Breastfeeding assessment protocols and Speech Therapy: an integrative literature review

ABSTRACT Objective: to investigate protocols used by Speech Therapists to evaluate breastfeeding. Methods: this is an integrative literature review that aims to synthesize available evidence on the evaluation of breastfeeding, from 2002 to 2015. The inclusion criteria were scientific articles that approached breastfeeding evaluation performed by Speech Therapists, published in English and Portuguese. Papers that did not present summaries in their entirety were discarded. Results: a total of 140 studies were found, 134 being excluded. The remaining six publications evaluated breastfeeding and were included in the study with four instruments. The articles selected aimed at evaluating the mothers' knowledge about breastfeeding and its relation to language, the first feeding of the premature baby, describing the initial conditions of breastfeeding, relating breastfeeding to the cup/bottle supply and evaluating orofacial characteristics and breastfeeding. The protocols evaluated aspects of the infant's state of consciousness, behavior and positioning, mother's breastfeeding behavior, breast characteristics, latching and milking, and conditions after breastfeeding. Conclusion: there are few studies in Speech Therapy that use standardized and validated protocols for breastfeeding evaluation. The major focus is on the evaluation of preterm infants. It is suggested that new studies be performed, especially with a focus on validating instruments.