Neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS) in infants presents unique challenges in feeding and weight gain. The unpredictable clinical manifestations associated with the newborns withdrawal from exposure to drugs in utero can lead to costly delays in transition of the infant out of the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU).The purpose of this review of literature was to explore feeding positions and nutritional intake with the greatest impact on weight gain in infants with neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS) following delivery. The secondary purpose was to compare the clinical manifestations of infants with NAS that influence nutritional intake and their relationship to length of time and cost of stay in the NICU. A review of literature was performed using multiple databases. Articles focusing on feeding position and nutrition intake were identified for interventions to effectively promote weight gain, while reducing clinical manifestations common in infants with NAS. Articles exploring improved feeding and weight gain in infants with NAS and reduced length of stay in the NICU were also synthesized for cost reductions to the facility. Results from 12 studies comparing various feeding positions that optimized nutrition, and reduced negative clinical manifestations in infants with NAS were synthesized for content relevant to the research questions. Results suggest a relationship between placing infants in the c-position, and side-lying position to reduce sensory stimulation, with reducing clinical manifestations for infants actively experiencing withdrawal symptoms from NAS. Providing chin and cheek support as needed, decreasing eye contact during feeding periods, and providing darker quiet environments all play an important role in allowing infants with NAS to optimize their weight gain. As previously stated, to manage nutritional intake and optimize weight gain, reduction of clinical manifestations through pharmacological and non-pharmacological interventions must be actively incorporated into the infants' plan of care.

Thesis Completion




Thesis Chair/Advisor

D'Amato-Kubiet, Leslee


Bachelor of Science in Nursing (B.S.N.)


College of Nursing



Degree Program




Access Status

Open Access

Release Date