Pilot Trial

Beker et al, Neonatology, 2017


Background: The perception of smell and taste, though present early in development, is not routinely considered in the care of preterm infants. Smell and taste are known to increase gut motility, insulin secretion, and the release of appetite, digestive and metabolic hormones.

Objective: We aimed to investigate the effect of regular smell and taste on the time from birth to full enteral feeds, and the feasibility of the study protocol in very preterm infants.

Methods: In a randomized controlled trial

Conclusion: data here indicate that the smell and taste of milk may improve milk tolerance and weight in preterm infants. The role of regular smell and taste in promoting enteral nutrition and growth in preterm infants merits a larger trial powered to detect important outcomes.