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Special Topic Course: Understanding Infant Feeding: Breast vs. Bottle

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Speaker: Catherine Watson Genna, BS, IBCLC
Catherine Watson Genna

Topic: Understanding Infant Feeding: Differences between sucking and swallowing at breast vs. bottle

Course Description: Infant anatomy and physiology are adapted for breastfeeding. The mechanics and physiological cost of feeding differ by method, with particular implications for preterm and ill infants. This presentation reviews differences in muscle activation, tongue kinematics, intraoral vacuum requirements, flow characteristics, energy expenditure, and coordination of swallowing and breathing during breastfeeding and bottle feeding. Methods to adapt breastfeeding and bottle feeding for special populations are addressed.

Speaker Bio: Catherine Watson Genna, BS, IBCLC is an International Board-Certified Lactation Consultant in private practice in New York City. Certified in 1992, Catherine is particularly interested in helping families breastfeed despite medical challenges. She speaks to healthcare professionals around the world on assisting breastfeeding babies with anatomical, genetic or neurological problems. Her presentations and her writing are enriched by her clinical photographs and videos. Catherine collaborates with Columbia University and Tel Aviv University Departments of Biomedical Engineering on research projects investigating the biomechanics of the lactating nipple and various aspects of sucking and swallowing in breastfeeding infants. She is the author of Selecting and Using Breastfeeding Tools: Improving Care and Outcomes (Praeclarus Press 2009) and Supporting Sucking Skills in Breastfeeding Infants (Jones and Bartlett Learning 2008, 2013, 2017) as well as professional journal articles and chapters in the Core Curriculum for Lactation Consultant Practice and Breastfeeding and Human Lactation. Catherine served as Associate Editor of the United States Lactation Consultant Association’s official journal Clinical Lactation for its first seven years and continues on the Editorial Review Board. Catherine gives back to the profession as a clinical mentor La Leche League Leader.

0-15 min: Overview of infant anatomy and respiratory physiology adaptations for breastfeeding and alterations required for bottle feeding
16-40 min: Ways to modify breastfeeding to meet the needs of NICU patients, including positioning for stability, gravitational support, pacing during breastfeeding and supportive techniques
41-56 min: Factors to consider when modifying bottle feeding to support breastfeeding, including bottle choice, nipple flow rate, positioning strategies and pacing techniques
56-61 min: Learning assessment

Catherine Watson Genna, BS, IBCLC
Financial Disclosures: Speaker receives royalties on text books, speaking fees for continuing education talks and a research grant (Columbia Coulter Foundation).
Nonfinancial disclosures: No relevant disclosures.

Conflict of Interest: There is no conflict of interest for anyone with the ability to control content for this activity.

Target Audience: OT, SLP, PT, RN, MD and Neonatal professionals

Level: Intermediate


  1. Detail the ways infant anatomy and respiratory physiology are adapted for breastfeeding and the alterations required for bottle feeding.
  2. Describe 4 ways to modify breastfeeding to meet the needs of NICU patients.
  3. List considerations when modifying bottle feeding to support breastfeeding behaviors.

Instructional Method: Recorded webinar with electronic slides, clinical photos and videos and participation exercises. Learning assessment and course evaluation follow course.

Course Completion Requirements: The learner must view the entire webinar, complete the course evaluation and complete the post webinar learning assessment with at least 80% to receive education credit. Login and logout times will be recorded and documented.
Following completion of this course physical therapists, nurses and other disciplines will receive a certificate of completion and a zip file containing information necessary to submit to their individual state for education credit. Zip file will include course bibliography. Physical therapists are responsible for knowing and adhering to their state’s deadlines, rules and regulations.

Registration information:

In order to obtain access to the course, click the “Register now” button at the bottom of the screen. You are required to be a NANT member in good standing to have access to this course. You may also purchase this courses as a non-member by clicking the “Buy Now” button at the bottom of the screen.

For ADA accommodations, please call NANT Customer Service for more information at (866) 999-5524.

Cancellation Policy: Click HERE to review NANT’s Course Cancellation Policy.

Continuing Education Information*

AOTA CEUs: National Association of Neonatal Therapists® (NANT) is an AOTA Approved Provider of professional development. Course approval ID # 00595. This Distance Learning-Independent Course is offered at 0.1 CEUs (Intermediate Level, Occupational Therapy Service Delivery). AOTA does not endorse specific course content, products, or clinical procedures.

ASHA CEUs: Learners must complete the entire course in order to receive ASHA CEUs. No partial credit awarded. ASHA CE Provider approval and use of the Brand Block does not imply endorsement of course content, specific products or clinical procedures.
ASHA CE Registry users: NANT will submit your ASHA CEU credit to ASHA on your behalf. ASHA CEUs may take up to 100 days to appear on your ASHA Transcript.

Non-ASHA CE Registry users: Maintain your course records and please keep your registry status current in your NANT account. Update your NANT account with your ASHA number if your registry status changes. NANT is not responsible for tracking your registry usage.

PT CE Credit: This activity has been approved by the Texas Board of Physical Therapy Examiners for 1.0 CCUs for PTs and PTAs.

NANT is recognized by the New York State Education Department’s State Board for Physical Therapy as an approved provider of physical therapy and physical therapist assistant continuing education.

Nursing Contact Hours: This nursing continuing professional development activity was approved by the Ohio Nurses Association, an accredited approver by the American Nurses Credentialing Center’s Commission on Accreditation (OBN-001-91) Activity # 2020-0000000607. Contact Hours: 1.0. Approval valid through 10/01/2022.

*NANT 10 attendees who previously viewed this educational content may retake this course and receive CE Credit.

Questions regarding CE credit should be directed to the National Association of Neonatal Therapists at or (866) 999-5524.

The content of this course will only be available until September 30, 2022, 5pm ET/2pm PT. 

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