Speech Delay and its Association with non-Nutritive Nursing in Pre-schoolers

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Ayesha A. Saleem
Dr Hina Azhar
Bushra Mazhar
Fatima Rasool
Muneeba Ijaz



Speech delay in preschoolers is a significant concern for parents and healthcare professionals alike, with various factors, including non-nutritive sucking habits like pacifier use and digit-sucking, being investigated for their potential impact on speech development.


This study aimed to investigate the association between non-nutritive sucking behaviors (pacifier use and digit-sucking) and speech delay in preschool-aged children.


A cross-sectional design was employed, involving 126 preschoolers divided into two groups: those with speech delay and a control group with typical speech development. Data were collected from the Children’s Hospital and Institute of Child Health, Lahore, using a structured questionnaire covering demographics, breastfeeding history, non-nutritive sucking behaviors, and speech delay status. Statistical analysis was conducted using SPSS version 25, focusing on frequencies, percentages, and P-values to determine the significance of associations between non-nutritive sucking behaviors and speech delay.


Of the 126 participants, 67% were male, and 93% hailed from Punjab. A majority (87%) were breastfed, with 27% reporting pacifier use and only 6% engaging in digit-sucking. Statistical analysis revealed no significant association between speech delay and pacifier use (P=0.123), digit-sucking (P=0.359), or breastfeeding status (P=0.395). The mean daily screen media usage was 3.121 hours for the speech delay group and 2.968 hours for the control group, with no statistically significant difference (P=0.593).


The study concluded that non-nutritive sucking behaviours, including pacifier use and digit-sucking, are not significantly associated with speech delay in preschoolers. This finding contributes to the understanding of speech development and the factors influencing it, suggesting that concerns regarding non-nutritive sucking habits may be less critical than previously assumed in the context of speech delay.


Speech delay, Non-nutritive sucking, Pacifier use, Digit-sucking, Preschoolers, Speech development.

Article Details

How to Cite
Ayesha A. Saleem, Dr Hina Azhar, Bushra Mazhar, Fatima Rasool, & Muneeba Ijaz. (2024). Speech Delay and its Association with non-Nutritive Nursing in Pre-schoolers. Journal of Health and Rehabilitation Research, 4(2), 1328–1333. https://doi.org/10.61919/jhrr.v4i2.1141


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