Optimal feeding of

low-birth-weight infants
technical review
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ISBN 92 4 159509 4
Optimal feeding of
low-birth-weight infants
technical review
Karen Edmond, MBBS, MSc (Epidemiology), PhD
London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine,
London, U.K.
Rajiv Bahl, MD, PhD
Department of Child and Adolescent Health
and Development, WHO, Geneva
WHO Library Cataloguing-in-Publication Data
Edmond, Karen.
Optimal feeding of low-birth-weight infants : technical review / Karen Edmond,
Rajiv Bahl.
1.Infant nutrition. 2.Infant, Low birth weight. 3.Nutritional requirements.
4.Feeding methods. 5.Infant food. I.Bahl, Rajiv. II.World Health Organization.
III.Title.
ISBN 92 4 159509 4 (NLM classifcation: WS 120)
ISBN 978 92 4 159509 4
© World Health Organization 2006
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Designed by minimum graphics
Printed in India
Contents
Acknowledgments vii
Abbreviations viii
Executive summary 1
Introduction 7
Methods 9
Results 12
1. Background 12
1.1 Physiological principles of feeding LBW infants 12
1.2 Nutritional requirements 14
1.3 Nutritional sources for LBW infants 14
1.4 Development of feeding ability 23
2. Nutrition 25
2.1 Human milk 25
2.2 Human milk supplementation 39
2.3 Breastmilk substitutes 56
3. Feeding methods 62
3.1 Oral feeding 62
3.2 Intragastric feeding 64
4. Feeding schedules 69
4.1 Initiation of enteral feeding 69
4.2 Progression and scheduling of enteral feeding 74
5. Support 79
5.1 Supportive care for the LBW infant 79
5.2 Support for the breastfeeding mother 90
6. Monitoring 94
6.1 Blood glucose monitoring 94
6.2 Growth monitoring 95
7. Feeding infants of HIV-positive mothers 99
Annex 1. Defnitions 101
Annex 2. Levels of evidence 103
Annex 3. Sources and quality of evidence 104
Annex 4. References 107
ííí
List of boxes
1.2.1 Recommended daily nutrient allowances for pre-term infants
>1000 grams at birth 15
1.3.1 Concentration of nutrients in transitional and mature pre-term
human milk compared with mature term milk 16
1.3.2 Nutrient composition of multivitamin supplement formulations 19
1.3.3 Nutrient composition of multicomponent commercial human
milk fortifers 19
1.3.4 Nutrient composition of standard and pre-term infant formulas 21
1.3.5 Nutrient composition of nutrient-enriched “post-discharge” formulas 22
6.2.1 Reference data for size at birth 96
6.2.2 Reference data for postnatal growth of LBW infants with optimal
nutritional management 98

List of fgures
1.1.1 Average composition of weight gain of a reference fetus during four
successive 4-week intervals 12
1.1.2 Age-related changes of total body water and its compartments
(intra- and extracellular) from fetal life until adolescence 12
1.1.3 Energy intake and nitrogen retention according to protein intake
in pre-term infants 14
6.2.1 Average body weight versus post-menstrual age in weeks 95
6.2.2 Comparison of growth references for pre-term infants 98
List of summary tables of key studies
2.1.1 Effects of mother’s own milk compared with formula feeding on
infection or necrotising enterocolitis in low birth weight (LBW) infants 28
2.1.2 Effects of mother’s own milk compared with formula feeding on
neurodevelopment in LBW infants 29
2.1.3 Effects of donor human milk compared with formula feeding on
infection or necrotising enterocolitis in LBW infants 32
2.1.4 Effects of donor human milk compared with formula feeding on
neurodevelopment in LBW infants 33
2.1.5 Effects of donor human milk compared with formula feeding on
feed tolerance in LBW infants 33
2.1.6 Effects of exclusive breastfeeding (EBF) duration on
neurodevelopment in LBW infants 36
2.1.7 Effects of EBF duration on growth outcomes in LBW infants 37
2.1.8 Effects of EBF duration on iron-defciency anaemia in LBW infants 38
2.2.1 Effects of Vitamin A supplementation on mortality in LBW infants 40
2.2.2 Effects of iron supplementation of breastfed LBW infants on iron
status in the frst 6 months of life 44
2.2.3 Effects of zinc supplementation of breastfed LBW infants on mortality 46
2.2.4 Effects of zinc supplementation of breastfed LBW infants on serious
morbidity 46
ív Optimal feeding Of lOw-birth-weight infants: technical review
2.2.5 Effects of zinc supplementation of breastfed LBW infants on
neurodevelopment 48
2.2.6 Effects of zinc supplementation of breastfed LBW infants on growth
outcomes in LBW infants 48
2.2.7 Effects of multi-component fortifcation of human milk on mortality
in LBW infants 52
2.2.8 Effects of multi-component fortifcation of human milk on
necrotising enterocolitis in LBW infants 53
2.2.9 Effects of multi-component fortifcation of human milk on
neurodevelopment in LBW infants 54
2.2.10 Effects of multi-component fortifcation of human milk on growth
outcomes in LBW infants 54
2.3.1 Effects of pre-term formula compared with standard infant formula
given from birth until LBW infants attained a weight of 2000 g on
neurodevelopment 58
2.3.2 Effects of pre-term formula compared with standard infant formula
on growth outcomes in LBW infants 58
2.3.3 Effects of nutrient-enriched post-discharge formula compared with
standard infant formula on neurodevelopment in LBW infants 60
2.3.4 Effects of nutrient-enriched post-discharge formula compared with
standard infant formula on growth in LBW infants 61
3.1.1 Effects of cup feeding compared with bottle feeding on breastfeeding
patterns in LBW infants 63
3.2.1 Effects of nasogastric compared with orogastric tube feeding on feeding
patterns in LBW infants 65
3.2.2 Effects of nasogastric compared with orogastric tube feeding on
physiological parameters in LBW infants 66
3.2.3 Effects of continuous feeding compared with bolus feeding on
necrotising enterocolitis in LBW infants 68
3.2.4 Effects of continuous feeding compared with bolus feeding on growth
in LBW infants 68
3.2.5 Effects of continuous compared with bolus feeding on respiratory
complications in LBW infants 69
4.1.1 Effects of initiation of maintenance enteral feeds in the frst
24 hours of life on mortality rates in LBW infants 72
4.1.2 Effects of initiation of maintenance enteral feeds in the frst 24 hours
of life on growth outcomes in LBW infants 73
4.1.3 Effects of initiation of maintenance enteral feeds in the frst 24 hours
of life on biochemical measures in LBW infants 73
4.2.1 Effects of rapid compared with slow feeding progression on necrotising
enterocolitis in LBW infants 76
4.2.2 Effects of rapid compared with slow feeding progression on growth
outcomes in LBW infants 76
4.2.3 Effects of rapid compared with slow feeding progression on time to
reach full enteral feeds in LBW infants 77
5.1.1 Effects of kangaroo mother care compared with conventional care on
mortality in LBW infants 82
v cOntents
5.1.2 Effects of kangaroo mother care compared with conventional care
on severe morbidity in LBW infants 83
5.1.3 Effects of kangaroo mother care compared with conventional care
on neurodevelopment in LBW infants 83
5.1.4 Effects of kangaroo mother care compared with conventional care on
breastfeeding patterns in LBW infants 84
5.1.5 Effects of non-nutritive sucking compared with conventional care
on growth outcomes in LBW infants 85
5.1.6 Effects of non-nutritive sucking compared with conventional care on
hospitalization rates in LBW infants 85
5.1.7 Effects of early compared with conventional discharge of LBW infants
on re-hospitalization rates after discharge 88
5.1.8 Effects of early compared with conventional discharge of LBW infants
on growth outcomes after discharge 89
5.2.1 Effects of breastfeeding counselling on growth outcomes in
LBW infants 91
5.2.2 Effects of breastfeeding counselling on breastfeeding patterns
in LBW infants 92
ví Optimal feeding Of lOw-birth-weight infants: technical review
Acknowledgements
M
any individuals made signifcant contributions to this document: Saadet
Arsan, Zulfqar Bhutta, Jane Hawdon, Michael Kramer, Sandra Lang, Joy
Lawn, Indira Narayanan, Vinod Paul, Felicity Savage, Richard Schanler, Nalini
Singhal, and Anthony Williams.
Special thanks are also due to Reginald Tsang and Tim Mullican for allowing
pre-publication access to: Tsang RC, Uauy R, Koletzko B, Zlotkin SH. Nutrition of
the preterm infant: scientifc basis and practical guidelines, 2nd ed. Cincinnati, OH,
Digital Educational Publishing, 2005; and the Cochrane Neonatal Collaborative
Review Group for providing lists of relevant systematic reviews and randomized
controlled trials.
This document was prepared by the World Health Organization’s Department of
Child and Adolescent Health and Development.
víí
Abbreviations
AGA Appropriate for gestational age
CI Confdence interval
CMV Cytomegalovirus
DBM Drip breastmilk
EBF Exclusive breastfeeding
EBM Expressed breastmilk
ERSL Estimated renal solute load
FAO Food and Agriculture Organization
HIV Human immunodefciency virus
HR Hazard ratio
IDA Iron-defciency anaemia
IQ Intelligence quotient
IU International units
IUGR Intrauterine growth restriction/retardation
KMC Kangaroo mother care
LBW Low birth weight
MD Mean difference
MTCT Mother-to-child transmission of HIV
NCHS National Centers for Health Statistics
OR Odds ratio
PRSL Potential renal solute load
RCT Randomized controlled trial
RD Risk difference
RNI Recommended nutrient intake
RR Relative risk
SGA Small for gestational age
TPN Total parenteral nutrition
UNICEF United Nations Children’s Fund
VLBW Very low birth weight
WHO World Health Organization
WMD Weighted mean difference
Z-SCORE Standard deviation score
vííí
T
Executive summary
L
ow birth weight (LBW) has been defned by the World Health Organization
(WHO) as a weight at birth less than 2500 grams. The global prevalence of LBW
is 15.5%, which means that about 20.6 million such infants are born each year, 96.5%
of them in developing countries (1). There is signifcant variation in LBW incidence
rates across the United Nations regions, with the highest incidence in South-Central
Asia (27.1%) and the lowest in Europe (6.4%).
Low birth weight can be a consequence of pre-term birth (i.e. before 37 completed
weeks of gestation), or due to small size for gestational age (SGA, defned as weight
for gestation <10th percentile), or both. In addition, depending on the birth weight
reference used, a variable but small proportion of LBW infants are born at term and
are not small for gestational age. Intrauterine growth retardation, defned as a slower
than normal rate of fetal growth, is usually responsible for SGA. Low birth weight
thus defnes a heterogeneous group of infants: some are born early, some are born
at term but are small for gestational age, and some are both born early and small for
gestational age.
It is generally recognized that being born with a low birth weight is a disadvan-
tage for the infant. Pre-term birth is a direct cause of 27% of the 4 million neonatal
deaths that occur globally every year (2). Pre-term birth and SGA are also important
indirect causes of neonatal deaths. Low birth weight directly or indirectly may con-
tribute up to 60–80% of all neonatal deaths (2). LBW infants are at higher risk of
early growth retardation, infectious disease, developmental delay and death during
infancy and childhood (3, 4).
Countries can substantially reduce their infant mortality rates by improving the
care of low birth weight infants. Experience from both developed and developing
countries has clearly shown that appropriate care of LBW infants, including feed-
ing, temperature maintenance, hygienic cord and skin care, and early detection and
treatment of infections can substantially reduce mortality in this highly vulnerable
group. Interventions to improve feeding are likely to improve the immediate and
longer-term health and wellbeing of the individual infant and to have a signifcant
impact on neonatal and infant mortality levels in the population. Better feeding
of pre-term babies was one of the frst interventions in the 1960s in the UK and
was associated with reduced case fatality for pre-term babies in hospitals before the
advent of intensive care (5). Community-based studies from India have shown that
improved care of LBW infants can substantially improve their survival (6–8).
This review summarizes the evidence on feeding LBW infants and serves as the
basis for the development of guidelines on feeding LBW infants in developing coun-
tries. Systematic reviews, randomized controlled trials, observational studies and
descriptive studies were examined. The information was stratifed into key sections
(nutrition, feeding methods, feeding schedules, support and monitoring). Key ques-
tions and evidence were considered for each section and summarized. The following
outcomes were considered:
2 Optimal feeding Of lOw-birth-weight infants: technical review
• Mortality
• Severe morbidity
• Neurodevelopment
• Growth
• Other outcomes (e.g. anaemia, exclusive breastfeeding rates, feed tolerance,
etc.).
Studies from developing and developed countries that included infants with a birth
weight less than 2500 g or gestation less than 37 weeks were considered for inclu-
sion in this review. Studies were classifed into the following three groups based on
the infant’s gestational age and (where this was not available) on birth weight: (i)
gestational age under 32 weeks or birth weight under 1500 g, (ii) gestational age
of 32–36 weeks or birth weight of 1500–1999 g, and (iii) term infants with a birth
weight of 2000–2499 g. These infants are considered by many experts to be distinct
risk groups requiring different specialized management (9–12). It was not possible
to present the fndings of most studies separately for pre-term infants who were
appropriate for gestational age (AGA) from those who were small size for gestational
age (SGA).
Findings of the review
what to feed
Choice of milk
Breastfeeding or mother’s own expressed milk. There is strong and consistent
evidence that feeding mother’s own milk to pre-term infants of any gestation is
associated with a lower incidence of infections and necrotising enterocolitis, and
improved neurodevelopmental outcome as compared with formula feeding. Feed-
ing unsupplemented mother’s own milk to pre-term infants <1500 g resulted in
slower weight and length gains, but the implications of this slower growth are
unclear and there is not enough evidence to assess if it increased the risk of malnu-
trition. Long-term benefcial effects of breastfeeding on blood pressure, serum lipid
profle or pro-insulin levels have also been reported for pre-term infants. There
are limited data on most outcomes in term LBW infants; the available data suggest
that improved infection and neurodevelopmental outcomes associated with feed-
ing mother’s milk in pre-term infants are also seen in this group.
Donor human milk. The available data indicate that feeding with donor human
milk rather than standard or pre-term infant formula to LBW infants of <32 weeks
gestation reduces the incidence of necrotising enterocolitis. The data are insuffcient
to conclude if there are neurodevelopmental advantages. Growth is slower in the
short term in the infants fed donor human milk, but there are insuffcient data to
assess the effects on long-term growth outcomes. It should be noted that many of the
identifed studies used drip milk (i.e. breastmilk that drips from the opposite breast
while breastfeeding) rather than the recommended expressed donor milk. Although
there is limited evidence, it can be assumed that the fndings are similar in infants
of 32–36 weeks gestation. There are no data on outcomes in the subgroup of term
LBW infants.
3
Pre-term infant formula. Infants of <32 weeks gestational age who were fed pre-
term infant formula had higher psychomotor developmental scores at 18 months
of age than those fed standard infant formula. Although there was no overall effect
observed in these children at 7½–8 years of age, the verbal intelligence quotient
(IQ) scores were higher in the pre-term infant formula group among boys. Pre-term
formula increases growth during the neonatal period but this is not sustained dur-
ing later infancy and childhood. No long-term benefts (e.g. blood pressure, serum
lipid profle or pro-insulin) have been found. There are insuffcient data to draw any
conclusions for pre-term infants of 32–36 weeks gestational age or for term LBW
infants.
Optimal duration of exclusive breastfeeding
Overall there is no evidence to recommend a different duration of exclusive breast-
feeding for pre-term or term LBW infants than for infants who are not low birth
weight. Limited available data from industrialized countries suggest that early sup-
plementation of breastfeeding (at about 3 months of age) with a high calorie diet in
pre-term infants may marginally increase linear growth and haemoglobin levels. No
data are available for other key outcomes. Among term LBW infants, the available
evidence from two trials suggests that exclusive breastfeeding for 6 months, com-
pared with 4 months, had no deleterious impact on neurodevelopment, growth, or
haemoglobin levels, if it was accompanied by iron supplementation.
Human milk supplementation
Vitamin D. There is some evidence of reduced linear growth and increased risk
of rickets in babies with a birth weight <1500 g fed unsupplemented human milk.
There seems to be no consistent beneft of increasing the intake of vitamin D from
the usually recommended 400 IU per day. There are no clinical trial data on the
effect of vitamin D on key clinical outcomes in infants with a birth weight >1500 g.
Phosphorus and calcium. There is some evidence that phosphorus and calcium sup-
plementation reduces the risk of metabolic bone disease in pre-term infants and leads
to short-term increases in bone mineralization in infants with a birth weight of <1500
g. There are no data on the effect of phosphorus and calcium supplementation on key
clinical outcomes in infants with a birth weight >1500 g.
Iron. Iron supplementation, started at 6–8 weeks of age in LBW infants, is effective
in preventing anaemia during infancy. There is some evidence that anaemia is com-
mon in LBW infants fed unsupplemented human milk even at 8 weeks of age. There
is also some evidence to suggest that iron supplementation, started at 2 weeks of
age, may prevent this early anaemia in infants with birth weights <1500 g. However,
there are insuffcient data on the safety of iron supplementation during the frst two
months of life. There are no data on the effects of iron supplementation on mortal-
ity, common childhood illnesses or neurodevelopment in LBW infants.
Vitamin A. No conclusions can be made about the benefts of early vitamin A sup-
plementation of LBW infants. Findings from a single large trial suggest that vitamin
A (50,000 IU in one or two divided doses) during the frst days of life may have a
survival advantage, particularly in infants with birth weights <2000 g.
executive summary
4 Optimal feeding Of lOw-birth-weight infants: technical review
Zinc. There are no data on the effect of zinc on key clinical outcomes in pre-term
infants. Data from two trials in developing countries suggest that term LBW infants
in developing countries may have lower mortality and morbidity if they receive zinc
supplementation. There seems to be little evidence that zinc supplementation in these
infants improves neurodevelopment or affects growth.
Multicomponent fortifer. In infants of <32 weeks gestation, there is evidence that
use of multicomponent fortifer leads to short-term increases in weight gain, lin-
ear growth, head growth and bone mineralization. There are insuffcient data to
evaluate the long-term neurodevelopmental and growth outcomes, although there
appears to be no effect on growth beyond one year of age. Use of multicomponent
fortifers does not appear to be associated with increased risk of mortality or necro-
tizing enterocolitis, although the small number of infants and the large amount of
missing data in the studies reduce confdence in this conclusion. Also, in the largest
trial undertaken there was a signifcant increase in the incidence of infection among
infants receiving the fortifer. There are no data examining the effcacy of multi-
component fortifer in infants of 32–36 weeks gestation or in term LBW infants.
how to feed
Feeding methods
Cup feeding compared with bottle feeding. In pre-term infants, cup feeding leads to
higher rates of full (exclusive or predominant) breastfeeding, compared with bottle
feeding at the time of discharge from hospital. Cup feeding was also associated with
greater physiological stability, e.g. lower risk of bradycardia or desaturation, than
bottle feeding. No data are available for term LBW infants. When cup feeding is cor-
rectly done, i.e. with the infant upright and the milk is not poured into the mouth,
there is no evidence that there is an increased risk of aspiration.
Nasogastric compared with orogastric feeding. Physiological data show that naso-
gastric tubes increase airway impedance and the work of breathing in very pre-
term infants, which is supported by clinical data showing an increased incidence of
apnoea and desaturation.
Bolus compared with continuous intragastric feeding. Bolus feeding refers to a
calculated amount of feed given intermittently every 1–4 hours by a nasogastric
or orogastric tube. In infants of <32 weeks gestation, there is some evidence that
bolus feeding can reduce the time to full enteral feeding, but no conclusions can
be made about other advantages or disadvantages. A disadvantage of continuous
feeding of expressed breastmilk is that fat can separate and stick to the syringe and
tubes. There are physiological data which show that duodenal motor responses and
gastric emptying is enhanced in infants of 32–35 weeks gestation given continuous
intragastric feeding. There are no trial data comparing clinical outcomes associated
with continuous or bolus intragastric feeding in infants of 32–36 weeks gestation or
in term LBW infants.
5
Feeding progression
Trophic feedings or minimal enteral nutrition. Trophic feeding or minimal enteral
nutrition refers to intragastric milk feeds in the frst few days of life in sub-nutritional
quantities, e.g. 5–10 ml/kg/day on the frst day of life. A systematic review and meta-
analysis of 10 randomized controlled trials (RCTs) indicate that trophic feedings in
infants of <32 weeks gestation are associated with a shorter time to reach full enteral
feeds and shorter duration of hospitalization. There was no signifcant increase in the
risk of necrotising enterocolitis although the fndings do not exclude an important
effect. Trophic feeding is not relevant for infants of >32 weeks gestation because they
usually tolerate maintenance enteral feeding from the frst day of life.
Initiation of ‘maintenance’ enteral feeding. Data are available only from two control-
led studies conducted in the 1960s. One of these studies showed that infants <2250 g
at birth had higher mortality if given full maintenance enteral fuids starting within
2 hours of birth as compared to those given small enteral feeds starting 12–16 hours
after birth. Findings from the other study in infants of <32 weeks gestation indicated
that infants given IV fuids on the frst day of life had lower mortality than those who
received nasogastric feeds of glucose in water or those who received no feeds or fuids.
No frm conclusions can be drawn from these studies. However, it appears that very
pre-term infants may beneft from avoidance of full enteral feeds on the frst day of
life.
Progression of enteral feeding. In infants of <32 weeks gestation, faster rates of increase
in feeding volumes (20–35 ml/kg/day compared with 10–20 ml/kg/day) may decrease
the time to full enteral feeds and may increase weight gain. There is limited informa-
tion regarding safety (broad confdence intervals for incidence of necrotising entero-
colitis) and the effect on length of hospital stay. There are limited data from which to
draw any conclusions about fast rates of advancement of feeding rates in infants with
32–36 weeks gestation or in term LBW infants. However, these infants are more likely
to tolerate rapid feeding regimens even better than smaller more immature infants.
Demand or scheduled feeding. Demand feeding may be feasible for some infants
with 32–36 weeks gestation and may reduce the length of hospitalization. No data
are available for infants of <32 weeks gestation and term LBW infants.
thermal care and support for breastfeeding
Maternal involvement in care and feeding of LBW infants. Substantial benefts
in terms of improved breastfeeding rates and early discharge from hospital were
reported when mothers participated in the care and feeding of their LBW infants in
neonatal units.
Time of discharge from hospital. Several RCTs indicate that there are no adverse
outcomes of early discharge, including no differences in weight gain, short-term
complications and hospital readmissions, if the infants are discharged when the fol-
lowing criteria are met: the infant can breastfeed and maintain body temperature in
an open crib, shows no evidence of clinical illness and is not losing weight, and the
mother demonstrates satisfactory care-giving skills.
executive summary
6 Optimal feeding Of lOw-birth-weight infants: technical review
Kangaroo mother care (KMC). In clinically stable pre-term infants with a birth
weight of <2000 g, there is evidence that KMC is at least as effective as conven-
tional care in reducing mortality. KMC may reduce infections and improve exclu-
sive breastfeeding rates and weight gain. There are insuffcient data regarding the
effect of KMC in infants with birth weights <1500 g because many of these infants
were excluded from the available studies as they were not considered to be clinically
stable. There is preliminary evidence from resource-poor settings that KMC may be
effective even in clinically unstable LBW infants including those with birth weights
<1500 g. There are no data regarding the effect of KMC in term LBW infants.
Non-nutritive sucking. Non-nutritive sucking may decrease the length of hospital
stay in pre-term infants but has no effect on growth outcomes in preterm infants
who weigh less than 1800 g at birth. Encouraging the infant to suck on the ‘emptied’
breast, after expression of breast milk, may result in improved breastfeeding rates at
discharge and at follow-up.
Breastfeeding counselling. There are few data on the effect of breastfeeding coun-
selling among pre-term infants of <32 weeks gestation. Among pre-term infants of
32–36 weeks gestation and term LBW infants, breastfeeding counselling improves
the rates of exclusive breastfeeding at 3 months. This fnding is consistent with
the results of a meta-analysis of 20 intervention trials in term normal birth weight
infants.
HIV and infant feeding counselling. No studies were located which examined the
impact of HIV and infant feeding counselling of HIV-positive mothers of LBW
infants or the choice of milk on key clinical outcomes.
Drug therapy for enhancing lactation. The available evidence suggests that meto-
clopramide or domperidone increases breastmilk volume in mothers of infants of
<32 weeks gestation, particularly those who were having diffculty in maintaining
milk production. There are no data regarding effcacy in the mothers of infants of
32–36 weeks gestation or for term LBW infants.
Monitoring
Blood glucose monitoring. There are no studies reporting the effects of regular blood
glucose monitoring on subsequent outcomes. Limited observational data indicate
that recurrent and/or prolonged blood glucose levels of <2.6 mmol/l (<45 mg/dl)
are likely to be associated with poorer neurodevelopment in later life.
Growth monitoring. There is evidence that exact mimicry of fetal growth is not pos-
sible even in well-resourced neonatal care units in developed countries. Catch-up
growth occurs after very discrepant rates of neonatal growth and is less likely to be
complete in the smallest infants. The optimal timing of catch-up growth is uncer-
tain. It is unclear if lack of rapid catch-up is associated with a higher malnutrition
risk. Rapid catch-up does not appear to improve neurodevelopment. On the other
hand, rapid catch-up after the frst year of life may be associated with increased
cardiovascular risk in later life. Although monitoring the growth of LBW infants is
considered essential for appropriate management, there are no data examining the
effects of growth monitoring on key clinical outcomes of LBW infants.
Introduction
Background
Low birth weight (LBW) is defned as a weight
at birth less than 2500 g. The global prevalence
of LBW is 15.5%, which means that about 20.6
million LBW infants are born each year; 96.5%
of them are in developing countries (1). There
is signifcant variation in LBW incidence rates
across the United Nations regions:
• The highest incidence occurs in the
subregion of South-Central Asia, where
27.1% of infants are born with a low birth
weight. The incidence in other parts of
Asia ranges from 5.9% to 15.4%.
• The incidence of LBW is 14.3% in Africa,
with little variation across the region as a
whole.
• Latin America and Caribbean has, on
average, lower rates (10%), but in the
Caribbean the level (13.7%) is almost as
high as in Africa.
• About 10.5% of births in Oceania are
infants with a low birth weight.
• Among the developed regions, North
America averages 7.7% while Europe has
the lowest regional average LBW rate at
6.4%.
Low birth weight can be a consequence of pre-
term birth (i.e. before 37 completed weeks of
gestation) or related to a small size for gesta-
tional age (SGA, defned as weight for gesta-
tion <10th percentile), or both. In addition,
depending on the birth weight reference
used, a variable but small proportion of LBW
infants are born at term and are not small for
gestational age. Intrauterine growth retarda-
tion, defned as a slower than normal rate of
fetal growth, is usually responsible for SGA.
Low birth weight thus defnes a heterogeneous
group of infants: some are born early, some are
born at term but are small for gestational age,
and some are born early and are small for ges-
tational age.
It is generally recognized that being born
with a low birth weight is a disadvantage for
the infant. Pre-term birth is a direct cause
of 27% of the 4 million neonatal deaths that
occur globally every year (2). Pre-term birth
and SGA are also important indirect causes
of neonatal deaths. Low birth weight may
directly or indirectly contribute to 60–80%
of all neonatal deaths (2). LBW infants are at
higher risk of early growth retardation, infec-
tious disease, developmental delay, and death
during infancy and childhood (3, 4).
Many factors affect the duration of gesta-
tion and intrauterine growth. They relate to
the infant, the mother, or the physical envi-
ronment and play an important role in deter-
mining the infant’s birth weight:
• For the same gestational age, girls weigh
less than boys, frstborn infants are
lighter than subsequent infants, and
twins weigh less than singletons.
• Women of short stature or with a low
body mass index at conception, those
who live at high altitudes, and young
women have smaller babies.
• Once pregnant, the mother’s lifestyle (e.g.
alcohol, tobacco or drug use) and other
exposures (e.g. to malaria, HIV or syphi-
lis), or complications such as hyperten-
sion can affect intrauterine growth and
development, as well as the duration of
pregnancy.
• Mothers in deprived socioeconomic con-
ditions frequently have low birth weight
infants. In those settings, the mother’s
poor nutrition and health, high preva-
lence of specifc and non-specifc infec-
tions, inadequate care for pregnancy
complications, and physically demand-
ing work during pregnancy contribute to
poor intrauterine growth.
7
8 Optimal feeding Of lOw-birth-weight infants: technical review
Countries can substantially reduce their
infant mortality rates by improving the care
of low birth weight infants. Experience from
both developed and developing countries has
clearly shown that appropriate care of LBW
infants, including feeding, temperature main-
tenance, hygienic cord and skin care, and early
detection and treatment of infections can
substantially reduce mortality in this highly
vulnerable group. Interventions to improve
feeding are likely to improve the immediate and
longer-term health and wellbeing of the indi-
vidual infant and to have a signifcant impact
on neonatal and infant mortality levels in the
population. Better feeding of pre-term babies
was one of the frst interventions in the 1960s
in the UK and was associated with a reduced
case fatality for pre-term babies in hospitals
before the advent of intensive care (5). Com-
munity-based studies from India have shown
that improved care of LBW infants can sub-
stantially improve their survival (6–8).
Feeding the LBW infant involves decisions
about what milk to feed, what nutritional
supplements to give, how to feed, how much
and how frequently to feed, what support is
needed, and how to monitor. Current guide-
lines on feeding the LBW infant are generally
based on research in developed countries and
may not be applicable in developing country
settings. Unlike in developed countries, where
pre-term birth is the main cause of LBW, in
developing countries most LBW infants are
small for gestational age (SGA). Nearly 75% of
all term SGA infants in the world are born in
Asia, and 20% are born in Africa (13, 14). Fur-
ther, many of the current feeding guidelines
are not practical in resource-poor settings.
This review was designed to help the devel-
opment of guidelines for feeding LBW infants,
both pre-term and SGA, in frst-level referral
facilities in developing countries, and in the
community where feasible.
Aim
n To summarize the evidence on feeding
LBW infants in order to develop guidelines for
feeding them in the frst 6 months of life in
developing country settings.
Objectives
To locate, review and summarize key stud-
ies on interventions to improve the feeding of
LBW infants in the frst 6 months of life con-
cerning:
• what milk to feed;
• what nutritional supplements to give;
• how to feed;
• how much and how frequently to feed;
• what support is needed for thermal care
and breastfeeding;
• how to monitor feeding, fuid balance
and growth.
n To draw conclusions and make recommen-
dations for developing guidelines, taking into
account the feasibility of implementing these
interventions in developing country settings.
n To describe the development of feeding
ability, fuid and nutritional requirements of
pre-term and SGA infants, and the nutritional
composition of human milk, human milk sup-
plements and breastmilk substitutes.
Target audience
This document is targeted towards neonatolo-
gists, paediatricians, nutrition experts and
other health professionals who manage LBW
infants, as well as public health profession-
als who design and evaluate healthcare pro-
grammes in developing countries. This review
will form the basis of guidelines on feeding
LBW infants for health professionals working
in small hospitals, frst-level health facilities,
and communities in developing countries.
Methods
Inclusion criteria
Study designs
All the available literature from both devel-
oped and developing countries was reviewed.
They included published and unpublished sys-
tematic reviews, non-systematic reviews, and
randomized controlled trials (RCTs); quasi-
randomized trials, cohort and case-control
studies were also considered.
Defnitions of participants
A pre-term infant is defned as an infant born
before 37 weeks of gestation; a term infant is
defned as an infant born between 37 and 41
weeks of gestation. A small for gestational age
(SGA) infant is defned as an infant whose
birth weight was less than the 10th centile for
gestational age at birth, and an appropriate for
gestational age (AGA) infant is defned as an
infant whose birth weight was between the
10th centile and the 90th centile for gestational
age at birth. The corrected age of the infant is
defned as the age of the infant in weeks from
the date of birth minus the number of weeks
early that the infant was born, and the chrono-
logical age of the infant is defned as the age of
the infant in weeks from the date of birth with-
out correcting for prematurity (9). In general,
unless otherwise specifed, the chronological
age of the infant is used in this document.
Studies from developing and developed
countries that included infants with birth
weights less than 2500 g or gestation less than
37 weeks were considered for inclusion in this
review. The studies were classifed into the
following three groups based on the infants’
gestational age and (where gestational age was
not available) on birth weight: (i) gestational
age under 32 weeks or birth weight less than
1500 g, (ii) gestational age of 32–36 weeks or
birth weight of 1500–1999 g, and (iii) term
infants with birth weights of 2000–2499 g.
This classifcation was used as these infants are
considered by many experts to be distinct risk
groups requiring different levels of specialized
management (9–12). It was not possible to
present the fndings of most studies separately
for pre-term infants who were appropriate for
gestational age (AGA) from those who were
small for gestational age (SGA).
Exposures or interventions
All nutritional exposures or interventions to
improve feeding of LBW infants in the frst 6
months of life were considered. These expo-
sures and interventions were stratifed into key
sections: nutrition, feeding methods, feeding
schedules, support, monitoring, and feeding
in exceptionally diffcult circumstances.
Outcome measures
The following outcome measures were consid-
ered:
• mortality;
• severe morbidity (e.g. hospitalization
rates, infectious disease incidence, necr-
otising enterocolitis, fractures, severe
iron-defciency anaemia with haemo-
globin <7 g/dl, hypoglycaemia, adult
chronic disease);
• neurodevelopment;
• malnutrition (defned as wasting or stunt-
ing: standard deviation score for weight-
for-length or length-for-age <–2.0);
• other important outcomes (e.g. bone
mineralization, feed tolerance, rates of
any breastfeeding, and rates of exclusive
breastfeeding).
Malnutrition, which is a cause of at least half
of all child deaths, was included as an outcome
measure rather than growth rates or weight
gain because the implications of the latter on
short- and long-term health and survival are
still unclear. There is emerging evidence that
9
T0 Optimal feeding Of lOw-birth-weight infants: technical review
rapid growth during the frst years of life may
not be associated with improved neurodevel-
opment or other functional outcomes (15–18).
However, a study by Victora et al did report
a strong association between infant catch-up
growth ≥0.66 SD and a lower incidence of
hospital admissions in a cohort of Brazilian
term SGA infants (19). On the other hand,
rapid catch-up growth has been reported to be
associated with obesity, hypertension, coro-
nary mortality and morbidity, and impaired
glucose tolerance during adult life (20–27). A
study from Finland suggested that weight gain
during infancy was associated with a reduced
risk of coronary heart disease during adult life
irrespective of size at birth, but after 1 year of
age rapid weight gain in infants who were thin
at birth was associated with an increased risk
of coronary heart disease (28). Other studies
have indicated that rapid weight gain after 2
years of age is associated with increased risk
(29, 30).
Search strategy for identifcation
of studies
The search strategy included the following
search terms: LBW, preterm, premature, SGA,
intrauterine growth restriction/retardation
(IUGR), mortality, breastfeeding, and human
milk. The electronic databases used were the
Cochrane database of systematic reviews of
RCTs, the Cochrane controlled trials register,
the Cochrane database of abstracts of reviews
of effectiveness (DARE), the Cochrane neona-
tal collaborative review group specialized reg-
ister, MEDLINE (1966 to 2005), and EMBASE
(1966 to 2005). The following sources were
also accessed: reference lists of articles, per-
sonal communications, technical reports,
conference proceedings, review articles, books
and dissertations, and experts in the feld. In
addition, a number of key journals were hand
searched. Every effort was also made to iden-
tify relevant non-English language articles and
abstracts.
Data collection
For all studies a standardized form was used
to extract relevant information from the
available sources. Systematically extracted
data included: study location, author, year
of publication, design, participants, sample
size, type of intervention or exposure, type of
control group, follow-up, outcome measures,
and results (including the effect of measures
and tests of statistical signifcance, where pos-
sible). Where results adjusted for potential
confounders were available, particularly for
observational studies, they were used in pref-
erence to unadjusted results. Where results
adjusted for potential confounders were not
available, unadjusted results were used. When
data were not provided, attempts were made
to contact the investigators; secondary sources
were used and references included.
Data analysis
All identifed studies were initially exam-
ined to assess whether they related to feeding
of LBW infants. The studies were stratifed
according to type of intervention or exposure,
study design, birth weight, and gestational
age where possible. Data were tabulated and
viewed descriptively. Effects were expressed as
relative risks (RR) or odds ratios (OR) for cat-
egorical data, and as mean differences (MD)
or weighted mean differences (WMD) for
continuous data where possible.
Level of evidence for effcacy
and safety
Levels of evidence were rated according to the
following scale for both effcacy and safety (US
Preventative Services Task Force 1989).
I Evidence obtained from a systematic
review of all relevant randomized con-
trolled trials
II Evidence obtained from at least one
properly designed randomized control-
led trial
III-1 Evidence obtained from well-designed
pseudo-randomized controlled tri-
als (alternate allocation or some other
method)
TT methOds
III-2 Evidence obtained from comparative
studies with concurrent controls and
allocation not randomized (cohort stud-
ies), case-control studies, or interrupted
time series with a control group
III-3 Evidence obtained from comparative
studies with historical control, two or
more single-arm studies, or interrupted
time series without a parallel control
group
IV Evidence obtained from case series,
either post-test or pre-test and post-test
Conclusions and implications
Level of evidence and study design were frst
considered. This was then followed by assess-
ment of the limitations, internal and external
validity and the wider implications of each
study. Implications for guideline develop-
ment were considered and the need for further
research stated.
Recommendations
Consensus statements and expert commit-
tee reports were then sought and clearly
acknowledged. Experts in the feld were also
contacted and information about standard
practice in neonatal units and health facilities
was obtained. Recommendations based on the
review evidence were then formulated.
Structure of the document
Interventions are considered in chronological
order, stratifed into sections (nutrition, feed-
ing methods, feeding schedules, support, mon-
itoring, and feeding of infants of HIV-positive
mothers), and key issues are considered for
each intervention. Key studies are listed and
described according to outcome. This is fol-
lowed by conclusions and assessment of impli-
cations. Recommendations are then discussed
and key implications for developing country
settings.
Limitations of this review
Most of the available evidence reviewed in
this document is from studies on premature
infants conducted in developed countries with
low mortality rates and low rates of infec-
tious disease because of paucity of data from
developing countries. Care has been taken in
extrapolating this information to developing
country settings. A limitation of many of the
included studies was that the results were not
reported separately for the babies who were
both pre-term and SGA from those who were
pre-term and AGA. Further, some studies only
reported the birth weights of the subjects and
not their gestational ages. Regional WHO data-
bases were not included in the search strategy
and therefore some of the grey literature may
have been missed.
Results
1. BACkgROunD
1.1 Physiological principles of feeding LBW infants
Body composition
The composition of weight
gained by the fetus varies with
gestational age. About 80% of all
weight gained between 24 and
28 weeks of gestation is water,
but this proportion decreases
to about 60% between 36 and
40 weeks. On the other hand,
a greater proportion of weight
gained near term is in the form
of fat, increasing from about 8%
during 24–28 weeks to nearly
20% during 36–40 weeks gesta-
tion (31) (see Figure 1.1.1).
The total body water as a
percentage of body weight in
the fetus decreases rapidly dur-
ing the last trimester and in the
frst few days after birth. The
decrease is because of reduc-
tion in extracellular water and
somewhat compensated by a
corresponding increase in intra-
cellular water. This loss of body
water after birth is responsi-
ble for the physiological weight
loss seen after birth and is more
pronounced in pre-term infants
(5–15% of birth weight) than
in term infants (3–5% of birth
weight) (32, 33) (see Figure
1.1.2).

Fluid requirements
Key physiological considera-
tions for calculating the fuid
requirements in the frst week of
life are:
Figure 1.1.1 Average composition of weight gain of a reference fetus
during four successive 4-week intervals (31)
24–28 28–32 32–36 36–40
Other
Protein
Lipid
Water
Age interval (weeks)
30
20
10
D
a
i
l
y

i
n
c
r
e
m
e
n
t

(
g
m
/
d
a
y
)
79.0 74.0 69.9 62.5
7.8
11.4
13.9
19.8
10.8
12.2
13.3
13.9
30.7 gm/day
16.8 gm/day
23.9 gm/day
27.1 gm/day
Age
100
60
30
P
e
r
c
e
n
t
a
g
e

o
f

b
o
d
y

w
e
i
g
h
t
90
80
70
50
40
20
10
0 3 6 90 3 6 9 1 3 6 7 9 11 13 15
Lunar months Months Years Adults
Body water compartments
Total body water
Extracellular water
Intracellular water
Figure 1.1.2 Age-related changes of total body water and its
compartments (intra- and extracellular) from fetal life until adolescence
(32)
T2
T3
• postnatal physiological changes: 5–10
ml/kg/day water loss in the frst 3–4 days
for infants >1500 g and 20 ml/kg for those
<1500 g (does not need to be replaced);
• insensible water loss: 20 ml/kg/day for
infants >1500 g and 40–60 ml/kg/day for
those <1500 g;
• urine output: 50–70 ml/kg/day for the
frst 3 days and 70–100 ml/kg thereafter;
• stool losses: 10 ml/kg after the frst 3
days.
It is usual clinical practice therefore to provide
infants weighing <1500 g with about 80 ml/
kg for the frst day of life and increase fuids
by about 10–15 ml/kg/day to a maximum of
160 ml/kg/day by the end of the frst week of
life. Similarly, LBW infants >1500 g are usu-
ally given about 60 ml/kg for the frst day of
life and the fuid intake is increased by about
15–20 ml/kg/day to a maximum of 160 ml/kg/
day by the end of the frst week of life (33–35).
There is some evidence that further restric-
tion of fuids for LBW infants weighing <2000
g may be benefcial but needs to be balanced
against the risk of dehydration. A meta-analy-
sis of studies comparing restricted with liberal
fuid regimens demonstrated that restricted
fuid regimens are associated with a reduced
risk of patent ductus arteriosus, necrotising
enterocolitis and death (36). The four stud-
ies included in the meta-analysis enrolled a
total of over 400 premature infants with birth
weights ranging from 750 to 2000 grams. Two
of the studies examined fuid regimens during
the frst week of life, while the other two did
so up to the end of the neonatal period. The
restricted fuid regimens examined in the stud-
ies ranged from 50 to 70 ml/kg on day 1, 60–70
ml/kg on day 3, and 80–90 ml/kg on day 5. The
corresponding ranges for liberal fuid regimens
were 80–150 ml/kg on day 1, 120–150 ml/kg on
day 3, and 140–150 ml/kg on day 5. Restricted
fuid regimens were found to be associated
with a lower risk of patent ductus arteriosus
(RR 0.40, 95%CI 0.26, 0.63), necrotising ente-
rocolitis (RR 0.30, 95%CI 0.13, 0.71), and death
(RR 0.52, 95%CI 0.28, 0.96), but there was a
non-signifcant trend towards increased risk of
dehydration (RR 2.43, 95%CI 0.71 to 8.28).
Use of radiant warmers for temperature
maintenance and phototherapy for treatment
of neonatal jaundice each increased the fuid
requirements by about 10 ml/kg/day (37, 38).
energy balance
Part of energy intake is lost in the urine and
stools. The remaining metabolizable energy is
either expended to support basal metabolism,
activity, synthesis or thermoregulation or is
stored in the form of protein and fat. The total
energy needs for growth are about 4–6 kcal for
each gram of weight gain (39).
The energy needs for pre-term infants dur-
ing the frst week of life are about 70–80 kcal/
kg/day, increase to 105–135 kcal/kg/day from
the second week of life until term, and then
decrease to 100–120 kcal/kg/day. Similarly,
protein requirements during the frst week are
1.0–3.0 g/kg/day, increase to 3.0–3.5 g/kg/day
from the second week of life up to term, and
then decrease to about 2 g/kg/day.
Growth in premature infants can be limited
by both energy and protein intake. Protein
intake is not relevant at low levels of energy
intake. However, once an energy intake of
90–100 kcal/kg per day is reached, nitrogen
retention can be limited if the protein intake
is low (see Figure 1.1.3). Poorly growing pre-
mature infants should be frst reviewed for
adequacy of energy needs and if the energy
needs are being met, protein supplementation
could be considered. Blood urea can be used
as a guide; if high, poor growth is likely to be
due to inadequate energy; if low despite a high
energy intake, poor growth is likely to be due
to inadequate protein (39–41).
Solute balance
The kidneys of a premature infant have lim-
ited ability to excrete solutes. The potential
renal solute load (PRSL) is contributed by
intake of protein, sodium, potassium, chlo-
ride and phosphate. A specifc equation can be
used to calculate the PRSL which adds sodium,
potassium, chloride and phosphorus to that of
nitrogen divided by 28 (PRSL = N/28 + [Na] +
[K] + [Cl] + [PO4]). However, growth of the
results
T4 Optimal feeding Of lOw-birth-weight infants: technical review
infant can reduce some of this solute load. The
estimated renal solute load (ERSL) takes into
account the growth of the infant and can be
calculated as the potential renal solute load
minus 90% of the weight gain in grams (ERSL
= PRSL – [0.9 x weight gain in grams]) (42).
1.2 nutritional requirements
Recommended nutrient intakes (RNIs) for
pre-term and SGA infants have been published
by a number of groups (43–45). The RNIs have
been developed by calculating nutrient intakes
that approximate the rate of growth for a nor-
mal fetus of the same gestational age without
inducing metabolic stress; factorial equations;
provision of idealized nutrient requirements
and measurement of utilization and excretion.
Published nutrient requirements for pre-term
infants are shown in Box 1.2.1.
Although the published RNIs provide some
indications, they cannot be used as the only
basis of guidelines for feeding the LBW infant.
This is because outcomes vary widely accord-
ing to the basic substrate provided. In par-
ticular, the absorption and bioavailability of
nutrients in different types of milk vary widely
(43–44). This is particularly important for
human milk. Bioavailability of many nutrients
is higher from human milk than from infant
formula or other breastmilk sub-
stitutes (43–44). Studies reporting
clinical endpoints are more relevant
for developing nutritional guidelines
for LBW infants.
1.3 nutritional sources
for LBW infants
huMan Milk
constituents
nutrient composition
The nutrient compositions of pre-
term and term human milk are dis-
played in Box 1.3.1. There was no
information located about stratif-
cation by gestational age or birth
weight. Also, no information was
located which described the nutrient
content of the milk of mothers who delivered
SGA infants.
Breastmilk meets almost all these require-
ments. There may be specifc need of addi-
tional minerals and vitamins for breastfed
LBW infants during certain periods of life. For
instance, pre-term infants of <32 weeks gesta-
tion need additional phosphorus, calcium and
vitamin D from the time feeding is established
until they reach term post-menstrual age. It
should be noted that breastmilk has great vari-
ability in composition as seen from the stand-
ard deviations (Box 1.3.1). In general, if the
breastmilk volume is high, the concentration
of nutrients will be lower.
Anti-infective constituents
Term and pre-term human milk contains live
cells (macrophages, polymorphonuclear leu-
cocytes, T and B lymphocytes) and a range of
antimicrobial factors (secretory IgA, lactofer-
rin, lysozyme, B
12
and folate-binding proteins,
complement, fbronectin, mucin, and antiviral
factors) (47). Human milk cells and antimi-
crobial factors play a major role in conferring
local immunological protection to the infant’s
gastrointestinal tract (47, 48). Enzymes, anti-
oxidants, and cellular components in human
milk all improve the host defence of the LBW
infant (49).
Figure 1.1.3 Energy intake and nitrogen retention according to protein
intake in pre-term infants (41)
400
300
200
100
40 80 120 160
4
3
2
1
Energy intake (kcal/kg/day)
N
i
t
r
o
g
e
n

r
e
t
e
n
t
i
o
n

(
m
g
/
k
g
/
d
a
y
)
P
r
o
t
e
i
n

i
n
t
a
k
e

(
g
/
k
g
/
d
a
y
)
T5
Box 1.2.1 Recommended daily nutrient intakes for pre-term infants >1000 g at birth
Period after birth; RNI per day
Nutrient Birth Stable-growing Term to
to 7 days (stabilization to term) 1 year of age
Macronutrients
Energy, kJ/kg (kcal/kg) 292–334 (70–80) 438–563 (105–135) 417–501 (100–120)
Protein, g/kg 1.0–3.0 3.0–3.6 2.2
Fat, g/kg 0.5–3.6 4.5–6.8 4.4–7.3
Carbohydrate, g/kg 5.0–20.0 7.5–1 5.5 7.5–1 5.5
Minerals
Calcium, mmol/kg 1.5–2.0 4.0–6.0 6.3 mmol/d (breast fed)
9.4 mmol/d (formula fed)
Phosphorus, mmol/kg 1.0–1.5 2.5–3.8 3.4 mmol/d (breast fed)
8.8 mmol/d (formula fed)
Magnesium, mmol/kg 0.20–0.25 0.20–0.40
a
0.20–0.60
a
Sodium,
b
mmol/kg 1.0–3.0 2.5–4.0 2.0–3.0
Chloride,
b
mmol/kg 1.0–3.0 2.5–4.0 2.0–3.0
Potassium, mmol/kg 2.5–3.5 2.5–3.5 2.5–3.5
Iron, mg/kg 0 2.0–3.0
c
2.0–3.0
c
Zinc, µmol/kg 6.5 7.7–12.3 15.0 (estimate)
Copper, µmol/kg 1.1–1.9 1.1–1.9 1. 1–1.9
Selenium, µmol/kg 0.04–0.06 0.04–0.06 0.04–0.06
Chromium, nmol/kg 1.0–1.9 1.0–1.9 1.0–1.9
Manganese, nmol/kg 10–20 10–20 10–20
Molybdenum, nmol/kg 2.0–4.0 2.0–4.0 2.0–4.0
Iodine, µmol/kg 0.20 0.25–0.50 0.25–0.50
Vitamins
Vitamin A, IU/kg 700–1500 700–1500 600–1400
Vitamin E, IU/kg 6–12 6–12 6–12
Vitamin K, µg/kg 8–10 8–10 8–10
Vitamin D, lU 40–260 400 (800
d
) 400
Vitamin C, mg/kg 6–10 6–10 20
Vitamin B
1
, mg/kg 0.04–0.05 0.04–0.05 0.05
Vitamin B
2
, mg/kg 0.36–0.46 0.36–0.46 0.05
Vitamin B
6
, mg/g of protein intake 0.015 0.015 0.015
Vitamin B
12
, µg 0.15 0.15 0.15
Niacin, NE
e
/5000 U 8.6 8.6 8.6
Folate, µg 50 50 25
Biotin, µg/kg 1.5 1.5 1.5
Pantothenic acid, mg/kg 0.8–1.3 0.8–1.3 0.8–1.3
a
Amount required is higher if milk from the premature infant’s mother is fortifed with other minerals that may diminish
the bioavailability and absorption of magnesium.
b
In specifc clinical situations, sodium and chlorine may need to be omitted for short periods.
c
From 6 wk after birth.
d
Amount may be increased in particular clinical syndromes.
e
NE = niacin equivalents.
Adapted from reference number 43.
results
T6 Optimal feeding Of lOw-birth-weight infants: technical review
Box 1.3.1 Concentration of nutrients in transitional and mature pre-term human milk compared with
mature term milk
Component (unit/L)
Pre-term transitional Pre-term stable Term mature
(6–10 days) (22–30 days) (> 30 days)
Macronutrients
Energy, kcal/L 660 ± 60 690 ± 50 640 ± 80
Protein, g/L 19 ± 0.5 15 ± 1 12 ± 1.5
Fat, g/L 34 ± 6 36 ± 7 34 ± 4
Carbohydrate, g/L 63 ± 5 67 ± 4 67 ± 5
Minerals
Calcium, mmol/L 8.0 ± 1.8 7.2 ± 1.3 6.5 ± 1.5
Phosphorus, mmol/L 4.9 ± 1.4 3.0 ± 0.8 4.8 ± 0.8
Magnesium, mmol/L 1.1 ± 0.2 1.0 ± 0.3 1.3 ± 0.3
Sodium, mmol/L 11.6 ± 6.0 8.8 ± 2.0 9.0 ± 4.1
Chloride, mmol/L 21.3 ± 3.5 14.8 ± 2.1 12.8 ± 1.5
Potassium, mmol/L 13.5 ± 2.2 12.5 ± 3.2 13.9 ± 2.0
Iron, mmol/L 23 22 22
Iron, mg/L 0.4 0.4 0.4
Zinc, µmol/L 58 ± 13 33 ± 14 15 – 46
Copper, µmol/L 9.2 ± 2.1 8.0 ± 3.1 3.2–6.3
Manganese, nmol/kg 6 ± 8.9 7.3 ± 6.6 3 – 6
Iodine, µmol/L — 1.25 —
Iodine, µg/L — — 70
Vitamins
Vitamin A, IU/L 500–4000 500–4000 600–2,000
Vitamin E, mg/L 2.9–14.5 2.9–14.5 2–3
Vitamin K, µg/L 0.7–5.3 0.7–5.3 1.2–9.2
Vitamin D, IU 40 40
Vitamin D, µg/L 0.01 0.01 0.01
Vitamin B
2
, mg/L 0.055 mg/418 kj 0.055 mg/418 kj —
Folate, mg/L 33 33 1.8
Values are mean ± SD.
From: Reference number 46
Amino acids
Human milk also contains many nucleotides
and hormones. Approximately 20% of the total
nitrogen content of human milk is represented
by non-protein nitrogen, and up to 20% of the
latter consists of free nucleotides (50). These
are believed to be important in the growth
and maturation of the gastrointestinal tract
and in the development of neonatal immune
function. Dietary nucleotides also favourably
alter the bowel microfora and reduce the risk
of diarrhoea. Glutamine, taurine, cysteine and
inositol also serve dual roles to protect the host
(51, 52).
Exocrine/endocrine components
Insulin-like growth factor-1, epidermal growth
factor and transforming growth factor alpha,
found in human term and pre-term milk, are
believed to have trophic effects on the develop-
ing gastrointestinal tract (53). Human milk also
contains at least 60 enzymes, including lipase,
which have been shown to enhance intestinal
lipolysis and improve fat absorption (54).
Fatty acids
Compared to formula milk, human milk has
a higher content and unique pattern of long-
chain polyunsaturated fatty acids and gan-
T7 results
gliosides. Long-chain polyunsaturated fatty
acids are believed to be important for cell
membrane synthesis, and cerebral and retinal
function (55). Human milk gangliosides are
also considered to promote neuronal develop-
ment, somatic growth and the development of
intestinal immunity (56–57).
types of human milk
Mother’s own milk and donor milk
Mother’s own milk can be provided to the
infant via breastfeeding or expression and
feeding by an alternative method. Donor milk
from a human milk bank is another source
of human milk. This milk is screened and
heat-treated and subjected to strict processing
regulations. The WHO/UNICEF Global Baby-
Friendly Hospital Initiative subsequently led
to a revival of interest in donor milk banks.
There are well functioning milk banks in a
number of countries around the world includ-
ing Brazil, Germany and the United Kingdom.
In addition, the United Kingdom Association
for Milk Banking and the Human Milk Bank-
ing Association of North America have pub-
lished guidelines for the establishment and
operation of human milk banks (58, 59).
Fore milk and hind milk
Fore milk is the milk that is produced as soon
as the milk fow begins. Hind milk is the por-
tion of the milk which is produced 2 to 3 min-
utes after the fow begins. Hind milk is higher
in fat and energy than foremilk but has similar
concentrations of other nutrients as foremilk
(60, 61). Hind milk has been described as pro-
moting greater weight gain than fore milk or
regular breastmilk (60, 61).
Drip milk and expressed milk
The milk which drips from the opposite breast
during breastfeeding is called drip milk and
used to be provided in the 1980s for feeding
pre-term infants. Drip breastmilk (DBM) dif-
fers from expressed breastmilk (EBM) both
in its contents and in the change in its com-
position over the period of lactation. DBM is
mainly fore milk; fat concentration and energy
value are low, compared with levels reported
for EBM. Protein, fat, sodium and energy val-
ues in DBM fall with the duration of lactation,
whereas magnesium and calcium rise, and
lactose, potassium, osmolality and lysozyme
remain constant. The milk fat content of DBM
produced by individual donors is linearly
related to the daily volume of DBM produced
(62, 63). About 15% of lactating women pro-
duce drip milk; volumes produced are up to
188 ml/donor/day (63). Expressed breastmilk
varies according to the type of technique used.
Sodium levels have been shown to be higher
after hand pumping than mechanical pump-
ing, but this study did not control for breast-
milk volume (64). Milk expressed by electric
breast pumping also appears to have greater
bacterial contamination than milk expressed
by hand (65–67). WHO/UNICEF, the United
Kingdom Association for Milk Banking, and
the Human Milk Banking Association of
North America have published guidelines for
the expression and processing of breastmilk
(58, 59, 68).
Storage of human milk
Heat treatment (pasteurization)
All donor milk should be pasteurized at 56–
62 °C for 30 minutes to destroy micro-organ-
isms including the human immunodefciency
(HIV) virus, human T-lymphotrophic virus
type 1, and cytomegalovirus (CMV) which are
excreted in breastmilk (69–71). Pasteurization
also reduces the total bacterial content, pro-
vided the milk initially contained fewer than
106 bacteria/ml (63). However, pasteuriza-
tion has also been shown to cause a signifcant
reduction in IgA concentration and lysozyme
activity, as well as a decrease in the ability of
the milk to inhibit the growth of Gram-nega-
tive organisms. Pasteurization also reduces
nitrogen retention, fat absorption (enzymes
including milk lipase are destroyed), concen-
tration of water-soluble vitamins, and anti-
microbial factors such as viable leukocytes,
immunoglobulins, lactoferrin, lysozyme,
complement, specifc antibodies to Escherichia
coli, and folate-binding proteins (72–75).
T8 Optimal feeding Of lOw-birth-weight infants: technical review
Simpler methods (e.g. Pretoria pasteuriza-
tion and fash treatment) to treat milk from
HIV-positive women are emerging and have
been reported to inactivate HIV (76–79). These
methods can potentially be implemented in
resource-poor areas. Pretoria pasteurization
involves placing human milk in a container
in a pan of boiling water for 20 minutes, then
removing and cooling. Flash treatment involves
placing human milk in a container, placing the
container in a pan of room temperature water,
then heating the water and milk together until
it reaches a rolling boil (100 °C), and remov-
ing and cooling. Both methods are reported to
decrease the concentrations of HIV although
fash treatment may be more effective (see Sec-
tion 7) (76–79).
Refrigeration and freezing
Expressed human milk can be kept at room
temperature for 6 hours before signifcant bac-
terial growth occurs (80, 81). It has been sug-
gested that human milk should be refrigerated
at 3–4 °C to retard bacterial growth, maintain
the stability of nutrients (except vitamin C),
preserve the viability and function of leu-
kocytes, and preserve the concentration of
antimicrobial proteins (82–84). If mother’s
own milk needs to be refrigerated, it should
not be for more than two days. Heat-treated
breastmilk (mother’s or donor) can be refrig-
erated for a maximum of 24 hours because of
concerns that heating damages bacteriostatic
mechanisms making the milk more suscepti-
ble to later contamination (58, 59, 63, 85).
Human milk can also be frozen at –15 °C to
–20 °C for up to 3 months. This will preserve
most nutrients and antimicrobial proteins and
maintain the stability of vitamins with anti-
oxidant activity such as tocopherol and retinol
(86, 87). However, this process will signif-
cantly reduce the concentrations of vitamin
C and milk leukocytes (75, 88, 89). IgA was
found to be best preserved in frozen human
milk by thawing either overnight in a refrig-
erator or by keeping under warm running
water (90). Microwave thawing, particularly
at temperatures above 60 °C, reduces the levels
of IgA and lysozyme in breastmilk (91, 92).
Freezing of breastmilk specimens naturally
infected with cytomegalovirus (CMV) for 7
days or longer at –20 °C was believed to elimi-
nate infectivity without destroying the bio-
chemical and immunological qualities of the
breastmilk (93). A more recent study that used
more sensitive tests for quantitative detection
of CMV in breastmilk has shown that late
viral RNA and viral infectivity are preserved
even after freezing at –20 °C for up to 10 days
(94). Pasteurization removes CMV infectiv-
ity and should be carried out with donated
milk. For a mother known to be infected with
CMV, freeze storage of her own milk does not
seem to be a perfect solution, but the rate of
CMV transmission is likely to be lowered; the
observed infections were asymptomatic (95).
huMan Milk SuPPleMentS
Nutritional supplements, to be given sepa-
rately from breastmilk, are available as single
vitamin preparations (vitamin A, vitamin D,
vitamin K) or single mineral preparations
(iron, zinc, calcium and phosphorus). Multi-
vitamin preparations are also available which
contain vitamin A, vitamin D, thiamine, ribo-
favin, pyridoxine, nicotinamide, ascorbic acid
(see Box 1.3.2). Multivitamins are not usually
mixed into the breastmilk, but care is needed
in administering the correct dose. Multivita-
min preparations must be protected from light
and refrigerated below 25 °C after opening.
Nutritional supplements are also available
as additives to be mixed with human milk.
Commonly known as ‘fortifers’, they are
commercially available and can be multicom-
ponent (with added protein, carbohydrate, fat,
calcium, phosphorus, sodium, vitamins A, D,
E, K, ribofavin, folic acid and zinc) (see Box
1.3.3) or single component (protein, carbohy-
drate, fat, calcium, phosphorus or sodium).
Multicomponent fortifers are available in
powdered or liquid form. Powdered fortifers
may be insoluble in human milk, and unless
the fortifer-milk mixture is well shaken, the
nutrients may not be available for absorption.
Liquid fortifers are for use in a 1:1 ratio with
human milk and contribute a signifcant pro-
T9 results
Box 1.3.3 Nutrient composition of commercial multicomponent human milk fortifers
Powdered multicomponent human milk fortifers
Nutrient Enfamil Similac SMA Nutriprem Aptamil
human milk human milk breastmilk Milupa Cow & FMS FM
85
fortifer fortifer fortifer Eoprotin Gate Milupa Nestle
Quantity 4 g 4 g 4 g 3 g 3 g 3.4 g 5 g
Macronutrients
Energy, kcal 14 14 15 11 10 12 18
Protein, g 1.1 1 1 0.6 0.7 0.8 0.8
Fat, g 0.65 0.36 0.16 0.02 0 0 0.015
Carbohydrate, g 1.1 1.8 2.4 2.1 2 2.2 3.6
Minerals
Calcium, mg 90 117 90 38 60 69 51
Phosphorus, mg 45 67 45 26 40 46 34
Magnesium, mg 1 7 3 2.1 6 6.8 2
Sodium, mmol 0.5 0.7 0.8 0.9 0.3 0.3 1.2
Chloride, mmol 0.3 1.1 0.5 0.4 0.2 0.2 0.5
Potassium, mmol 0.5 1.6 0.7 0.006 0.1 0.1 0.3
Iron, mg 1.44 0.35 0 0 0 0 0
Zinc, mcg 720 1000 260 0 300 350 0
Copper, mcg 44 170 0 0 26 30 0
Manganese, mcg 10 7.2 4.6 0 6 10 0
Vitamins
Vitamin A, mcg 285 186 270 30 130 150 0
Vitamin E, mg 4.6 3.2 3 0.3 2.6 2.9 0
Vitamin K
1
, mcg 4.4 8.3 11 0.2 6.3 7.1 0
Vitamin D, mcg 4 3 7.6 0 5 5.7 0
Vitamin C, mg 12 25 40 15 12 14 0
Thiamine, mcg 150 233 220 0 130 150 0
Ribofavin, mcg 220 417 260 0 170 190 0
Vitamin B
6
, mcg 115 211 260 0 110 120 0
Vitamin B
12
, mcg 0.18 0.64 0.3 0 0.2 0.2 0
Niacin, mg 3 3.57 3.6 0 2.5 2.8 0
Folic acid, mcg 25 23 0 0 50 57 0
Biotin, mcg 2.7 26 0 0 2.5 2.8 0
Pantothenic acid, mg 0.73 1.5 0 0 0.75 0.85 0
Increment in osmolality,
mOsm 63 90 137 70 60 57 105
From: Reference number 46
Box 1.3.2 Nutrient composition of selected multivitamin supplement formulations
Multivitamins
a
Pentavite 0.45 ml Abidec 0.6 ml Dalivit 0.6 ml
Vitamin A, IU 4000 IU 1333 IU 5000 IU
Ergocalciferol Vitamin D, IU 400 IU 400 IU 400 IU
Vitamin C, mg 43 mg 40 mg 50 mg
Vitamin B
1
, mg 0.54 mg 0.4 mg 1 mg
Vitamin B
2
, mg 0.81 mg 0.8mg 0.4 mg
Pantothenic acid, mg 0.288 mg — —
Vitamin B
6
, mg/g protein 0.14 mg 0.8 mg 0.5 mg
Niacin, mg 7.11 mg 8 mg 5 mg
a
Usually provided as 0.45ml Pentavite or 0.6 ml Abidec/Dalvit once daily orally after a feed (not per kg)
20 Optimal feeding Of lOw-birth-weight infants: technical review
portion of the infant’s fuid intake. Although
they are designed to contain adequate quanti-
ties of all essential nutrients, mixing the moth-
er’s own milk with an equal volume of liquid
fortifer dilutes the constituents of the human
milk, including nutrients, growth factors and
anti-infective properties (96).
BreaStMilk SuBStituteS
Breastmilk substitutes are available in many
different formulations and their nutrient com-
position varies markedly. They do not contain
biologically active anti-infective or immune
substances, or the hormones and growth factors
that are found in human milk. All breastmilk
substitutes have a risk of contamination, par-
ticularly if prepared and handled incorrectly.
types of available breastmilk
substitutes
Locally prepared animal milks
Raw animal milk is often contaminated with
pathogenic organisms (such as Brucella
melitensis) and is an excellent culture medium.
Raw animal milk should be pasteurized by
heating to 56–62 °C for 30 minutes before any
other modifcations and defnitely before
administration (97).
It is also important to note that the concen-
trations of nutrients in cow, goat and buffalo
milk are suboptimal when compared to human
milk. Animal milk has low concentrations of
iron, folic acid, vitamin D, vitamin B
12
, vitamin
C, vitamin E and long-chain polyunsaturated
fatty acids. The bioavailability of the small
quantity of iron present in animal milk is also
low. Animal milk has high protein, electrolyte,
mineral and fat content compared to human
milk and must be diluted (2 parts of milk to 1
part of water). Dilution diminishes the energy
and micronutrient content which can be par-
tially compensated by adding sugar (10 g/100ml
undiluted milk). Additional vitamins, minerals
and fat/oils are also needed, but these are rarely
added and result in an expensive preparation
(98–100). Multivitamin complex has been pro-
posed, but feasibility is limited due to the small
doses needed in LBW newborns.
Standard infant formulas
Standard infant formulas are designed for term
infants and are based on the composition of
mature breastmilk. The typical energy con-
tent is 68 kcal/100ml. Protein concentration is
approximately 1.5 g/100ml, and calcium and
phosphorus are 50 mg/100ml and 30 mg/100ml
respectively. Product information from the
manufacturers can be found in Box 1.3.4.
Pre-term infant formulas
Pre-term infant formulas are designed for
pre-term infants. These are calorie-enriched
(approximately 80 kcal/100ml) and variably
protein- and mineral-enriched to support
intra-uterine nutrient accretion rates. Calo-
ries may be provided as protein, fat or carbo-
hydrate and the balance between calories and
protein may be critical in determining the
type of growth. Product information from the
manufacturers can be found in Box 1.3.4.
Compared to unsupplemented human
milk, pre-term formula contains more pro-
tein, sodium, calcium, phosphorus, zinc, cop-
per and vitamins, often in a form that is easily
absorbed and metabolised. Most have an energy
content of about 80 kcal/100ml. In spite of the
higher carbohydrate and mineral content, the
osmolality of pre-term formulas remains low
at around 250–320 mOsm/kg H
2
O. Pre-term
formulas contain at least 2 g/100ml of protein
so that the pre-term infant will receive 3 g/kg/d
of protein when fed 150 ml/kg/d.
nutrient enriched “post-discharge”
formulas
These formulas are used in some devel-
oped countries for feeding pre-term babies
after discharge from hospital for a few weeks
before they are started on term infant for-
mula. Post-discharge formulas are interme-
diate in composition between pre-term and
term infant formulas. Product information
from the manufacturers can be found in Box
1.3.5. Compared to unsupplemented human
milk, post-discharge formulas contain more
protein, sodium, calcium, phosphorus, zinc,
copper and vitamins. Most have an energy
2T results
content of about 80 kcal/100 ml (24 kcal/oz),
osmolality at around 250–320 mOsm/kg H
2
O,
and at least 2 g/100 ml of protein.
Soy-based formulas
Soy protein in these formulas is felt to be of
low bioavailability for LBW infants. Other
problems reported include low plasma lev-
els of methionine, chloride and iodine, and a
high content of aluminium and phytoestro-
gen. Clinical problems in LBW infants have
included hypochloraemic metabolic alkalosis
and growth impairment (101).
Box 1.3.4 Nutrient composition of standard and pre-term infant formulas
Concentration of constituents (units/L)
Standard infant formula Pre-term infant formula
Formulation osterprem FHP Enfamil premature
Macronutrients
Energy, kJ/L (kcal/L) 2,840 (680) 3,360 (800) 2856 (680)
Protein, g/L 14.5 20 20.4
Fat, g/L 38.2 46 34.7
Carbohydrate, g/L 69.6 76.5 74.8
Minerals
Calcium, mg/L 390 1100 1122
Phosphorus, mg/L 270 630 564
Magnesium, mg/L 50 61.2
Sodium, mg/L 170 420 394
Chloride, mg/L 450 600 612
Potassium, mg/L 570 720 666
Iron, mg/L 6.5 0.400 12.2
Zinc, mg/L 3.4 8.800 10.2
Copper, µg/L 420 960 816
Manganese, ug/L 34 30 42.8
Iodine, µg/L 45 80 170
Vitamins
Vitamin A, ug/L 1000 1000 2550
Vitamin E, mg/L 48 100 19.3
Vitamin K, µg/L 27 70 54.4
Vitamin D, µg/L 10 24 408
Vitamin C, mg/L 69 280 136
Vitamin B
1
, ug/L 420 950 1360
Vitamin B
2
, µg/L — 1800 2040
Vitamin B
6
, µg/L 350 1000 1020
Vitamin B
12
, µg/L 1.4 2 1.7
Niacin, µg/L — 10,000 27200
Folate, µg/L 34 500 272
Biotin, µg/L 10 20 27.2
Osmolality, mOsmol/L 300 250–320 250–320
High-protein formulas
Raising the protein intake from 2 to 4 g/kg/
d in LBW infants has been shown to increase
weight gain, linear growth, nitrogen reten-
tion and serum albumin (102). Increasing the
protein intake further from 4 to 6 g/kg/d does
not result in more weight gain but is associ-
ated with fever and lethargy and, on follow-up,
an increased incidence of strabismus and low
developmental scores (103, 104).
22 Optimal feeding Of lOw-birth-weight infants: technical review
Medium-chain triglyceride-enriched
formulas
High medium-chain triglyceride content in
pre-term infant formula has been associated
with a higher incidence of adverse gastrointes-
tinal effects including abdominal distension,
increased gastric aspirates, vomiting, loose
stools and necrotising enterocolitis (105). In
addition, medium-chain triglyceride-enriched
formulas have not been shown to improve fat
absorption, energy storage, nitrogen retention
or growth (105).
Powdered and liquid infant formulas
(standard or pre-term)
Commercial liquid infant formulas are pro-
duced by a sterile process which is expensive.
Powdered infant formulas are not prepared by
a sterile process and, as a consequence, are not
sterile. Some unopened cans may be contami-
nated with Enterobacter sakazakii and Salmo-
nella. Keeping the reconstituted liquid formula
at room temperature for longer than 4 hours
is thought to multiply the amount of bacteria
already present. There have also been recent
US reports of outbreaks of nosocomial infec-
tions in pre-term neonates administered milk-
Box 1.3.5 Nutrient composition of nutrient enriched ‘post-discharge’ formulas
Concentration of constituents (units/L)
Term Nutrient enriched ‘post discharge’
Standard Farley’s premcare Nutriprem 2
Macronutrients
Energy, kJ/L (kcal/L) 2,840 (680) 3,010 (720) 3,000 (700)
Protein, g/L 14.5 18.5 18
Fat, g/L 38.2 39.6 38
Carbohydrate, g/L 69.6 72.4 70
Minerals
Calcium, mg/L 390 700 710
Phosphorus, mg/L 270 350 350
Sodium, mg/L 170 220 250
Chloride, mg/L 450 450 460
Potassium, mg/L 570 780 800
Iron, mg/L 6.5 6.5 6.5
Zinc, mg/L 3.4 6.0 6.0
Copper, µg/L 420 570 600
Manganese, ug/L 34 50 45
Iodine, µg/L 45 45 45
Vitamins
Vitamin A, µg/L 1000 1000 1000
Vitamin E, mg/L 4.8 15 15
Vitamin K, µg/L 27 60 60
Vitamin D, µg/L 10 13 12
Vitamin C, mg/L 69 150 160
Vitamin B
1
, µg/L 420 950 900
Vitamin B
2
, µg/L 550 1000 1000
Vitamin B
6
, µg/L 350 800 800
Vitamin B
12
, µg/L 1.4 2.0 2.0
Folate, µg/L 34 250 250
Biotin, µg/L 10 11 12
Panthothenic acid, mg/L 2.3 4.0 4.2
Osmolality, mOsmol/L 300 280 280
23 results
based powdered infant formulas (106–108).
Recently, a batch of Portagen infant formula
was found to be contaminated by Enterobacter
sakazakii. Administration of Portagen formula
led to the death of one infant (106). This is the
frst report of E. sakazakii infection associ-
ated with infant formula, prompting recall of
a commercial product in the US. Signifcantly,
the results of another investigation (the “Bel-
gium outbreak”) suggest that even low levels
of E. sakazakii in milk-based powdered infant
formula (i.e. within the 1994 Codex Alimen-
tarius limits for the presence of coliforms in
milk-based powdered infant formula) can lead
to development of infection (107).
An expert meeting convened by the Food
and Agriculture Organization of the United
Nations (FAO) and the World Health Organi-
zation (WHO) on E. sakazakii and other
microorganisms in powdered infant formula
(109) concluded that intrinsic contamination
of powdered infant formula with E. sakazakii
and Salmonella has been a cause of infection
and illness in infants, including severe dis-
ease which can lead to serious developmental
sequelae and death. No link has been estab-
lished between illness and other microorgan-
isms in powdered infant formula, although
such a link was considered plausible for other
Enterobacteriaceae. Infants at greatest risk
for E. sakazakii infection are neonates (frst
28 days), particularly pre-term infants, LBW
infants or immunocompromised infants. The
meeting did not identify a feasible method,
using current technology, to produce com-
mercially sterile powders or completely elimi-
nate the potential of contamination. Even low
levels of contamination of E. sakazakii in pow-
dered infant formula were considered to be a
risk factor, given the potential for multiplica-
tion during preparation and the time between
preparation and consumption of reconstituted
formula. Based on a preliminary risk assess-
ment, the inclusion of a step lethal for the bac-
teria at the point of preparation of the feed and
decreasing the time between preparation and
consumption effectively reduced the risk. A
combination of intervention measures had the
greatest impact. Recommendations included,
among others, that in situations where infants
are not breastfed, carers of high-risk infants
should be encouraged to use, whenever pos-
sible and feasible, commercially sterile liquid
formula or formula which has undergone an
effective decontamination procedure (e.g.
using boiling water to reconstitute and heat-
ing the reconstituted formula) at the point of
use (109).
1.4 Development of
feeding ability
neurOMuScular SYSteM
Term SGA infants have been described as hav-
ing the same developmental characteristics
as their AGA counterparts (110, 111). In con-
trast, distinct central and peripheral neurode-
velopmental milestones have been described
in pre-term infants. Taste develops at 12–15
weeks gestation, smell at about 20 weeks, and
hearing begins at approximately 20–24 weeks.
Prior to 28 weeks of gestation it is diffcult to
identify periods of wakefulness. Persistent
stimuli lead to eye opening and closing for
time periods measured principally in seconds
(112, 113). At approximately 28 weeks gesta-
tion, however, there is a distinct change in the
level of alertness (112, 114). At that time a gen-
tle shake will arouse the infant from apparent
sleep and will result in wakefulness for several
minutes. Spontaneous alerting also occasion-
ally occurs at this age. By 32 weeks, stimula-
tion is no longer necessary. The eyes are often
open and spontaneous roving eye movements
appear (112, 113). By 36 weeks increased alert-
ness can be observed readily and vigorous cry-
ing appears during wakefulness. By term, the
infant exhibits distinct periods of attention to
visual and auditory stimuli (112, 113, 115).
The early components of sucking appear to
occur in fetuses at about 7–8 weeks gestational
age (110, 116, 117). At 8 weeks gestation the
fetus will respond to touch around the mouth
area. Swallowing is present at around 11–16
weeks and sucking appears at 18–24 weeks
(116–118). The gag refex is evident at 25–27
weeks although organized oesophageal activ-
ity does not develop until about 32 weeks ges-
24 Optimal feeding Of lOw-birth-weight infants: technical review
tation and is not coordinated with swallowing
until about 33–34 weeks. By 33–34 weeks gesta-
tion, pre-term infants are also mature enough
to coordinate a swallow and breathe pattern.
The normal infant is then able to maintain a
concerted synchronous action for productive
oral feeding (116–118).
By 32–34 weeks the infant should be able
to attach, suck and extend the tongue appro-
priately and begin breastfeeding. As long as
the baby is able to keep the breast tissue in the
mouth the infant’s peristaltic tongue move-
ment can remove milk from the lactiferous
sinuses within the area of the areola (116, 118,
119). The rooting refex (the response shown
by a baby after the side of the cheek is touched
– the infant turning to the breast with the
mouth wide open) occurs around this time.
Maturation continues and coordinated and
effective use of the suck, swallow and breath-
ing refexes for nutritive purposes is achieved
fully by 35–37 weeks gestation (116, 120).
The infant is developmentally ready for
complementary feeding from 4 months of cor-
rected age. Phasic biting disappears between 3
and 4 months and rooting diminishes between
5 and 6 months. Stability of the trunk also
improves at this time and the infant begins to
be able to sit unsupported. Finger coordina-
tion develops by 6–7 months of age to permit
fnger-feeding. By 12 months of age, rotary
chewing is well established with controlled,
sustained biting, and most infants are capable
of spoon-feeding themselves (110, 121).
endOcrine and exOcrine
SYSteMS
Rate-limiting enzymes for gluconeogenesis
develop late in gestation (122). Gluconeogen-
esis is triggered hormonally after birth, but this
process is ineffective at meeting the glucose
needs for cerebral metabolism (123). Achieving
glucose homeostasis in the newborn infant is
dependent on exogenous sources. Enteral feed-
ing induces the gut endocrine response, which
mediates many metabolic and gastrointestinal
adaptive changes (124, 125). Basal and post-
prandial plasma concentrations of several hor-
mones (especially enteroglucagon, gastrin and
insulin) increase according to the quality and
type of feed (126). These surges are even more
marked in pre-term than term infants and occur
even when nutritionally insignifcant volumes
of less than 1 ml/kg/day are fed. Absorptive
capacity is also thought to increase rapidly on
feeding (126, 127). Premature babies, particu-
larly those with birth weights <1100 g, are at
risk of glucose intolerance (128). Two proposed
mechanisms include inappropriate secretion of
insulin by the pancreas and decreased sensitiv-
ity of the liver to the gluco-regulatory effect of
insulin (129). Alpha-glucosidases and lactase
are both required to digest lactose. The activ-
ity of alpha-glucosidases in the fetus reaches
at least 70% of the activity in adults at a ges-
tational age of about 26–34 weeks, whereas
lactase activity at that gestational age is only
30% of adult activity (130, 131). Although
theoretically lactose digestion should be lim-
ited, there is no evidence of clinical intolerance
among LBW infants. Pancreatic lipase secre-
tion and bile salt concentrations are also low in
comparison with the levels at term, but lingual
and gastric lipases are detectable in the fetus
from 26 weeks gestation and can assist in gas-
tric lipolysis (131, 132).
GaStrOinteStinal SYSteM
The gastrointestinal tract is anatomically com-
plete at 24 weeks gestation but is functionally
immature in both propulsive and absorptive
capacity. Gastric emptying is slower in pre-
term than term infants and fasting antral pres-
sure is signifcantly reduced (133, 134). Fetal
small bowel transit appears at 28 weeks gesta-
tion but peristalsis is poorly organized. Motor
activity in the gastrointestinal tract is random
up to about 30 weeks gestational age. Over the
next 5–6 weeks it becomes clustered phasic
and then prolonged phasic. Migrating motor
complexes appear near term (135). Combined
with high lower oesophageal sphincter pres-
sures, this immaturity may predispose the
immature infant to gastro-oesophageal refux
and result in feeding intolerance (136–139).
Large enteral intakes may also not be tolerated.
Gastric capacity is also limited in LBW infants
and gastric distension may interfere with pul-
25 results
monary function (133, 140). Little is known
about the morphological aspects of adaptation
in the immature human gut, but animals show
both hyperplasia and hypertrophy in response
to feeding and the milk of the young’s own
species may be especially effective (141).
2. nuTRITIOn
2.1 Human milk
Human milk is the recommended nutritional
source for full-term AGA infants – exclusively
for the frst 6 months of postnatal life and in
combination with complementary foods until
the infant reaches 2 years of age (142–144).
Extensive research, especially in recent years,
documents many advantages to infants,
mothers, families, and society from breast-
feeding and from use of human milk for infant
feeding (142–145).
The role of human milk for LBW infants is
reviewed here. Human milk may be provided
directly via breastfeeding, or as expressed
mother’s own milk, or as expressed donor-
pooled pre-term or term milk. Different clini-
cal outcomes are likely depending on whether
the mother’s own or donor human milk is used
and whether it has been pasteurized, frozen or
refrigerated. Impacts may also differ depend-
ing on whether the infants are fed human
milk soon after delivery or in later infancy.
The question of optimal duration of exclusive
breastfeeding for LBW infants also needs to be
addressed.
The following issues are reviewed below:
(1) Breastfeeding and mother’s own
expressed milk
(2) Donor human milk
(3) Optimal duration of exclusive breast-
feeding.
(1) BreaStFeedinG and MOther’S
Own exPreSSed Milk
results
Effects on mortality
No studies were located which examined the
impact of mother’s own milk on mortality
rates in LBW infants.
Effects on severe morbidity – infection
Five studies on the effect of feeding mother’s
own milk, compared with formula feeding,
on the risk of infection were located (level of
evidence LIII-2 or higher) and have been sum-
marized in Table 2.1.1 (146–150). Two of these
are RCTs conducted in India in the 1980s and
compared unsupplemented mother’s milk with
term infant formula (146, 147). A UK cohort
study compared unsupplemented mother’s
milk with pre-term infant formula (148), and
two US studies compared mother’s own milk
supplemented with multicomponent human
milk fortifer or pre-term infant formula (149,
150). These studies included LBW infants of
varying gestational age and birth weight. One
of the cohort studies from the US did not
adjust for confounding (150). There is a strik-
ing consistency in the results despite differ-
ences in study design, settings, participants
and comparison groups (see summary table
2.1.1). Feeding mother’s milk was found to be
protective against infection (systemic or local
infection, and necrotising enterocolitis) in all
the studies.
Effects on neurodevelopment
A number of early studies were located which
examined the impact of unsupplemented
mother’s own milk to formula milk on neu-
rodevelopmental outcomes in LBW infants
(151–155). Most of these studies were con-
ducted in pre-term infants. The largest of
them was a cohort study conducted by Lucas
et al in the UK (n=771) (154, 155). Lucas
et al followed infants to 8 years of age and
demonstrated an 8-point advantage in intel-
ligence quotient even after controlling for
mother’s education and social class. Variable
results were reported from the other smaller
cohort studies. A meta-analysis of all available
studies to 1996 indicated that after adjust-
26 Optimal feeding Of lOw-birth-weight infants: technical review
ment for appropriate key cofactors, unsupple-
mented breastfeeding, compared to formula
milk feeding, was associated with signifcantly
higher intelligence quotient scores (5.18 points
higher; 95%CI: 3.59, 6.77) in LBW infants
(156) (see summary table 2.1.2).
Four studies published after the meta-anal-
ysis are also noteworthy. A recent large multi-
centre trial from Chile, the UK, and the US (n
= 463 preterm infants <33 weeks gestational
age) did not fnd a signifcant difference in IQ
scores between the group predominantly fed
supplemented human milk and the group pre-
dominantly fed formula until term chrono-
logical age (157). However, there was a positive
association between the duration of feeding
with supplemented mother’s own milk and
the Bayley Mental Index at 12 months chrono-
logical age (P=0.032), after adjusting for con-
founding variables of home environment and
maternal intelligence. In a study conducted in
term SGA infants, the duration of EBF had a
signifcant impact on cognitive development
without compromising growth (153). Another
study, which assessed 137 infants born SGA at
12 months of age, found that breastfed infants
had higher motor development scores whereas
there was no difference in other aspects of
development (158). A recent study reported
substantial benefts of breastfeeding for neu-
rodevelopment in children born SGA. Infants
of mothers who chose to breastfeed had sig-
nifcantly higher scores for mental develop-
ment (adjusted mean difference (MD) 8.2,
95%CI 5.0, 11.4) and psychomotor develop-
ment (adjusted MD 5.8, 95%CI 2.8, 8.7) at 24
months of age, compared with infants whose
mothers chose to formula feed (159) (see sum-
mary table 2.1.2).
Effects on malnutrition
A number of studies were located which
reported slower growth, in both weight and
length, in pre-term infants <32 weeks gesta-
tion who were fed unsupplemented breast-
milk before hospital discharge, compared to
those who were formula fed (150, 157). How-
ever, only one study reporting the impacts of
mother’s own milk on anthropometric stand-
ard deviation scores and malnutrition was
located. Lucas et al examined the impacts of
breastfeeding, compared to formula milk, in
post-discharge pre-term infants (160). In this
study all breastfed infants had lower standard
deviation scores than formula-fed infants at 9
months. However, only the difference in length
was statistically signifcant and no score was
below –2 standard deviation scores.
In term SGA infants, a recent UK cohort
study (n=474) reported no signifcant dif-
ferences in mean weight, length and head
circumference in breastfed compared to for-
mula-fed infants at 18 months of chronologi-
cal age (161).
Effects on other important outcomes
Specifc nutrient defciencies in infants fed
unsupplemented mother’s own milk from
birth have also been described in many case
series from the 1960s and 1970s. Iwai et al and
James and Combes reported that 80–90% of
infants who weighed less than 2500 g at birth,
fed unsupplemented human milk, developed
iron defciency anaemia (haemoglobin con-
centration <11 g/dl) by 6 months of age (162,
163). Widdershoven et al reported high rates
of clinical vitamin K defciency (haemorrhagic
disease of the newborn) in term and pre-term
infants of less than 36 weeks gestation, who
were fed unsupplemented mother’s own milk
(164). Before the 1990s, a high percentage of
infants, especially those of birth weight <1500
g, fed unsupplemented maternal milk were
reported with osteopaenia, fractures and rick-
ets before hospital discharge (165–168). Other
case series have indicated that defciencies of
zinc, vitamin A and vitamin D may develop
in the exclusively breastfed LBW infant (169–
173). Infants who weigh less than 1500 g at
birth are especially at risk.
conclusions and implications
Most of the fndings of this section are based on
observational studies, mainly from developed
countries. It is important to note that even the
strong effect in these observational studies
may not imply causality because of the pos-
sibility of selection and measurement biases,
27 results
and confounding by factors that were not
included in the multivariate analyses. Overall,
the above fndings illustrate the importance of
providing mother’s own breastmilk to all LBW
infants.
Infants <32 weeks gestation
(or birth weights <1500 g if gestation
is not available)
In this group of LBW infants, there is strong
and consistent evidence that feeding mother’s
own milk is associated with a lower incidence
of infection, including necrotising entero-
colitis. There is also clear evidence that this
feeding modality is associated with improved
neurodevelopmental outcome. Feeding unsup-
plemented mother’s own milk has been shown
to result in slower ponderal and linear growth,
but the implications of this slower growth are
unclear and there is not enough evidence to
assess if it increased the risk of malnutrition.
Also, feeding unsupplemented mother’s own
milk may result in defciencies of some micro-
nutrients. Breastmilk feeding should be pre-
ferred over formula feeding because of clear
benefts related to infection and neurodevel-
opment. Supplementation of breastmilk with
macronutrients and micronutrients is required
for this group of LBW infants.
Infants 32–36 weeks gestation
(or birth weights 1500–2000 g if
gestation is not available)
The conclusions for this group of LBW infants
are similar to those for infants <32 weeks
gestation with regard to infection and neu-
rodevelopment. There is no clear evidence of
adverse effects of feeding mother’s own milk
on growth. However, feeding only mother’s
own milk may result in defciencies of some
micronutrients. Breastmilk feeding should
be preferred over formula feeding because of
clear benefts related to infection and neu-
rodevelopment. Supplementation with some
micronutrients is required for this group of
LBW infants.
Term LBW infants (or birth weights
>2000 g if gestation is not available)
There is paucity of data on most outcomes
in this subgroup of LBW infants. The avail-
able data suggest that the benefts of feeding
mother’s milk, as related to infection and neu-
rodevelopment, are similar to that of pre-term
infants. There seems to be no adverse effect of
this modality of feeding on growth. Breastmilk
feeding should therefore be preferred over
formula feeding because of benefts related
to infection and neurodevelopment. Supple-
mentation with some micronutrients may be
required for this group of LBW infants.
Although most of the studies included in
this section were from developed countries, the
few available studies from developing country
settings showed similar results. Breastfeeding
and feeding mother’s expressed breastmilk is
likely to have an even greater impact on infec-
tions in developing countries than the impact
seen in the reviewed studies because of higher
incidence of infections in these settings. There
are no reasons to believe that the benefts of
breastfeeding or feeding mother’s expressed
breastmilk on neurodevelopment would be
lower in developing countries than those
found in this review.
recommendations
Policy statements from WHO, UNICEF and
other international and national organizations
confrm the importance of providing mother’s
own milk to pre-term and SGA infants. Stand-
ard practice in neonatal units is to promote
mother’s own milk as the feed of choice for all
LBW infants. The fndings of this review sup-
port this recommendation.
28 Optimal feeding Of lOw-birth-weight infants: technical review
SuMMARy TABLE 2.1.1
Effects of mother’s own milk compared with formula feeding on infection or necrotising enterocolitis in LBW infants
Study, Design Approximate proportion of
(Level of Inclusion participants with gestation age
a
outcome Effect measure
evidence) criteria <32 wk 32–36 wk ≥37 wk Comparison groups measure [95% CI]
Narayanan Birth weight 10% 57% 33% Unsupplemented expressed Systemic or RR 0.44
et al (146) <2500 g, at high breastmilk during day and local infection [0.24, 0.82]
RCT (LII) risk of infection standard infant formula during from birth to
night (n=32) compared with hospital
standard infant formula only discharge
(n=38)
Narayanan Birth weight 8% 64% 24% 10 ml colostrum 3 times a Systemic or RR 0.39
et al (147) <2500 g, at high day until 72 hours of age along local infection [0.19, 0.81]
RCT (LII) risk of infection with standard infant formula from birth to
(n=33) compared with hospital
standard infant formula only discharge
(n=33)
Lucas & Cole Birth weight 66% 34% None Unsupplemented expressed Necrotising Adjusted
b

(148) <1850 g breast milk only (n=253) enterocolitis OR 0.09
Cohort (LIII-2) compared with standard or from birth to [0.03 to 0.33]
pre-term formula only hospital
(n=236) discharge
Formula plus breastmilk Necrotising Adjusted
b

(n=437) compared with enterocolitis OR 0.29
standard or pre-term formula from birth to [0.12 to 0.67]
only (n=236) hospital
discharge
Hylander et Pre-term infants 95% 5% None Fortifed expressed breast milk Systemic or Adjusted
c

al (149) with birth weight along with pre-term formula local infection OR 0.43
Cohort (LIII-2) <1500g (n=123) compared with from start of [0.23 to 0.81]
pre-term formula only (n=89) enteral feeding
to hospital
discharge
Schanler et al 26–30 wk 100% None None Predominantly fed fortifed Late onset RR 0.56
(150) gestation, expressed breastmilk (n=62) sepsis or [0.36 to 0.89]
Cohort (LIII-2) postnatal age compared with pre-term necrotising
≤96 hours formula only (n=46) enterocolitis
a
If gestational age was not available in the publication, infants with birth weight <1500 g are assumed to be <32 wk gestation, those with 1501–2000
g to be 32–36 wk gestation, and those with 2001–2500 g to have a gestation of 37 weeks or more.
b
Adjusted for length of gestation, birth weight, sex, birth asphyxia, previous blood transfusions, use of theophylline and frusemide, polycythaemia, res-
piratory disease, duration of umbilical artery catheterization, age at frst enteral feed, rate of progression of early feed volumes, and maternal steroid
treatment.
c
Adjusted for gestational age, 5-minute APGAR score, mechanical ventilation and days without enteral feedings.
29 results
(2) dOnOr huMan Milk
results
The feeding options for LBW infants, par-
ticularly when breastfeeding is not possible,
include donor milk and artifcial infant for-
mula. To make appropriate choices, it is impor-
tant to consider the relative advantages and
disadvantages of these milks. The results of
studies comparing the effect of donor human
milk with that of artifcial infant formula on
important outcomes are summarized below.
Effects on mortality
No studies were located which compared the
impact of donor human milk to formula milk
on mortality rates in LBW infants.
SuMMARy TABLE 2.1.2
Effects of mother’s own milk compared with formula feeding on neurodevelopment in LBW infants
Study, Design Approximate proportion of
(Level of Inclusion participants with gestation age
a
Comparison Effect measure
evidence) criteria <32 wk 32–36 wk ≥37 wk outcome measure groups [95% CI]
Anderson et 3 studies, one 25% 50% 25% Breastfed (n=1254) Cognitive Adjusted
b
al (156) each with: birth compared with formula-fed development difference in
Meta-analysis weight <1850 g, (n=751) scores mean scores
of cohort 500–1500 g and 5.18 [3.59,
studies (LIII-2) <2537 g 6.77]
Rao et al (153) Term SGA infants 0 0 100% Exclusively breastfed for Total IQ score Adjusted
c
Cohort (LIII-2) >12 wk (n=81) compared on Wechler difference in
with exclusively breastfed for Preschool and mean scores
≤12 wk (n=139) Primary Scales 5.0 [0.7 to 9.3]
of Intelligence
Morley et al Term SGA infants 0 0 100% Mother chose to breastfeed Bayley mental Adjusted
d
(159) (n=137) compared with development difference in
Cohort (LIII-2) mother chose to formula score at 18 mean scores
feed (n=235) months age 8.2 [5.0 to 11.4]
Bayley Adjusted
d
psychomotor difference in
development mean scores
score at 18 5.8 [2.8 to 8.7]
months age
a
If gestational age was not available in the publication, infants with birth weight <1500 g are assumed to be <32 wk gestation, those weighing
1501–2000 g to be 32–36 wk gestation, and those weighing 2001–2500 g to have a gestation of 37 weeks or more.
b
Results included from studies that adjusted for at least 5 of the following variables: duration of breastfeeding, sex, maternal smoking history, mater-
nal age, maternal intelligence, maternal education, maternal training, paternal education, race or ethnicity, socioeconomic status, family size, birth
order, birth weight, gestational age, and childhood experiences.
c
Adjusted for site of enrolment, maternal education, maternal IQ, maternal smoking, admission to a neonatal care unit, kindergarten attendance,
gender and asymmetric intrauterine growth retardation.
d
Adjusted for child’s gender and birth order, maternal age, education score, social class, maternal head circumference, and height and whether mother
smoked during pregnancy.
Effects on severe morbidity – infection
A meta-analysis was located of all available
RCTs till the year 2003, which examined the
impacts of donor human milk and formula
milk on rates of necrotising enterocolitis in
pre-term infants <1850 g (Level I evidence)
(148, 174–177). All four trials, conducted in
developed countries in the 1980s and early
1990s, compared infants who were fed unsup-
plemented drip donor milk with those fed
standard or calorie-enriched formula; the
milk feed comprised the infant’s sole diet for
at least 1 month during the initial phases of
hospital admission.
None of the individual trials found any
statistically signifcant results, but the point
estimates in 3 of the 4 trials were in the direc-
30 Optimal feeding Of lOw-birth-weight infants: technical review
tion of a lower risk of necrotising enterocoli-
tis in the donor milk group (148, 175, 176).
However, the meta-analysis demonstrated a
borderline statistically signifcant difference
in the incidence of possible or confrmed
necrotising enterocolitis (174). A more recent
RCT in VLBW infants also reported no differ-
ence between infants provided with pre-term
formula and those receiving supplemented
expressed donor milk on rates of serious infec-
tion and necrotising enterocolitis (178) (see
summary Table 2.1.3).
Effects on neurodevelopment
Two RCTs were located which examined the
impacts of donor human milk, compared
to pre-term formula, on neurodevelopmen-
tal outcomes; these are summarized in Table
2.1.4 (Level II evidence) (16, 177). In both
trials, infants were randomized to receive
unsupplemented drip donor term milk or
calorie-enriched pre-term formula from birth
until hospital discharge. Tyson et al measured
Brazelton Neonatal Behavioural Assessment
Scales at 37 weeks gestational age and reported
that the group of infants who received stand-
ard infant formula milk had greater mean
scores than the infants who received donor
milk (177). However, Lucas et al examined
neurodevelopmental outcomes at 18 months
chronological age and did not fnd any statis-
tically signifcant differences in developmen-
tal quotients in the group of infants allocated
to receive standard infant formula compared
with donor term human milk, though the
confdence intervals of the effect sizes were
large (see summary Table 2.1.4) (16).
In a non-random comparison across two
RCTs, Lucas et al reported that infants fed
donor milk had signifcantly higher motor
development scores at 18 months but no sig-
nifcant difference in mental development
scores (see summary Table 2.1.4).
Effects on malnutrition
A number of RCTs which randomized infants
≤1850 g to receive unsupplemented term
donor milk before hospital discharge or infant
formula (Level II evidence) were located (176,
178–182). All trials reported that feeding with
formula milk was associated with a statisti-
cally signifcant increase in at least one growth
parameter (mean gain in weight, length or
head circumference) by the time of hospital
discharge, compared with unsupplemented
donor drip milk. Expressed supplemented
donor milk also had signifcantly lower growth
rates compared with both term and pre-term
infant formula. However, no longer-term
impacts on growth parameters were reported
in the one trial that followed infants to 7½–8
years (182). No studies were located which
examined the impacts on standard deviation
scores or rates of malnutrition.
Effects on other important outcomes
Singhal et al recently reported on adult onset
chronic disease outcomes in a subsample of the
original cohort of pre-term infants with birth
weights <1850 g (n=130) (Level II evidence)
(24, 25, 183). Blood pressure measurements
were signifcantly lower in 16-year-old males
who had received donor milk in their frst
month of life than those given standard infant
formula. In addition, fasting proinsulin con-
centrations indicative of a prodromal phase of
diabetes mellitus were higher in the children
given standard infant formula than in those
given donor human milk (mean difference
20·6% [95%CI 5· 0 to 36·3]). Lucas and Mor-
ley did not, however, fnd a difference in blood
pressure in the study groups at an earlier age
(8–9 years) in the same cohort (184). No other
studies were located in LBW infants which
examined these factors.
Only Lucas et al examined the impacts of
donor compared to formula milk on bone min-
eralization in pre-term infants who weighed
<1850 g at birth (Level II evidence) (185, 186).
At 8–12 years, no signifcant differences in
anthropometry, bone mineral calcium, bone
mineral density and osteocalcin were detected
in the drip milk or formula-fed infants. How-
ever, no clinical data on fractures or clinical
evidence of rickets were reported.
Two trials in infants weighing <1600 g at
birth examined the impacts of unsupple-
mented term donor or formula milk on feed
3T results
intolerance (176, 177). Both trials had small
sample sizes and small numbers of actual
events and reported no signifcant differences
between the feeding groups. No statistically
signifcant differences were found even when
these data were combined in a meta-analysis
(Level I evidence) (18) (see summary Table
2.1.5).
conclusions and implications
Available data from meta-analyses and RCTs
indicate that feeding with donor human milk
rather than pre-term or standard infant for-
mula may reduce the incidence of necrotising
enterocolitis in pre-term infants. There are
insuffcient data to conclude if there are neu-
rodevelopmental advantages associated with
donor human milk compared with pre-term
formula, although there is some evidence that
donor milk is better than standard infant for-
mula. Growth was slower in the short term
in the infants who were fed donor milk than
those fed formula. There are insuffcient data
to assess the effects on long-term growth
outcomes or feed intolerance in small LBW
infants.
Most studies comparing donor human milk
with artifcial formula milk that were identi-
fed had design features that limit their current
clinical signifcance. The trials were small and
unblinded. Most of these studies used donor
drip milk, which is predominantly fore milk
and has a lower calorie density than hind milk.
Further, all but one of the studies was initiated
over 20 years ago. Since then, there have been
signifcant changes in the management of pre-
term infants, including availability of formula
milk adapted for pre-term infants and nutri-
ent fortifers for human milk. No evidence
relating to micronutrient defciencies was
located. Overall, the available evidence sug-
gests that providing LBW infants with donor
milk rather than formula, particularly stand-
ard infant formula, may result in some advan-
tages to the infant.
Infants <32 weeks gestation
(or birth weights <1500 g if gestation
is not available)
The majority of infants included in the stud-
ies were in this group of LBW infants and the
above results apply to them. Although there is
some indication of a lower incidence of necro-
tising enterocolitis in infants fed donor human
milk, there is insuffcient evidence to conclude
whether there are any neurodevelopmental
advantages. Growth in the neonatal period is
slower in the short term in infants fed donor
human milk compared with formula milk, but
there are insuffcient data to assess the effects
on long-term growth outcomes.
Infants 32–36 weeks gestation
(or birth weights 1500–2000 g if
gestation is not available)
This group of LBW infants accounted for a
small proportion of the subjects in the identi-
fed studies. In the absence of more evidence, it
can be assumed that the fndings in this group
were similar to those in infants <32 weeks ges-
tation.
Term LBW infants (or birth weights
>2000 g if gestation is not available)
There were no data on outcomes in this sub-
group of LBW infants.
Almost all studies included in this sec-
tion were conducted in developed countries.
Although the results are unlikely to be dif-
ferent in developing country settings, greater
efforts would be required in developing coun-
tries to establish and maintain donor milk
banks according to international standards.
This may not be feasible in primary healthcare
settings and in small hospitals in developing
countries.
recommendations
Many international and national organizations
strongly support the provision of pasteurized
donor milk to LBW infants. In contrast, many
developed country neonatal units preferen-
tially provide artifcial infant formula rather
than donor human milk to LBW infants.
32 Optimal feeding Of lOw-birth-weight infants: technical review
Donor human milk may be a feasible option in
many developing countries and should be con-
sidered as an important alternative to artifcial
infant formula. Feasibility of providing donor
human milk is infuenced by the amount that
can be expressed by mothers and the avail-
SuMMARy TABLE 2.1.3
Effects of donor human milk compared with formula feeding on infection or necrotising enterocolitis
in LBW infants
Study, Design Approximate proportion of
(Level of Inclusion participants with gestation age
a
outcome Effect measure
evidence) criteria <32 wk 32–36 wk ≥37 wk Comparison groups measure [95% CI]
McGuire & Birth weight 65% 35% None Unsupplemented term or Possible RR 0.34
Anthony (174) <1850 g. pre-term drip breastmilk only necrotising [0.12, 0.99]
Meta-analysis Allocated to milk (n=167) compared with enterocolitis
of RCTs (LI) feeds as sole diet standard or pre-term infant
formula (n=176) Confrmed RR 0.25
necrotising [0.06, 0.98]
enterocolitis
Schanler et al Gestation <30 100% None None If supply of own mother’s milk Septicaemia OR 1.04
(178) weeks. Mothers was insuffcient, infants were [0.53, 2.05]
RCT (LII) who intended to provided with at least
breastfeed. 50 ml/kg of supplemented Confrmed RR 0.53
pasteurized donor milk necrotising [0.14, 1.82]
(n=81) compared with pre- enterocolitis
term formula (n=92) from
birth to day 90.
a
If gestational age was not available in the publication, infants with birth weight <1500 g are assumed to be <32 wk gestation, those weighing
1501–2000 g to be 32–36 wk gestation and those weighing 2001–2500 g to have a gestation of 37 weeks or more
ability of donor banks. Equipment and train-
ing for heat treatment and milk banking may
be diffcult to obtain in some countries. The
fndings from this review support these rec-
ommendations.
33 results
SuMMARy TABLE 2.1.4
Effects of donor human milk compared with formula feeding on neurodevelopment in LBW infants
Study, Design Approximate proportion of
(Level of Inclusion participants with gestation age
a
Effect measure
evidence) criteria <32 wk 32–36 wk ≥37 wk Comparison groups outcome measure [95% CI]
Lucas et al Birth weight 60% 40% None Unsupplemented term Bayley psychomotor WMD 1.20
(16) <1850 g, received drip breast milk development index [-4.4, 6.8]
RCT (LII) feed as sole diet (n=62) compared score at 18 months
with pre-term formula
(n=52) Bayley mental WMD 0.5
development index [-6.2, 7.1]
score at 18 months
Tyson et al Birth weight 100% None None Unsupplemented term Brazelton neonatal WMD -2.50
(177) <1500 g, received drip breast milk behavioural [-3.65, -1.35]
RCT (LII) feed as sole diet (n=34) compared assessment scale
with pre-term formula (response to inanimate
(n=42) objects) at 37 weeks
gestational age
Brazelton neonatal WMD -0.80
behavioural assess- [-1.34, -0.26]
ment scale (response
to auditory and visual
stimuli) at 37 weeks
gestational age
Lucas et al Birth weight 70% 30% None Standard infant Bayley psychomotor WMD 8.8
(16) <1850 g, received formula only development index [3.3, 14.3]
Cohort (LIII-2) feed as sole diet (n=55) compared score at 18 months
non-random with unsupplemented
comparison term drip breast milk Bayley mental WMD 2.1
within two only (n=62) development index [-4.4, 8.7]
RCTs score at 18 months
a
If gestational age was not available in the publication, infants with birth weight <1500 g are assumed to be <32 wk gestation, those weighing
1501–2000 g to be 32–36 wk gestation, and those weighing 2001–2500 g to have a gestation of 37 weeks or more.
SuMMARy TABLE 2.1.5
Effects of donor human milk compared with formula feeding on feed tolerance in LBW infants
Study, Design Approximate proportion of
(Level of Inclusion participants with gestation age
a
outcome Effect measure
evidence) criteria <32 wk 32–36 wk ≥37 wk Comparison groups measure [95% CI]
Henderson et Birth weight 95% 5% None Unsupplemented term drip Feed RR 0.30
al (18) <1600 g, received breast milk (n=58) compared intolerance [0.07, 1.37]
Meta-analysis feed as sole diet with standard infant formula by hospital
of RCTs (LI) (n = 70) discharge
a
If gestational age was not available in the publication, infants with birth weight <1500 g are assumed to be <32 wk gestation, those weighing
1501–2000 g to be 32–36 wk gestation, and those weighing 2001–2500 g to have a gestation of 37 weeks or more.
34 Optimal feeding Of lOw-birth-weight infants: technical review
(3) OPtiMal duratiOn OF
excluSive BreaStFeedinG
results
Exclusive breastfeeding (EBF) is now recom-
mended for all infants for the frst 6 months of
life. A systematic review on the optimal dura-
tion of exclusive breastfeeding (145) cautioned
that further research was required to rule out
small adverse effects on the risk of malnutri-
tion, including micronutrient defciencies,
especially in susceptible infants. We summa-
rize here the available evidence for optimal
duration of EBF in LBW infants, including
a few papers published after the systematic
review.
Effects on mortality and serious
morbidities
No studies were located which directly exam-
ined the impact of EBF duration on mortality
or serious morbidity in LBW infants. Bhandari
et al evaluated the effect of community-based
promotion of EBF for the frst 6 months of
life on diarrhoeal illness and growth in a
rural population in Haryana, India (187). In
a subgroup analysis, they examined the effect
of EBF promotion among LBW infants. The
intervention resulted in a substantially higher
proportion of LBW infants exclusively breast-
fed at 3 months (79% and 40% in the interven-
tion and control groups, respectively) and in
the sixth month (41% and 4% in the interven-
tion and control groups, respectively). At the
6-month visit, the prevalence of diarrhoea in
the previous 7 days was not signifcantly lower
in the intervention compared with the con-
trol group (OR 0.88, 95%CI 0.72 to 0.99). The
proportion of children who had an episode of
diarrhoea in the previous 3 months for which
treatment was sought outside home was also
not signifcantly different between the groups
(OR 0.73, 95%CI 0.41 to 1.40) (N. Bhandari,
unpublished data 2005). However, these effect
sizes were similar to those reported previously
for all enrolled infants, and the lack of signif-
cance for the LBW subgroup could have been
due to insuffcient statistical power.
Effects on neurodevelopment
Only one study which evaluated the neurode-
velopmental impacts of EBF duration in LBW
infants was located and is summarized in Table
2.1.6 (Level II evidence) (188). This study was
one of a series of RCTs conducted in Hondu-
ras. In this trial, Dewey et al randomized term
exclusively breastfed SGA infants to receive
either complementary foods at 4 months of
age while continuing to breastfeed at the usual
frequency; or to continue EBF until 6 months
of age and then receive complementary foods.
The complementary foods were hygienically
prepared and provided twice daily. This study
reported no signifcant differences in motor
development at 12 months of chronologi-
cal age. However, neither the parents nor the
feldworkers were blinded to the group assign-
ment, neurodevelopmental outcomes were
limited to parental reports and no validation
was attempted. It is also likely that this study
was signifcantly underpowered.
Effects on malnutrition
Impacts of EBF duration on growth were
examined in three trials (Level II evidence)
(187, 189, 190), which are summarized in Table
2.1.7.
The trial in term SGA infants by Dewey et
al and subgroup analysis of LBW infants in
the trial by Bhandari et al are described above
(187, 189). Marriott et al randomized pre-term
infants in the UK to two groups: one group
introduced solid foods at 2.8 months while con-
tinuing to breastfeed at the usual frequency; the
other continued breastfeeding until 5 months
chronological age and then introduced solid
foods (190). However, this was a multifaceted
intervention. The early weaning group were
also provided with instructions on how to feed
their infants a high protein and high carbohy-
drate solid food diet. The late weaning group
was advised to feed their infants according to
standard UK recommendations. All infants
in the study were provided with supplemen-
tal iron and vitamins and were followed until
12 months of chronological age. Investigators,
but not the participants, were blinded to the
allocations.
35 results
Dewey et al reported no signifcant differ-
ences in the impact of EBF up to 4 months
compared to 6 months on change in weight,
length, and head circumference till 6 months
of age, even in the subgroup of term SGA
infants whose mothers had a low body mass
index (189). Marriot reported a signifcantly
greater rate of increase in length in the group
provided with solid foods at 2.8 months rather
than 5 months, but no difference in weight or
head circumference (190). Infants who com-
menced solid foods at 2.8 months had slightly
higher 12-month mean length z scores, com-
pared to the infants who commenced solid
foods at 5 months. No signifcant differences
in head circumference or weight-for-age z
scores at 12 months were reported. Bhandari
et al reported no signifcant differences in
mean weight, mean length and the proportion
of wasted or stunted infants at 6 months of
age (187). The confdence intervals were fairly
narrow and rule out large differences between
the study groups. However, while interpret-
ing these results it should be considered that
not all LBW infants in the intervention group
were exclusively breastfed until 6 months of
age (79% at 3 months and 41% at 6 months).
Effects on other important outcomes
Two RCTs were located which examined the
impact of EBF duration on rates of iron-def-
ciency anaemia (Level II evidence) (189–191).
These trials are described above and summa-
rized in Table 2.1.8. Marriott et al reported
that pre-term infants who commenced a high
protein, high carbohydrate diet at 2.8 months
had slightly higher haemoglobin levels com-
pared to the infants who commenced stand-
ard solid foods at 5 months (190). In contrast,
Dewey et al detected no signifcant differences
in mean haemoglobin, mean haematocrit con-
centrations or rates of anaemia at 6 months in
term SGA infants fed complementary foods at
4 months versus 6 months (189). However, it
is unclear if this analysis was an a priori pre-
specifed hypothesis and if the sample size
was truly adequate to detect a signifcant dif-
ference. In a recent re-analysis of the Hondu-
ras trial, Dewey et al reported a signifcant
interaction between the intervention group
allocation (EBF or solid foods) and iron sup-
plementation during 4–6 months (based on
haemoglobin status at baseline, i.e. 4 months
of age) (191). In the subgroup of infants who
received iron supplements, EBF infants had
signifcantly higher mean haemoglobin levels.
On the other hand, in the subgroup of infants
who did not receive iron supplements, EBF
infants had signifcantly lower mean haemo-
globin levels. Considering that infants given
iron supplements did not beneft from com-
plementary foods at 4–6 months, the authors
concluded that EBF for 6 months (with iron
supplementation) can be recommended for
term LBW infants.
conclusions and implications
There are limited data on the optimal dura-
tion of EBF in LBW infants. The three RCTs
identifed did not measure the effect of EBF
duration on mortality and morbidity and only
one trial reported the effects on neurodevelop-
ment. The sample sizes of two of these stud-
ies were small. Contrary to other issues, most
studies were conducted in term, SGA infants
in developing country settings.
Infants <32 weeks gestation
(or birth weights <1500 g if gestation
is not available)
In this group of LBW infants, the data from
the one available trial from the UK suggested
that early supplementation of breastfeeding (at
about 3 months of age) with a high calorie diet
may result in marginally higher length-for-age
z scores and haemoglobin levels. No data are
available for other key outcomes. Overall there
is insuffcient evidence to recommend a spe-
cifc EBF duration in these infants.
Infants 32–36 weeks gestation
(or birth weights 1500–2000 g if
gestation is not available)
The conclusions for this group of LBW infants
are similar to those <32 weeks gestation with
regard to growth and haemoglobin levels. No
data are available for other key outcomes.
36 Optimal feeding Of lOw-birth-weight infants: technical review
Overall, there is insuffcient evidence to rec-
ommend a specifc EBF duration in these
infants.
Term LBW infants (or birth weights
>2000 g if gestation is not available)
In this group of LBW infants, the available evi-
dence from two trials suggested that EBF to 6
months, compared to 4 months, had no del-
eterious impact on neurodevelopment, growth
or haemoglobin levels (with iron supplemen-
tation). Although there is still insuffcient
evidence to draw frm conclusions, EBF for 6
months for term LBW infants seems to be safe
SuMMARy TABLE 2.1.6
Effect of exclusive breastfeeding (EBF) duration on neurodevelopment in LBW infants
Study, Design Approximate proportion of
(Level of Inclusion participants with gestation age
a
Effect measure
evidence) criteria <32 wk 32–36 wk ≥37 wk Comparison groups outcome measure [95% CI]
Dewey et al SGA term infants None None 100% EBF until 6 months Motor development
(188) with birth weight (n=56) compared as assessed by parent
RCT 1500–2400 g. with EBF until 4 (1 month recall)
(LII) months (n=52).
Subgroup – Age (months) MD
b
-0.60
analysis when able to crawl [-1.30, 0.1]
– Age (months) MD
b
-0.60
when able to sit [-1.22, 0.02]
from lying position
– % able to walk by Adjusted
b
12 months RR 0.68
[0.32, 1.44]
a
If gestational age was not available in the publication, infants with birth weight <1500 g are assumed to be <32 wk gestation, those weighing
1501–2000 g to be 32–36 wk gestation, and those weighing 2001–2500 g to have a gestation of 37 weeks or more.
b
Adjusted for birth weight, weight gain from 0-6 months and months of reported prenatal iron supplementation.
and could be associated with lower morbidity.
Although the available data are limited,
most of the studies were conducted in devel-
oping country settings; the fndings are there-
fore directly applicable to those settings.
recommendations
No specifc recommendations for LBW infants
from expert groups were located. Standard
practice in neonatal units is to recommend
EBF with supplemental vitamins and minerals
for all LBW infants until 6 months chronolog-
ical age. This review supports these recom-
mendations.
37 results
SuMMARy TABLE 2.1.7
Effect of exclusive breastfeeding (EBF) duration on growth outcomes in LBW infants
Study, Design Approximate proportion of
(Level of Inclusion participants with gestation age
a
outcome Effect measure
evidence) criteria <32 wk 32–36 wk ≥37 wk Comparison groups measure [95% CI]
Marriot et al <37 weeks 50% 50% None Any milk feeding (breast or Length WMD -0.3
(190) gestation and formula) until 5 months standard [-0.7, -0.2]
RCT (LII) <2200 g at birth when standard weaning deviation
foods were introduced scores at
(n=29) compared 12 months
with any milk feeding corrected age
(breast or formula) until
2.8 months when high calorie Weight WMD -0.1
weaning foods were standard [-0.3, 0.2]
introduced (n=36) deviation
scores at
12 months
corrected age
Head circum- WMD 0.0
ference [-0.2, 0.2]
standard
deviation scores
at 12 months
corrected age
Bhandari et al Subgroup of LBW <1% 15% 85% Subgroup of LBW infants in: Adjusted
b
MD
(187) infants (<2500 g Intervention group (community Weight (kg) -0.02
Cluster RCT at birth) promotion of EBF for 6 mo) at 6 mo [-0.12, 0.08]
(LII) [n=159] compared with Length (cm) -0.20
Subgroup control group [n=124] at 6 mo [-0.66, 0.25]
analysis
Adjusted
b
difference in
proportions
% stunted 9% (-2% to
20%)
% wasted -2% (-6% to
1%)
[EBF rates at 3 mo:
Intervention: 79%,
Control: 40% (P<0.0001)
EBF rates at 6 mo:
Intervention: 41%,
Control: 4% (P<0.0001)]
a
If gestational age was not available in the publication, infants with birth weight <1500 g are assumed to be <32 wk gestation, those weighing
1501–2000 g to be 32–36 wk gestation, and those weighing 2001–2500 g to have a gestation of 37 weeks or more.
b
Adjusted for cluster randomization and mother working outside home.
38 Optimal feeding Of lOw-birth-weight infants: technical review
SuMMARy TABLE 2.1.8
Effect of exclusive breastfeeding (EBF) duration on iron defciency anaemia in LBW infants
Study, Design Approximate proportion of
(Level of Inclusion participants with gestation age
a
Effect measure
evidence) criteria <32 wk 32–36 wk ≥37 wk Comparison groups outcome measure [95% CI]
Dewey et al SGA term infants None None 100% EBF until 6 months Proportion of infants Adjusted
(189) birth weight (n=8) compared with with haemoglobin difference in
Sub analysis 1500–2400 g, EBF until 4 months <103 g/L at 6 months proportions
b
of RCT EBF until (n=20) 2% [-39%,
(LIII-1) 4 months 42%]
Proportion of infants 0% [-41%,
with haematocrit 41%]
<0.33 at 6 months
Proportion of infants 31% [-6%,
with ferritin <12 µg/L 68%]
at 6 months
Dewey et al SGA term infants None None 100% Among infants who
(191) birth weight received iron supple-
RCT (LII) 1500–2400 g, mentation from
Subgroup EBF until 4–6 mo:
analysis 4 months EBF until 6 mo (n=10) Haemoglobin (g/L) MD 6.8 g/L
compared with solid at 6 months [0.1, 13.5]
foods group (n=14) chronological age
Among infants who
did not receive iron
supplementation
from 4–6 mo:
EBF until 6 mo (n=47) Haemoglobin (g/L) MD -5.1 g/L
compared with solid at 6 months [-8.1, -2.1]
foods group (n=45) chronological age
Marriot et al <37 weeks 50% 50% None Any milk feeding Haemoglobin (g/L) MD -6
(190) gestation and (breast or formula) at 6 months [-10.63, -1.37]
RCT (LII) <2200 g at birth until 5 months when corrected age
standard weaning
foods were introduced Serum ferritin MD -1.5
(n=29) compared (ng/ml) at 6 months [-2.93, -0.07]
with any milk feeding corrected age
(breast or formula)
until 2.8 months when Serum iron (µmol/l) MD -2.8
high calorie weaning at 6 months [-3.25, -2.35]
foods were introduced corrected age
(n=36)
a
If gestational age was not available in the publication, infants with birth weight <1500 g are assumed to be <32 wk gestation, those weighing
1501–2000 g to be 32–36 wk gestation, and those weighing 2001–2500 g to have a gestation of 37 weeks or more.
b
Adjusted for birth weight, weight gain from 0-6 months and months of reported prenatal iron supplementation.
39 results
2.2 Human milk supplementation
Provision of nutrient supplements to human-
milk-fed LBW infants is common in developed
countries because they are perceived to have
clinical benefts. In this section, the effcacy
and safety of the most commonly used nutri-
ent supplements are reviewed:
• Individual vitamins or minerals
— Vitamin A
— Vitamin D
— Vitamin K
— Iron
— Zinc
— Calcium and phosphorus
• Multivitamins
• Multicomponent fortifers.
vitaMin a SuPPleMentatiOn
No studies were found that evaluated the eff-
cacy of a daily supplement of 700–1500 IU per
kg body weight of vitamin A on mortality, mor-
bidity, development or growth in LBW infants.
An alternative approach, in some developing
countries, provided 1–3 large doses (each dose
25,000 to 50,000 IU) of vitamin A in the frst
few days of life. Four trials were located which
examined the impacts of large-dose vitamin
A supplementation in the frst few days of life
on mortality rates in human-milk-fed LBW
infants (192–195).
results
Effect on mortality
Details of the study design, participants and
the interventions and results for three trials
are summarized in Table 2.2.1 (192–194). All
of these studies were individually randomized,
double blind, placebo-controlled trials. Two
of them had very low power to detect any
reasonable differences in mortality in LBW
infants (192–193). The study by Rahmathul-
lah et al was larger and showed a signifcant
37% reduction in mortality during the frst 6
months of life in the vitamin A supplemented
group of LBW infants (see summary Table
2.2.1) (194). Interestingly, Rahmathullah et al
found no difference in mortality among the
subgroup of infants with normal birth weight
(RR 1.03, 95%CI 0.75 to 1.42), but Humphrey
et al reported a signifcant difference in mor-
tality in normal birth weight infants (RR 0.09,
95%CI 0.01 to 0.70) (194, 193).
In addition, Malaba et al recently published
a similar study to that of Rahmathullah et
al by examining the impacts of 50,000 IU of
vitamin A within 96 hours of delivery in HIV-
negative women in Zimbabwe (195). Subgroup
analysis was performed for 1108 LBW infants,
but limited data were presented in the paper.
Neonatal mortality was reported to decrease
by at least 20% in LBW infants (RR <0.8);
the results were presented pictorially and no
proportions or confdence intervals were pro-
vided. The authors state that high-dose vita-
min A supplementation signifcantly reduced
the mortality in LBW infants but there was a
non-signifcant trend to increased mortality
in non-LBW infants.
Effect on morbidity
Coutsoudis et al reported no signifcant impact
of neonatal vitamin A supplementation on the
incidence of respiratory distress in the neo-
natal period (RR 0.95, 95%CI 0.69 to 1.30).
However, the sample size was too small to
detect even moderate differences in morbidity
between the groups. There was a trend towards
increased hospitalization for pneumonia dur-
ing the frst year of life in the vitamin A group
(RR 3.74, 95%CI 0.82 to 17.0). This difference
was statistically not signifcant after adjusting
for risk factors of pneumonia (P=0.19 from
proportional hazards model) (192).
Humphrey et al found no effect of vita-
min A supplementation on one-week period
prevalence of common morbidities at 4, 6 or
12 months of age. However, between birth and
4 months of age they reported that a lower pro-
portion of infants were brought for medical
care and treatment of cough in the vitamin A
group (14.2% vs. 24.6%, RR 0.58, 95%CI 0.38
to 0.87) (193).
Effect on neurodevelopment,
malnutrition or other outcomes
No studies examining the effect of vitamin
A supplementation in LBW infants on neu-
40 Optimal feeding Of lOw-birth-weight infants: technical review
rodevelopment or malnutrition were located.
Coutsoudis et al (n = 43 supplemented LBW
infants) and Rahmathullah et al (n = 1851
supplemented LBW infants) reported no epi-
sodes of bulging fontanelle or other neurologi-
cal adverse effects associated with vitamin A
supplementation (192, 194).
conclusions and implications
There is paucity of evidence that the usually
recommended daily dose of 700–1500 IU per
kg body weight is effcacious in LBW infants.
Further, there are no data to compare large-
dose supplementation in the frst few days of
life with a small daily dose of vitamin A.
There is evidence from one study in India
that a large dose of vitamin A (50,000 IU in
one or two divided doses) during the frst days
of life may have a survival advantage, particu-
larly in infants with birth weight <2000 g. This
fnding needs to be confrmed in other stud-
ies in developing country settings before this
intervention can be recommended for LBW
infants.
recommendations
International and national organizations
recommend a daily vitamin A supplementa-
tion of 700–1500 IU per kg body weight from
birth until the infant attains 2000 g body
weight to growing pre-term infants receiving
human milk. Standard practice in many neo-
natal units is to provide commercially manu-
factured multivitamin preparations, which
include vitamin A, to LBW infants receiving
unfortifed human milk from birth until the
infant attains 2000 g body weight. It was not
possible to provide additional recommenda-
tions due to insuffcient evidence.
SuMMARy TABLE 2.2.1
Effect of vitamin A supplementation on mortality
Study, Design Approximate proportion of
(Level of Inclusion participants with gestation age
a
outcome Effect measure
evidence) criteria <32 wk 32–36 wk ≥37 wk Comparison groups measure [95% CI]
Humphrey et Subgroup analysis NK NK 76% Infants who received 50,000 IU Mortality RR 0.74
al (193) limited to infants Vitamin A on the frst day of during the (0.26, 2.02)
RCT (LII) with birth weight life (n=101) compared with frst year
1500–2499 g infants who received placebo of life
(n=98)
Coutsoudis Gestational age 50% 50% None Infants who received 3 doses Mortality RR 1.07
et al (192) <36 weeks and of 25,000 IU Vitamin A each during the (0.16, 7.26)
RCT (LII) birth weight before day 10 of age (n=43) frst year of
950–1700 g compared with infants who life
received placebo (n=46)
Rahmathullah Subgroup analysis 3% 15% 82% Infants who received 2 doses Mortality Overall RR 0.63
et al (194) limited to infants of 24,000 IU Vitamin A each during the (0.48, 0.83)
RCT (LII) with birth weight on days 1 and 2 of age frst 6 months
<2500 g (n=1851) compared with of life Birth weight
infants who received placebo <2000g
(n=1820) RR 0.48
(0.33, 0.69)
Birth weight
2000–2499 g
RR 0.76
(0.52, 1.10)
a
If gestational age was not available in the publication, infants with birth weight <1500 g are assumed to be <32 wk gestation, those weighing
1501–2000 g to be 32–36 wk gestation, and those weighing 2001–2500 g to have a gestation of 37 weeks or more.
4T results
vitaMin d SuPPleMentatiOn
The vitamin D content of a typical oral multi-
vitamin supplement used for pre-term infants
receiving human milk is 400 IU per daily
dose.
results
Effect on mortality, morbidity and
neurodevelopment
No intervention studies were located which
examined the impact of vitamin D supple-
mentation on mortality rates, morbidity or
development in LBW infants.
Effect on bone mineralization
No studies were located which examined the
impact and clinical outcomes in infants who
were fed unsupplemented and vitamin D-sup-
plemented human milk. Studies reporting
clinical outcomes related to vitamin D sup-
plementation have only involved case series
and were from the early 1970s. Robertson
reported on 25 South African pre-term infants
of mean gestational age 31 weeks (mean birth
weight 1100 g) who were fed unsupplemented
mother’s own milk from birth until hospital
discharge (173). Lucas et al reported on 45 UK
pre-term infants of mean gestational age 30
weeks (mean birth weight 1050 g) fed unsup-
plemented mother’s own milk from birth until
hospital discharge (196). In both these studies,
the infants were followed from birth till hos-
pital discharge; high rates of osteopenia and
fractures in the infants fed unsupplemented
human milk were reported. Lucas et al fol-
lowed the infants further till 18 months of age
and reported that infants fed unsupplemented
pre-term mother’s milk had 2 cm reduction in
linear growth and two infants had clinical evi-
dence of rickets.
Three studies were located which compared
different doses of vitamin D on bone miner-
alization in human-milk-fed VLBW (very low
birth weight, <1500 g) infants (197–199). Evans
et al randomized 81 Canadian, breastfed LBW
infants <1500 g and gave either the usual 400
IU dose or a high-dose (2000 international
units (IU)) of vitamin D from 72 hours till
6 weeks postnatal age (197). At age 6 weeks,
the radiographic bone scores (median 2.0
and 2.5 in high-dose and usual dose groups,
respectively) as well as the mean serum osteo-
calcin concentrations were similar in the two
study groups.
From 1985 to 1987 Backstrom et al rand-
omized 70 infants <34 weeks gestational age
(birth weight <2000 g) to receive vitamin D
500 IU or 1000 IU per day from the time of tol-
erance of full enteral nutrition until 3 months
of age. This study had a factorial design and
infants also received 108 mg/kg calcium with
53 mg/kg phosphorus or placebo. At 3 months
of age the infants who received 500 IU vita-
min D had a statistically signifcant higher
bone mineral content than those infants who
received 1000 IU. The lowest bone mineral
content was found in infants who received 1000
IU/day vitamin D and no calcium or phospho-
rus. At 9–11 years, only 50% of infants (n=35)
were available for follow-up; there was no dif-
ference in bone mineral content or bone min-
eral density between the infants who received
low or high vitamin D doses (198).
In a later study (from May 1994 to January
1996), Backstrom et al randomized 39 infants
<33 weeks gestational age and gave vitamin D
200 IU/kg of body weight/day (up to a maxi-
mum of 400 IU/day) or 960 IU/day until 3
months of age. There was no difference in
bone mineral content or in bone mineral den-
sity at 3 and 6 months corrected age between
the infants who received low or high vitamin
D (199).
conclusions and implications
There is some evidence of the need for vitamin
D supplementation of human-milk-fed infants
<1500 g for adequate bone mineralization and
to prevent rickets of prematurity. There seems
to be no additional beneft of increasing the
intake of vitamin D for VLBW infants from
the usually recommended 400 IU per day.
There are no clinical trial data on the effect of
vitamin D on key clinical outcomes in infants
with birth weight >1500 g. There are very
few studies from developing countries where
nutrient defciencies may be more common.
42 Optimal feeding Of lOw-birth-weight infants: technical review
recommendations
International and national organizations rec-
ommend daily vitamin D supplementation
of 400 IU from birth until the infant attains
2000 g body weight to growing pre-term
infants receiving human milk. Provision of
400 IU of vitamin D to LBW infants receiv-
ing human milk from birth until 6 months of
chronological age has been standard practice
in many developed country neonatal nurser-
ies. Calcium and phosphorus supplementation
are also recommended to ensure bone miner-
alization. It was not possible to provide addi-
tional recommendations due to insuffcient
evidence.
vitaMin k SuPPleMentatiOn
Intramuscular vitamin K is commonly admin-
istered in doses of 1 mg at birth to all infants
over 1000 g and 0.3 mg/kg IM to infants weigh-
ing less than 1000 g at birth. Alternatively, oral
vitamin K is administered 2 mg orally at birth,
followed by 2 mg on day 3–5 and day 28.
results
Effect on mortality, neurodevelopment
and malnutrition
No intervention studies were located which
examined the impact of vitamin K supple-
mentation on mortality rates or development
in LBW infants.
Effect on serious morbidity
A systematic review of studies in term infants
indicated that there was a signifcantly lower
risk of bleeding during the frst week of life
(RR 0.73, 95%CI 0.56 to 0.96) and bleeding
after circumcision (RR 0.18, 95%CI 0.08 to
0.42) in infants who received vitamin K on day
1 of life (200). Similarly, there are studies in
term infants which examined a possible asso-
ciation of neonatal vitamin K supplementa-
tion with childhood cancer. In the early 1990s,
Golding et al reported a statistically signifcant
association between term infants from devel-
oped countries receiving IM vitamin K and an
increased incidence of childhood cancer (201,
202). However, seven other case-control stud-
ies found no relationship and three found a
weak relationship between neonatal adminis-
tration of IM or IV vitamin K and the risk of
solid childhood tumours or leukaemia (203).
A review of these studies concluded that the
results did not establish a causal relationship
between IM vitamin K and increased risk of
childhood cancer (203).
Effect on other important outcomes
Three case series were located which examined
the effect of vitamin K supplementation on
coagulation studies and plasma vitamin K lev-
els in VLBW infants receiving total parenteral
nutrition (204–206). Infants were admin-
istered 1.0 mg/kg intramuscular vitamin K
(205), 0.5–1.0 mg intramuscular vitamin K
(206), or 2.0 mg enteral vitamin K (204)
within 48 hours of birth. Normal coagulation
status was reported in all three studies. Kumar
et al and Costakos et al reported high vitamin
K levels in infants <1000 g given 1.0 mg intra-
muscular vitamin K and suggested decreasing
the amount of vitamin K in total parenteral
nutrition (TPN) and maintaining the intra-
muscular dose of vitamin K in infants under
1000 g to 0.3 mg/kg. No studies examined
the impacts in infants who received no TPN.
Human milk intake was also not recorded.
conclusions and implications
There is little evidence of the effcacy of vita-
min K supplementation in LBW infants. Cur-
rently, there are no data to suggest that the
effects of vitamin K supplementation would
be different from those in term AGA infants.
recommendations
Policy statements from international and
national organizations state the importance
of administering IM or oral vitamin K at
birth for LBW infants. Standard practice in
many neonatal units is to administer 1 mg
intramuscular vitamin K at birth for infants
weighing 1000 g or more at birth and 0.3 mg/
kg intramuscular vitamin K for infants with
birth weights less than 1000 g. If oral vitamin
K is administered, it is provided in a dose of
43 results
2 mg orally at birth, followed by 2 mg on day
3–5 and day 28. Additional recommendations
could not be provided due to insuffcient evi-
dence.
irOn SuPPleMentatiOn
Iron supplementation is usually provided to
LBW infants as 2–3 mg/kg/day ferrous fuma-
rate or ferrous gluconate from 2 to 8 weeks of
age until 12 months of age.
results
Effects on mortality,
neurodevelopment and malnutrition
No studies were located which examined the
impact of oral iron supplementation on mor-
tality, neurodevelopment and malnutrition in
human-milk-fed LBW infants.
Effects on iron status
A number of RCTs examined the impact of
giving iron supplements to LBW infants on the
rates of iron-defciency anaemia (IDA). Most
trials were conducted in the 1960s and 1970s
(163, 207–210). Only one of these studies exam-
ined the impact of oral iron supplementation in
breastfed pre-term infants (208) (see summary
Table 2.2.2). In this study, Lundstrom et al ran-
domized 117 Finnish infants who weighed less
than 2000 g at birth (mean birth weight 1650 g)
to receive 2 mg/kg/day of oral iron or no iron
supplementation from 2 weeks to 6 months of
chronological age. Signifcant improvements
in mean haemoglobin were demonstrated at
2 months, 3 months and 6 months of chron-
ological age in the supplemented group. At 6
months the improvement in mean haemo-
globin was 10 g/l. In addition, 77% of breastfed
infants who had never received iron supple-
mentation became anaemic by 6 months of age,
compared to 0% in the supplemented group.
No long-term effects have been reported.
One study was identifed which examined the
impacts in term LBW infants (211) (see sum-
mary Table 2.2.2). In this study, Aggarwal et
al randomized 73 breastfed Indian infants who
were term LBW (mean birth weight 2290 g)
to receive 3 mg/kg/day of oral iron or no iron
supplementation from 50 to 80 days of age. Sig-
nifcant improvements in mean haemoglobin
were demonstrated at 4 and 8 weeks of age in
the supplemented group; however, by 8 weeks
of age 65% of the infants were lost to follow up
(n=26 at 8 weeks of age).
Other studies have examined the optimal
time to commence iron supplementation in
AGA pre-term infants (191, 212, 213). Franz
et al examined the impact of enteral iron sup-
plementation in 133 German infants weighing
<1300 g at birth. Infants were randomized to
receive either 2 mg/kg/day oral iron as soon
as enteral feedings of >100 ml/kg/day were
tolerated (early enteral iron supplementa-
tion) or 2 mg/kg/day oral iron at 61 days of life
(late enteral iron supplementation) (212). He
reported that infants in the late initiation group
were more often iron-defcient by day 61 of life
(26/65 vs. 10/68; RR 2.72, 95%CI 1.43 to 5.18)
and received more blood transfusions after day
14 of life (see summary Table 2.2.2). Siimes
also examined the rates of iron-defciency
anaemia in 67 Scandinavian breastfed infants
(30–36 weeks gestation and 1000–2400 g birth
weight) over a 12-month period and reported
high rates of anaemia when unsupplemented
LBW infants exceeded 6 months of chrono-
logical age (213). A study in term LBW breast-
fed infants in Honduras reported that 47.7%
of infants had a haemoglobin concentration
<100g/l at 2 months of age (191).
Impacts on other important outcomes
Four studies were also located which examined
the impacts of iron supplementation on iron
metabolism and toxicity (208, 212, 214, 215).
Studies of Franz et al (212) and Lundstrom
et al (208) are described above. Scott et al
(215) and Lackmann et al (214) examined the
metabolism of iron in pre-term infants <2500
g in two small US case series. No adverse reac-
tions to the administration of 2–3 mg/kg/day
of oral iron supplementation were reported in
any study. Scott et al and Lackmann et al both
reported that pre-term infants have limited
iron-binding capacity and that the therapeu-
tic: toxic ratio for iron is narrower than for
most other nutrients.
44 Optimal feeding Of lOw-birth-weight infants: technical review
conclusions and implications
There is evidence from developed and some
developing countries that iron supplemen-
tation, started around 6–8 weeks of age in
LBW infants, is effective in preventing anae-
mia during infancy. There is some evidence
that anaemia is common in LBW infants fed
unsupplemented human milk even at 8 weeks
of age. There is also some evidence to sug-
gest that iron supplementation, started at 2
weeks of age, may prevent this early anaemia
in infants with birth weight <1500 g. However,
the data are insuffcient on the safety of iron
supplementation during the frst 2 months of
life. There are no data on the effects of iron
supplementation on mortality, common child-
hood illnesses or neurodevelopment in LBW
infants.
recommendations
International and national organizations rec-
ommend the administration of supplemen-
tal oral iron to pre-term and SGA infants.
Standard practice in neonatal units is to pro-
vide ferrous fumarate or ferrous gluconate
at 2–3 mg/kg/day to LBW infants receiving
unfortifed human milk from 6–8 weeks of
age until 12 months of chronological age. The
fndings of this review support these recom-
mendations.
SuMMARy TABLE 2.2.2
Effect of iron supplementation of breastfed LBW infants on iron status in the frst 6 months of life.
Study, Design Approximate proportion of
(Level of Inclusion participants with gestation age
a
outcome Effect measure
evidence) criteria <32 wk 32–36 wk ≥37 wk Comparison groups measure [95% CI]
Lundström Infants 1000– 30% 70% None Infants who received 2 mg/ Difference in -77%
et al (208) 2000 g at birth kg/day elemental iron starting proportion of (-88%, -66%)
RCT (LII) at 2 weeks of age (n=60) infants who
compared with infants who became
received no iron unless they anaemic by 6
developed anaemia (n=57) months of age
Aggarwal Term LBW infants None None 100% Infants who received 3 mg/ Adjusted 4.6 g/l
et al (211) < 2500 g kg/day elemental iron from haemoglobin (0.5, 8.8)
RCT (LII) age 50–80 days (n=37) change at
compared with infants who 4 weeks
received placebo (n=36)
Adjusted 8.6 g/l
haemoglobin (1.8, 15.4)
change at 8
weeks
Franz et al Infants <1301 g 100% None None Infants who received 2 to Proportion of -25%
(212) at birth 6 mg/kg/day elemental iron infants iron- (-40%, -11%)
RCT (LII) as soon as enteral feedings defcient at
were fully tolerated (n=68) 2 months age
compared with infants who
started receiving iron supple-
ments only at 61 days of age
(n=65)
a
If gestational age was not available in the publication, infants with birth weight <1500 g are assumed to be <32 wk gestation, those weighing
1501–2000 g to be 32–36 wk gestation, and those weighing 2001–2500 g to have a gestation of 37 weeks or more.
45 results
Zinc SuPPleMentatiOn
results
Effect on mortality
One trial, which examined the impacts of zinc
supplementation on mortality rates in SGA
term infants, was identifed (see summary
Table 2.2.3) (216). No trials which examined
the impacts in pre-term infants were located.
Sazawal et al randomized 1154 term SGA
infants in south India who were receiving
human milk to either a zinc supplementation
group (each infant receiving a supplement con-
taining zinc 5 mg/d, ribofavin 0.5 mg/d, cal-
cium 180 mg/d, phosphorus 90 mg/d, iron 10
mg/d and folate 60 µmol/d) or a control group
(each infant receiving a supplement that did
not contain zinc but contained other micro-
nutrients as in the intervention group above).
The supplementation commenced on day 15
of age and reached the full treatment doses as
outlined above by 30 days of age; daily supple-
mentation was given until the infant reached
12 months of chronological age. In this trial
Sazawal et al reported that SGA term infants
who received zinc supplementation had a sta-
tistically signifcant 70% reduction in mortal-
ity compared to the control group (RR 0.32;
95%CI 0.12 to 0.89).
Effect on serious morbidity
Two trials were located which examined the
impacts on clinical illness (diarrhoea, acute
respiratory infection) (see summary Table
2.2.4) (217, 218). In one trial, 137 Brazilian
term SGA infants (1500–2400 g) who were
receiving human milk were randomized to
receive either 5 mg zinc per day for 8 weeks or
a placebo, with follow-up until they reached 6
months of age (217). Zinc supplementation was
associated with a statistically signifcant 28%
reduction in diarrhoeal prevalence and a 33%
reduction in the prevalence of cough over the
6-month follow-up period. In the other trial,
100 south Indian LBW infants (1500–2400 g)
who were receiving human milk were rand-
omized to receive either 5 mg/day elemental
zinc in a vitamin B complex syrup (n=50) or
vitamin B complex syrup only (n=50) from
birth until 12 months of chronological age
(218). Zinc supplementation was associated
with a statistically signifcant 29% reduction
in diarrhoeal incidence over the 12-month
follow-up period.
Effect on neurodevelopment
Two trials were located which examined the
impacts on neurodevelopment (see summary
Table 2.2.5) (219, 220). In one trial, 200 term
SGA infants from Delhi, India, who were
receiving human milk were randomized to
receive either a daily micronutrient supple-
ment mix (folate, iron, calcium, phosphorus,
and ribofavin) together with 5 mg/day of ele-
mental zinc (n=100) or a micronutrient sup-
plement mix without additional zinc (n=100)
from day 30 to 9 months of chronological age
(219). There was no signifcant effect of zinc on
any of the measures of development or behav-
iour at 6 and 10 month evaluation. The second
trial, in Brazil, which examined the impact of
zinc supplementation on neurodevelopment in
term SGA infants (see summary Table 2.2.5)
(220), reported no signifcant differences in
mental, psychomotor or behavioural develop-
ment at 6 and 12 months of chronological age,
as assessed by Bayley’s Scales of Infant Devel-
opment.
Effect on malnutrition
Three trials were located which examined the
impacts on growth outcomes in term SGA
infants (see summary Table 2.2.6) (217, 218,
221). In a Brazilian trial, Lira et al reported
that zinc supplementation of 5 mg from birth
until 8 weeks chronological age had no signif-
cant effect on weight and length gains from
0 to 26 weeks (217). In Chile, Castillo-Duran
et al randomized 68 term SGA infants (mean
birth weight 2300 ± 200 g, mean gestational
age 39.1 ± 0.8 weeks, 29/68 breastfed) who
were receiving human milk to receive either
5 mg zinc per day for 6 months or a placebo
(221). He reported statistically signifcant
improvements in weight-for-age and length-
for-age z scores in zinc supplemented infants at
6 months of age. No trials reported the impact
on standard deviation scores or malnutrition
46 Optimal feeding Of lOw-birth-weight infants: technical review
SuMMARy TABLE 2.2.3
Effect of zinc supplementation of breastfed LBW infants on mortality
Study, Design Approximate proportion of
(Level of Inclusion participants with gestation age
a
outcome Effect measure
evidence) criteria <32 wk 32–36 wk ≥37 wk Comparison groups measure [95% CI]
Sazawal et al Full term SGA None None 100% Infants who received 5 mg/day Infant deaths RR 0.32
(216) infants elemental zinc from 1 to 9 between 1 and (0.12, 0.89)
RCT (LII) months of age (n=581) 9 months of
compared with infants who age
received no zinc (n=573)
a
If gestational age was not available in the publication, infants with birth weight <1500 g are assumed to be <32 wk gestation, those weighing
1501–2000 g to be 32–36 wk gestation, and those weighing 2001–2500 g to have a gestation of 37 weeks or more.
SuMMARy TABLE 2.2.4
Effect of zinc supplementation of breastfed LBW infants on serious morbidity
Study, Design Approximate proportion of
(Level of Inclusion participants with gestation age
a
outcome Effect measure
evidence) criteria <32 wk 32–36 wk ≥37 wk Comparison groups measure [95% CI]
Lira et al (217) Full term SGA None None 100% Infants who received 5 mg/day Prevalence of Adjusted
b
RCT infants elemental zinc daily for 8 weeks diarrhoea prevalence
(LII) (n=71) compared with infants (0–26 weeks) ratio 0.72
who received placebo (n=66) (0.52, 0.99)
Prevalence of Adjusted
b

cough (0–26 prevalence
weeks) ratio 0.67
(0.44, 1.04)
Sur et al (218) LBW None 50% 50% Infants who received 5 mg/day Diarrhoeal RR 0.71
RCT elemental zinc in a vitamin B incidence over (0.5, 0.98)
(LII) complex syrup from birth until frst 12 months
12 months of chronological age
(n=50) compared with infants
who received vitamin B complex
syrup only (n=50)
a
If gestational age was not available in the publication, infants with birth weight <1500 g are assumed to be <32 wk gestation, those weighing
1501–2000 g to be 32–36 wk gestation, and those weighing 2001–2500 g to have a gestation of 37 weeks or more.
b
Adjusted for water supply
47 results
rates. In a trial on Indian infants, a statistically
signifcant improvement in weight-for-age z
score at 12 months of age was reported in the
infants who received zinc supplements (–1.45
± 0.95 compared to –2.17 ± 0.90, p <0.001).
Signifcant gains in mean length and weight
were also reported (218).
Effect on other important outcomes
In one trial in pre-term infants in a developed
country which examined the effect of zinc sup-
plementation on zinc status (222), 25 Canadian
infants under 32 weeks gestation (mean gesta-
tional age 29.9 weeks, mean birth weight 1310 g)
were randomized to receive either mother’s milk
supplemented with multicomponent human
milk fortifer (providing 1.8 mg/kg/day of oral
zinc sulfate) or mother’s milk supplemented
with calcium and phosphorus alone from birth
until discharge from hospital. Reporting that
pre-term infants who were fed their mother’s
milk, with or without zinc supplementation,
maintained normal zinc levels from the time
of hospital discharge till 12 months of chrono-
logical age, the authors concluded that supple-
mental zinc either in hospital or post-hospital
discharge did not appear to be required for pre-
term infants fed their mother’s milk. However,
plasma zinc levels are a poor measure of zinc
status and therefore supplementation trials in
premature infants would provide the best evi-
dence of the role of zinc in their nutrition.
conclusions and implications
There are no data on the effect of zinc on key
clinical outcomes in pre-term infants. Data
from two trials in developing countries suggest
that term LBW infants in developing countries
may have lower mortality and morbidity if they
receive zinc supplementation. There seems to
be no evidence that zinc supplementation in
these infants improves neurodevelopment or
affects growth.
recommendations
No policy statements were available from
international or national organizations on the
use of zinc in the LBW infant. It is not standard
practice in most neonatal units to provide zinc
supplementation to LBW infants. However, it
is standard practice in many neonatal units to
give infants with birth weights less than 1500 g
a multicomponent fortifer with human milk,
which provides an additional 0.5–1.8 mg/kg/
day of zinc until the infant reaches a weight
of 1800–2000 g. Additional recommendations
could not be provided due to lack of evidence.
48 Optimal feeding Of lOw-birth-weight infants: technical review
SuMMARy TABLE 2.2.5
Effect of zinc supplementation of breastfed LBW infants on neurodevelopment
Study, Design Approximate proportion of
(Level of Inclusion participants with gestation age
a
outcome Effect measure
evidence) criteria <32 wk 32–36 wk ≥37 wk Comparison groups measure [95% CI]
Ashworth et Full term SGA None None 100% Infants who received 5 mg/ Bayley’s Mental MD
al (220) infants day elemental zinc daily for Development -2.2
RCT (LII) 8 weeks (n=46) compared Index (MDI) (-7.3, 2.9)
with infants who received scores at
placebo (n=44) 6 months
Bayley’s MD
Psychomotor -0.4
Development (-5.2, 4.4)
Index (PDI)
score at
12 months
Black et al Full term SGA None None 100% Infants who received 5 mg/ Bayley’s Mental Adjusted
b
(219) infants day elemental zinc and a Development regression
RCT (LII) daily micronutrient supplement Index (MDI) coeffcient
mix (folate, iron, calcium, scores at 1.11
phosphorus, and ribofavin) 6 months (-1.12, 4.16)
from 30 days to 9 months of
age (n=100) compared with Bayley’s Adjusted
b
infants who received the Psychomotor regression
micronutrient supplement mix Development coeffcient
but no zinc (n=100) Index (PDI) 2.94
scores at (-0.68, 6.26)
6 months
a
If gestational age was not available in the publication, infants with birth weight <1500 g are assumed to be <32 wk gestation, those weighing
1501–2000 g to be 32–36 wk gestation, and those weighing 2001–2500 g to have a gestation of 37 weeks or more.
b
Adjusted for birth weight, weight gained since birth, gender and socio-economic status
SuMMARy TABLE 2.2.6
Effect of zinc supplementation of breastfed LBW infants on growth outcomes
Study, Design Approximate proportion of
(Level of Inclusion participants with gestation age
a
outcome Effect measure
evidence) criteria <32 wk 32–36 wk ≥37 wk Comparison groups measure [95% CI]
Lira et al Full term SGA None None 100% Infants who received 5 mg/day Weight gain MD 0.29
(217) infants elemental zinc daily for 8 weeks (0–26 weeks), (-0.07 to 0.65)
RCT (LII) (n=54) compared with infants kg
who received placebo (n=54)
Length gain MD 0.4
(0–26 weeks), (-1.2, 0.4)
cm
Castillo-Duran Full term SGA None None 100% Breastfed infants who Weight for age MD 0.7
et al (221) infants received 3 mg/day elemental z-score at (0.15 to 1.25)
RCT (LII) zinc daily (n=20) compared 6 months
with breastfed infants who
received placebo (n=9) Length at MD 1.1
6 months, cm (-1.6, 3.8)
a
If gestational age was not available in the publication, infants with birth weight <1500 g are assumed to be <32 wk gestation, those weighing
1501–2000 g to be 32–36 wk gestation, and those weighing 2001–2500 g to have a gestation of 37 weeks or more.
49 results
calciuM and PhOSPhOruS
SuPPleMentatiOn
If calcium and phosphorus supplements are
provided to LBW infants, they are often admin-
istered as individual supplements of calcium
(2.0 mmol/kg/day) and phosphorus (0.5 mmol/
kg/day) or in a multicomponent fortifer.
results
Effect on mortality, morbidity,
neurodevelopment and malnutrition
No studies were located which examined the
impact of calcium or phosphorus supplemen-
tation on mortality rates, serious clinical dis-
ease, neurodevelopment or malnutrition in
LBW infants.
Effect on bone mineralization
A number of studies evaluated the short-term
impacts of calcium and phosphorus sup-
plementation in pre-term infants <33 weeks
gestation; virtually all reported signifcant
improvements in bone mineralization in sup-
plemented infants up to 2 years of age (223–
230). However, only three RCTs were located
which examined the impact of calcium and
phosphorus supplementation as individual
components (not as part of multicomponent
fortifcation) on longer-term bone mineraliza-
tion (after 2 years of age) (198, 231, 232).
Only Backstrom et al compared the out-
comes in supplemented and unsupplemented
infants (198). From 1985 to 1987 he randomized
70 infants <34 weeks gestational age to receive
108 mg/kg calcium with 53 mg/kg phospho-
rus or a placebo from the time of tolerance of
full enteral nutrition until the infant reached 3
months of age. This study had a factorial design
and the infants also received vitamin D (500
IU or 1000 IU per day); this is described in the
section on vitamin D. At 3 months of age the
infants who received calcium and phosphorus
supplementation had a statistically signifcant
higher bone mineral content than those who
received the placebo. The lowest bone mineral
content was found in infants who received 1000
IU/day vitamin D and no calcium or phospho-
rus. At 9 to 11 years, only 50% of infants (n=35)
were available for follow-up; no difference was
found in bone mineral content or bone min-
eral density between the infants who received
calcium and phosphorus supplementation and
those on the placebo (198).
Laing et al randomized 74 US infants (birth
weights <1500 g) receiving human milk to be
given additional calcium and phosphorus sup-
plements from birth until 47 days of age (231).
The infants received either calcium 21 mmol/l
(84 mg/dl) or calcium 31.2 mmol/l (125 mg/dl)
and phosphorus 15.7 mmol/l (49 mg/dl). It was
reported that both groups had no radiologi-
cal evidence of rickets at 6 weeks chronologi-
cal age. Combined calcium and phosphorus
supplementation maintained plasma alkaline
phosphatase activity within the normal range
for age of 6 weeks.
Holland et al randomized 50 UK infants
(birth weight <1250 g) to receive either 50
mg phosphate per day or a placebo from birth
until discharge from hospital (232). No infant
receiving phosphate supplements (50 mg per
day) from birth until discharge had radiologi-
cal evidence of rickets at the time of discharge;
bone changes were apparent in 42% of the con-
trol group (risk difference [RD] 42%, 95%CI
19% to 64%).
In addition, a number of studies reported
the benefcial effects of a long period of breast-
feeding on bone mineral status in mineral-
supplemented pre-term infants (186, 198, 226).
In two studies, a dose response was apparent;
the higher the breastmilk received, the higher
the radial bone mineral content at 8–12 years
of age (186, 226).
conclusions and implications
There is some evidence that phosphorus and
calcium supplementation reduces the risk of
metabolic bone disease in pre-term infants
and leads to short-term increases in bone
mineralization in infants with gestation <32
weeks or birth weight <1500 g. There are no
data on the effect of phosphorus and calcium
supplementation on key clinical outcomes in
infants with birth weight >1500 g. There are
no studies from developing countries, where
the prevalence of defciency may be higher.
50 Optimal feeding Of lOw-birth-weight infants: technical review
recommendations
International and national organizations
describe the importance of providing phos-
phorus and/or calcium supplements to infants
who weigh <1500 g at birth for improving bone
mineralization and growth. Standard practice
in many neonatal units is to give such infants
calcium 2.0 mmol/kg/day and phosphorus
0.5 mmol/kg/day in addition to breastmilk
until the infant attains a weight of 2000 g. The
fndings of this review support these recom-
mendations.
MultivitaMin SuPPleMentatiOn
Neonatal multivitamin preparations com-
monly contain vitamins A, D, C, B
1
, B
2
, B
6
,
pantothenic acid and niacin.
results
No studies were located which examined the
impact of multivitamin supplementation on
any outcomes in LBW infants.
recommendations
Policy statements from organizations in devel-
oped countries describe the importance of
providing multivitamin supplementation with
a standard neonatal multivitamin preparation
containing vitamins A, D, C, B
1
, B
2
, B
6
, pan-
tothenic acid and niacin to all LBW infants
receiving human milk from birth until the
infant attains a weight of 2000 g. Standard
practice in many neonatal units is to provide
commercially available multivitamin prepara-
tions to all LBW infants receiving unfortifed
human milk until 6 months chronological age.
It was not possible to provide additional rec-
ommendations due to insuffcient evidence.
MulticOMPOnent FOrtiFicatiOn
Multicomponent fortifers commonly contain
protein, fat, carbohydrate, calcium, phospho-
rus, iron, zinc, vitamins A, D, E, K, and ribo-
favin. The constituents of commonly used
fortifers are described in Box 1.3.3.
results
Effect on mortality
Two RCTs were located which reported the
impact of multicomponent supplementation
of human milk on mortality rates, although
the studies were not designed to examine the
effect on mortality (see summary Table 2.2.7)
(17, 168). Lucas et al randomized 275 UK pre-
term infants (birth weight <1850 g, gesta-
tional age range 23–36 weeks) to receive either
human milk with added standard human
milk fortifer or human milk with only added
vitamins, phosphate and sodium (17). These
interventions were provided from the time
that full enteral feeds were tolerated until the
infant attained a weight of 2000 g. This study
reported no signifcant impact on mortality
rate (RR 0.78, 95%CI 0.30 to 2.04). Pettifor
et al randomized 59 South African pre-term
infants <1500 g at birth to receive maternal
milk supplemented with a multicomponent
fortifer or unsupplemented maternal milk
from the time that enteral feeds were toler-
ated until hospital discharge (168). There were
seven deaths among the study infants, all of
them in the group randomized to receive the
fortifer. A recently updated meta-analysis
(233) of these two studies showed that the
combined estimate of RR of death was not sig-
nifcantly different from 1 (RR 1.48, 95%CI
0.66 to 3.34). However, the confdence limits
were wide and the RR was above 1, thus a trend
towards an increased mortality risk from mul-
ticomponent fortifer cannot be discounted.
Effect on serious morbidity
A meta-analysis of fve RCTs (17, 168, 234–236)
(see summary Table 2.2.8.) showed no signif-
cant difference in the risk of necrotising ente-
rocolitis between the multicomponent-fortifer
supplemented and control groups (pooled RR
1.33, 95%CI 0.69 to 2.54) (233). However, con-
fdence limits were wide and the RR was above
1, thus a trend towards an increased morbid-
ity risk from multicomponent fortifer cannot
be discounted. In addition, the large study
by Lucas et al reported an increase in clinical
infection (suspected or proven) in the fortifed
group (43% compared with 31%, P = 0.04)
5T results
(17). There was also a non-signifcant increase
in the risk of necrotising enterocolitis (5.8%
compared with 2.2%, P = 0.12).
Effect on neurodevelopment
Only one RCT was located which examined the
impact of multicomponent supplementation
of human milk on neurodevelopmental out-
comes (see summary Table 2.2.9.) (17). In this
study no signifcant differences in neurodevel-
opment were detected at 9 or 18 months in the
fortifed compared to the unfortifed group,
though some advantages were reported in a
subgroup of male infants.
Effect on malnutrition
Ten clinical trials were located which exam-
ined the impacts of multicomponent sup-
plementation on short-term growth (17, 168,
234, 237–243). All trials were from developed
countries and are summarized in Table 2.2.10.
The two largest studies (17, 168) did not fnd
a statistically signifcant increase in weight
gain in the fortifcation group. Nevertheless,
the meta-analysis showed greater weight gains
in infants receiving multicomponent fortifer
compared to the controls (WMD 2.3 g/kg/
day, 95%CI 1.7 to 2.9). Similarly, the meta-
analysis reported signifcantly greater length
gains (WMD 0.12 cm/week, 95%CI 0.07 to
0.18) and head growth (WMD 0.12 cm/week,
95%CI 0.07 to 0.16) in the fortifer group. Two
studies evaluated long-term growth at 12 and
18 months of age (17, 241); both found no dif-
ferences in weight, length and head circumfer-
ence between the study groups.
Effect on bone mineralization
Two RCTs were located which examined the
role of calcium and phosphorus supplementa-
tion as a part of multicomponent fortifer in
improving bone mineralization. Modanlou et
al randomized 18 US infants (243) and Pettifor
et al randomized 59 South African infants (168)
who weighed 1000–1600 g at birth. Both trials
provided infants with calcium (2.0 mmol/kg/
day) and phosphorus (0.5 mmol/kg/day) from
the time when full enteral feeds were tolerated
(mean age 14 days) until hospital discharge.
Both studies reported that infants receiv-
ing fortifcation had signifcantly better bone
mineralization than those receiving unsup-
plemented milk at hospital discharge. A meta-
analysis of these two trials also demonstrated a
signifcant improvement by hospital discharge
(WMD 8.3mg/cm, 95%CI 3.8 to 12.8mg/cm)
(233). However, no signifcant differences in
bone mineralization between the interven-
tion and the control groups were detected at
3 months by Pettifor et al and no longer-term
follow-up has been reported.
conclusions and implications
In infants of <32 weeks gestation, there is
evidence that use of multicomponent forti-
fer leads to short-term increase in weight
gain, linear growth, head growth and bone
mineralization. There are insuffcient data to
evaluate long-term neurodevelopmental and
growth outcomes, although there appears to
be no effect on growth beyond one year of
age. Use of multi-component fortifers does
not appear to be associated with increased
risk of mortality or necrotizing enterocolitis,
although the small number of infants and the
large amount of missing data in the studies
reduces confdence in this conclusion. Also,
in the largest trial undertaken there was a sig-
nifcant increase in the incidence of infection
among infants receiving the fortifer. There
are no data examining the effcacy of multi-
component fortifer in infants of 32–36 weeks
gestation or in term LBW infants.
Almost all the studies are from developed
countries. A higher prevalence of infections,
greater potential for contamination, and high
fortifer costs are additional issues to consider
when deciding use of multicomponent forti-
fers in developing countries
recommendations
Policy statements from developed countries
describe the importance of giving supple-
ments with a standard multicomponent for-
tifer from birth to growing pre-term infants
weighing <1500 g at birth who receive human
milk until a weight of 1800–2000 g has been
reached (43, 45). Standard practice in many
52 Optimal feeding Of lOw-birth-weight infants: technical review
neonatal units in infants with birth weights
<1500 g is to add a multicomponent fortifer
to human milk until the infant reaches 1800–
2000 g.
The fndings of this review raise doubts on
the routine use of multicomponent fortifers,
particularly in developing countries. The ben-
efts appear to be only short-term increases
in growth, the safety is uncertain, and could
be of more concern in developing countries
with a greater risk of contamination. Further
research in developing countries is needed to
examine the role of multicomponent fortifers.
Meanwhile, their use should be restricted to
infants <32 weeks gestation or <1500 g birth
weight who fail to gain weight despite adequate
breastmilk feeding.
SuMMARy TABLE 2.2.7
Effect of multicomponent fortifcation of human milk on mortality in LBW infants
Study, Design Approximate proportion of
(Level of Inclusion participants with gestation age
a
outcome Effect measure
evidence) criteria <32 wk 32–36 wk ≥37 wk Comparison groups measure [95% CI]
Lucas et al Birth weight 80% 20% None Infants who received Mortality RR 0.78
(17) <1850 g maternal milk supplemented until (0.30, 2.04)
RCT (LII) with multicomponent fortifer discharge
(n=137) compared with
infants who received maternal
milk supplemented with
phosphate alone (n=138)
Pettifor et al Birth weight 100% None None Infants who received Mortality Adjusted
b

(168) 1000–1500 g, maternal milk supplemented during frst RR 13.3
RCT (LII) enteral intake at with multicomponent fortifer 3 months of (0.78, 227.4)
least 45 ml/kg/day (n=53) compared with life
infants who received
unsupplemented maternal
milk (n=47)
a
If gestational age was not available in the publication, infants with birth weight <1500 g are assumed to be <32 wk gestation, those weighing
1501–2000 g to be 32–36 wk gestation, and those weighing 2001–2500 g to have a gestation of 37 weeks or more.
b
Adjusted for birth weight and gestational age.
53 results
SuMMARy TABLE 2.2.8
Effect of multicomponent fortifcation of human milk on necrotising enterocolitis in LBW infants
Study, Design Approximate proportion of
(Level of Inclusion participants with gestation age
a
outcome Effect measure
evidence) criteria <32 wk 32–36 wk ≥37 wk Comparison groups measure [95% CI]
Lucas et al Birth weight 80% 20% None Infants who received maternal Necrotising RR 2.69
(17) <1850 g milk supplemented with enterocolitis (0.73, 9.91)
RCT (LII) multicomponent fortifer
(n=137) compared with
infants who received maternal
milk supplemented with
phosphate alone (n=138)
Pettifor et al Birth weight 100% None None Infants who received maternal Necrotising Adjusted
b

(168) 1000–1500 g, milk supplemented with enterocolitis RR 2.66
RCT (LII) enteral intake at multicomponent fortifer (0.29, 24.7)
least 45 ml/kg/day (n=53) compared with infants
who received unsupplemented
maternal milk (n=47)
Kashyap et al Birth weight 63% 37% None Infants who received maternal Necrotising RR 0.53
(234) 900–1750 g milk supplemented with enterocolitis (0.18, 1.56)
RCT (LII) multicomponent fortifer
(n=30) compared with infants
who received unsupplemented
maternal milk (n=36)
Zuckerman Birth weight 100% None None Infants who received maternal Necrotising RR 0.83
et al (235) <1200 g milk supplemented with enterocolitis (0.05, 12.6)
RCT (LII) multicomponent fortifer
(n=29) compared with infants
who received unsupplemented
maternal milk (n=24)
Faerk et al Gestational age 100% None None Infants who received maternal Necrotising RR 1.11
(236) <32 weeks milk supplemented with enterocolitis (0.07, 17.12)
RCT (LII) multicomponent fortifer
(n=36) compared with infants
who received maternal milk
supplemented with phosphorus
(n=40)
a
If gestational age was not available in the publication, infants with birth weight <1500 g are assumed to be <32 wk gestation, those weighing
1501–2000 g to be 32–36 wk gestation, and those weighing 2001–2500 g to have a gestation of 37 weeks or more.
b
Adjusted for birth weight and gestational age.
54 Optimal feeding Of lOw-birth-weight infants: technical review
SuMMARy TABLE 2.2.9
Effect of multicomponent fortifcation of human milk on neurodevelopment in LBW infants
Study, Design Approximate proportion of
(Level of Inclusion participants with gestation age
a
Effect measure
evidence) criteria <32 wk 32–36 wk ≥37 wk Comparison groups outcome measure [95% CI]
Difference in
mean scores
Lucas et al Birth weight 80% 20% None Infants who received Overall 0.5 (-2.7 to 3.7)
(17) <1850 g maternal milk developmental
RCT (LII) supplemented with quotient at 9 months
multi-component
fortifer (n=137) Bayley’s mental 2.2 (-3.4 to 7.8)
compared with infants development index
who received maternal score at 18 months
milk supplemented
with phosphate alone Bayley’s psychomotor 2.4 (-1.9 to 6.7)
(n=138) development index
score at 18 months
a
If gestational age was not available in the publication, infants with birth weight <1500 g are assumed to be <32 wk gestation, those weighing
1501–2000 g to be 32–36 wk gestation, and those weighing 2001–2500g to have a gestation of 37 weeks or more.
SuMMARy TABLE 2.2.10
Key studies which examine the effect of multicomponent fortifcation of human milk on growth outcomes in LBW infants
Study, Design Approximate proportion of
(Level of Inclusion participants with gestation age
a
outcome Effect measure
evidence) criteria <32 wk 32–36 wk ≥37 wk Comparison groups measure [95% CI]
Weighted
mean difference
Lucas et al Birth weight 80% 20% None Maternal milk supplemented Weight gain 0.60
(17) <1850 g with multicomponent fortifer (g/kg/day) (-0.38, 1.58)
RCT (LII) (n=137) compared with
maternal milk supplemented
with phosphate alone (n=138)
Pettifor et al Birth weight 100% None None Maternal milk supplemented Weight gain -0.10
b
(168) 1000–1500 g with multicomponent fortifer (g/kg/day) (-3.15, 2.95)
RCT (LII) (n=53) compared with
unsupplemented maternal
milk (n=47)
Kashyap et al Birth weight 63% 37% None Maternal milk supplemented Weight gain 4.02
(234) 900–1750 g with multicomponent fortifer (g/kg/day) (2.30, 5.74)
RCT (LII) (n=30) compared with
unsupplemented maternal
milk (n=36)
Carey et al Birth weight 100% None None Maternal milk supplemented Weight gain 5.7
(237) <1500 g with multicomponent fortifer (g/kg/day) (2.66, 8.74)
RCT (LII) (n=6) compared with
unsupplemented maternal
milk (n=6)
continued
55 results
SuMMARy TABLE 2.2.10 continued
Study, Design Approximate proportion of
(Level of Inclusion participants with gestation age
a
outcome Effect measure
evidence) criteria <32 wk 32–36 wk ≥37 wk Comparison groups measure [95% CI]
Weighted
mean difference
Greer et al Infants 90% 10% None Maternal milk supplemented Weight gain 3.86
(238) <32 weeks or with multicomponent fortifer (g/kg/day) (2.50, 5.22)
RCT (LII) <1600g (n=10) compared with
unsupplemented maternal
milk (n=10)
Nicholl et al Birth weight 100% None None Maternal (or donor) milk Weight gain 1.90
(239) <1500 g supplemented with multi- (g/kg/day) (-2.45, 6.25)
RCT (LII) component fortifer (n=13)
compared with unsupplemented
maternal or donor milk (n=10)
Pollberger et AGA preterm 100% None None Maternal (or donor) milk Weight gain 5.10
al (240) infants <1500 g supplemented with human (g/kg/day) (1.95, 8.25)
RCT (LII) milk protein and fat (n=7)
compared with unsupplemented
human milk (n=7)
Wauben et al Preterm infants 85% 15% None Maternal milk supplemented Weight gain 2.40
(241) <1800 g, with multicomponent fortifer (g/kg/day) (0.99, 3.81)
RCT (LII) aged > 1 week (n=12) compared with
unsupplemented maternal
milk (n=13)
Gross et al Birth weight 100% None None Maternal milk supplemented Weight gain 10.30
(242) <1600 g with multicomponent fortifer (g/day) (6.68, 13.92)
RCT (LII) (n=8) compared with
unsupplemented maternal
milk (n=9)
Modanlou et Birth weight 100% None None Maternal milk supplemented Weight gain 4.20
al (243) 1000–1500 g with multicomponent fortifer (g/day) (0.72, 7.68)
RCT (LII) (n=8) compared with
unsupplemented maternal
milk (n=10)
a
If gestational age was not available in the publication, infants with birth weight <1500 g are assumed to be <32 wk gestation, those weighing
1501–2000 g to be 32–36 wk gestation, and those weighing 2001–2500 g to have a gestation of 37 weeks or more.
b
Adjusted for birth weight and gestational age
56 Optimal feeding Of lOw-birth-weight infants: technical review
2.3 Breastmilk substitutes
Breastmilk substitutes are used if human milk
feeding of a LBW infant is not possible. There
are many different commercial formulations
and the nutrient composition of each breast-
milk substitute is slightly different, refecting
the uncertainty about a pre-term infant’s need
for nutrients, specifcally the protein-energy
ratio, fat blend, and amounts of calcium and
phosphorus. Breastmilk substitutes also do not
contain any of the biologically active immune
substances, or hormones or growth factors
that are found in human milk.
The effect of different breastmilk substitutes
on clinical outcomes is important to consider
when choosing which breastmilk substitutes to
use for LBW infants who cannot be fed human
milk. The following are reviewed below:
• Locally prepared animal milk;
• Pre-term versus standard infant formula
during the frst few days of life;
• Nutrient-enriched formula versus stand-
ard formula after discharge from the
hospital.
lOcallY PrePared aniMal Milk
results
No studies examining the impact on clinical
outcomes were located.
recommendations
No policy statements on the use of local prepa-
rations of animal milk were located from inter-
national or national organizations in developed
or developing countries. Standard practice in
neonatal units of developing countries is to
provide artifcial infant formula when human
milk is not available. If artifcial infant formula
is not available, then pasteurized (heat treated/
boiled to 62 °C) and diluted animal milk (100
ml milk + 50 ml water) has been used with
sugar (10 g to 100 ml milk + 50 ml water) and
nutritional supplements (iron, zinc, copper,
manganese and iodine, vitamins A, D, E, K, C,
B
1
, B
2
, B
6
, B
12
, niacin, folic acid, pantothenic
acid and biotin) added, as available. It was not
possible to provide additional recommenda-
tions due to insuffcient evidence.
Pre-terM verSuS Standard
inFant FOrMula durinG the
FirSt Few daYS OF liFe
results
Effects on mortality and morbidity
No studies, which examined the impact of pre-
term compared with standard infant formula
on mortality rates or serious clinical disease in
LBW infants, were located.
Effect on neurodevelopment
One large RCT was located which examined
the impact of term and pre-term formula on
neurodevelopmental outcomes in pre-term
infants (244, 245) (see summary Table 2.3.1). In
this multicentre study, Lucas et al randomized
424 UK pre-term infants (whose mothers did
not intend to breastfeed) to receive pre-term
or standard infant formula from birth until
a weight of 2000 g was attained. Lucas et al
reported signifcant advantages in psycho-
motor developmental scores at 18 months in
infants fed pre-term formula (244). This effect
was greater in two subgroups – in infants who
were small for gestation and in males (see sum-
mary Table 2.3.1). In a follow-up of partici-
pants of the same trial at 8 years of age, Lucas
et al reported no signifcant beneft in overall
IQ in the pre-term formula-fed infants (245).
However, there was a signifcant advantage in
verbal intelligence quotient among boys fed
pre-term infant formula. In a post-hoc analy-
sis, the incidence of cerebral palsy was signif-
cantly lower in the pre-term compared to the
standard infant-formula-fed group (see sum-
mary Table 2.3.1).
Effect on malnutrition
Only one study was located which examined
the long-term impacts of pre-term and stand-
ard infant formula on growth (182). It reported
signifcantly higher weight gain at hospital
discharge in infants fed pre-term formula but
no signifcant differences in weight, height or
head circumference at 18 months and at 7½–8
years in infants who had been fed pre-term or
standard infant formula (see summary Table
2.3.2).
57 results
Effect on bone mineralization
Morley and Lucas conducted a large RCT
which examined the effect of pre-term com-
pared with standard infant formula on bone
mineralization (182). No signifcant differ-
ences in bone mineral calcium, bone mineral
density and osteocalcin were measured at fol-
low-up of 244 infants at age 8–12 years (186).
Effect on blood pressure, insulin
resistance and lipid profle during
adolescence
Data from follow-up at age 13–16 years of par-
ticipants of the trials conducted by Lucas et
al have recently been published (24, 25, 183).
There were no signifcant differences between
infants fed pre-term formula or a standard
infant formula in mean arterial blood pres-
sure (–1.5 mm Hg, 95%CI –3.9 to 2.0, P=0.51),
fasting 32–33 split proinsulin (–23.1%, –48%
to 1.8%, P=0.07), or LDL/HDL ratio (–0.3,
95%CI –0.7 to 0.3, P=0.07).
conclusions and implications
There is some evidence that pre-term infant
formula is better than standard infant for-
mula for pre-term infants <1500 g at birth.
Infants (<1500 g) fed pre-term infant formula
had higher psychomotor developmental scores
than those fed standard infant formula up to
18 months of age. Although there was no over-
all effect observed in these children at 7½–8
years of age, there was some effect on verbal
IQ scores in a subgroup. In infants <1500 g,
pre-term compared to standard infant for-
mula also improved growth during the neona-
tal period, but there is no evidence that this
beneft was sustained during later infancy and
childhood. No other longer-term benefts (e.g.
related to blood pressure, serum lipid profle
or pro-insulin levels) have been reported.
No studies from developing countries were
located. In case breastmilk feeding is not pos-
sible, it may be preferable to use pre-term
infant formula for pre-term infants <1500 g at
birth. LBW infants with birth weight >1500 g
are not likely to beneft from the use of pre-
term infant formula and can be given standard
infant formula in case breastmilk feeding is
not possible.
recommendations
Policy statements from international and
national organizations confrm the impor-
tance of providing mother’s own breastmilk
for the LBW infant. For the nonhuman-milk-
fed infant, pre-term formula is recommended
until the infant attains a body weight of 2000 g,
followed by iron-fortifed standard infant for-
mula until the infant is 12 months of age. The
fndings from this review support these rec-
ommendations.
58 Optimal feeding Of lOw-birth-weight infants: technical review
SuMMARy TABLE 2.3.2
Effect of pre-term formula compared with standard infant formula on growth outcomes in LBW infants
Study, Design Approximate proportion of
(Level of Inclusion participants with gestation age
a
Effect measure
evidence) criteria <32 wk 32–36 wk ≥37 wk Comparison groups outcome measure [95% CI]
Mean difference
Morley and Birth weight 80% 20% None Infants of mothers Weight gain in neonatal 3.2
Lucas (182) <1850 g choosing not to provide period (g/kg/day) (1.8, 4.6)
RCT (LII) breast milk allocated
to receive pre-term Length gain in neonatal 0.2
formula (n=67) period (mm/d) (-0.07, 0.47)
compared with infants
who were allocated Weight at 18 months 0.2
to receive a standard post term (kg) (-0.32, 0.72)
infant formula (n=68)
Length at 18 months 1.2
post term (cm) (-0.28, 2.68)
Weight at 7.5–8 years 0.3
post term (kg) (-1.0, 1.6)
Length at 7.5–8 years 1.3
post term (cm) (-0.71, 3.31)
a
If gestational age was not available in the publication, infants with birth weight <1500 g are assumed to have <32 wk gestation, those weighing
1501–2000 g to have 32–36 wk gestation, and those weighing 2001–2500 g to have a gestation of 37 weeks or more.
SuMMARy TABLE 2.3.1
Effect on neurodevelopment of pre-term formula compared with standard infant formula from birth until LBW infants attained a
weight of 2000 g
Study, Design Approximate proportion of
(Level of Inclusion participants with gestation age
a
outcome Effect measure
evidence) criteria <32 wk 32–36 wk ≥37 wk Comparison groups measure [95% CI]
Difference in
mean score
Lucas et al Birth weight 80% 20% None Infants of mothers choosing Bayley mental 6.0
(244) <1850 g not to provide breastmilk development (-0.4, 12.6)
RCT (LII) allocated to receive pre-term index score at
formula (n=81) compared with 18 months
infants who were allocated to
receive a standard infant Psychomotor 14.7
formula (n=79) development (8.7, 20.7)
index score at
18 months
Lucas et al Birth weight 80% 20% None Infants of mothers choosing Verbal IQ at All children:
(245) <1850 g not to provide breastmilk 7.5–8 years 4.8
RCT (LII) allocated to receive pre-term with (-0.6 to 10.2)
formula (n=67) compared with abbreviated
infants who were allocated to Weschler Boys: 12.2
receive a standard infant intelligence (3.7 to 20.6)
formula (n=66) scale for
children Girls: -2.2
(-9.0 to 4.6)
a
If gestational age was not available in the publication, infants with birth weight <1500 g are assumed to be <32 wk gestation, those weighing
1501–2000 g to be 32–36 wk gestation, and those weighing 2001–2500 g to have a gestation of 37 weeks or more.
59 results
nutrient-enriched FOrMula
verSuS Standard FOrMula
results
Effect on mortality and morbidity
No studies were located which examined the
impact of infant formula on mortality rates or
serious clinical disease in LBW infants.
Effect on neurodevelopment
Two RCTs was located which examined the
impact of nutrient-enriched formula on neu-
rodevelopmental outcomes, compared with
standard infant formula (160, 246). Lucas et al
randomized 284 UK pre-term infants (whose
mothers did not intend to breastfeed) to receive
nutrient-enriched or standard infant formula
from hospital discharge until 9 months of
chronological age (160). There was a 2.8-point
advantage in Bayley’s psychomotor index sub-
scale in infants fed nutrient-enriched formula
when they had reached 18 months of chrono-
logical age, but this difference was not statis-
tically signifcant. There was no difference in
mental development scores in the two study
groups (see summary Table 2.3.3). Cooke
et al randomized 125 US pre-term infants
(whose mothers did not intend to breast-
feed) to receive nutrient-enriched or standard
infant formula from hospital discharge until
6 months of chronological age (246). He also
did not fnd a statistically signifcant differ-
ence in Bayley’s mental development index or
psychomotor development index at 18 months
post-term. Meta-analysis of data from Cooke
et al and Lucas et al did not fnd a statistically
signifcant difference in either the mental
development index (WMD 0.23, 95%CI –2.99
to 3.45) or psychomotor development index
(WMD 0.56, 95%CI –1.95 to 3.07)) (247). No
longer-term follow-up for neurodevelopment
has been reported.
Effect on malnutrition
Six studies were located which examined
the impacts of nutrient-enriched formula on
growth outcomes (160, 161, 246, 248–250).
Studies examining long-term growth impacts
are summarized in Table 2.3.4. Litmanowitz
(249), de Curtis et al (250) and Cooke et al
(246) did not fnd any statistically signifcant
short-term growth gains in their nutrient-
enriched formula groups. However, Carver et
al (248), Lucas et al (160) and Cooke et al (246)
reported variable long-term (up to 18 months
of age) linear and weight gains in their nutri-
ent-enriched formula groups. Meta-analysis of
data from Cooke et al and Lucas et al found
a statistically signifcant effect of calorie and
protein-enriched formula milk on crown-heel
length at 18 months post-term (WMD 9.8,
95%CI 2.9, 16.6 mm), but not on weight (WMD
24.0, 95%CI –4.1 to 51.9 g), or head circumfer-
ence (WMD 0.3, 95%CI –3.6 to 4.3 mm) (247).
In the study of term SGA infants by Fewtrell et
al, infants fed nutrient-enriched formula had
signifcantly greater gains in length and head
circumference at 9 and 18 months chronologi-
cal age (161). He also reported that the dietary
effects were independent of the pattern of
growth retardation. No studies were located
which reported impacts on standard deviation
scores or malnutrition rates.
conclusions and implications
There is weak evidence that nutrient-enriched
formula results in higher weight and length
gains over standard infant formula in pre-term
infants. There is no evidence of beneft on any
other outcomes. There is some evidence that
term SGA infants fed nutrient-enriched for-
mula had improved ponderal, linear and head
growth. The longer-term implications of faster
growth in these infants on later blood pres-
sure, insulin resistance and lipid profle needs
to be carefully examined before making any
recommendations for use of nutrient-enriched
formula.
No studies from developing countries were
located. Considering the weak evidence of ben-
efts and substantially higher costs of nutrient-
enriched formula, its routine use cannot be
justifed in developing country settings.
recommendations
Policy statements from international and
national organizations confrm the impor-
tance of providing mother’s own breastmilk
60 Optimal feeding Of lOw-birth-weight infants: technical review
for LBW infants. For the nonhuman-milk-
fed infant, pre-term formula is recommended
until the infant attains a body weight of 2000 g,
followed by iron-fortifed standard infant for-
SuMMARy TABLE 2.3.3
Effect of nutrient-enriched formula compared with standard infant formula on neurodevelopment in LBW infants
Study, Design Approximate proportion of
(Level of Inclusion participants with gestation age
a
outcome Effect measure
evidence) criteria <32 wk 32–36 wk ≥37 wk Comparison groups measure [95% CI]
Difference in
mean score
Lucas et al Birth weight 70% 30% None Infants of mothers choosing Bayley mental 0.9 (-3.3, 5.0)
(160) <1750 g not to provide breastmilk development
RCT (LII) allocated to receive nutrient- index score at
enriched formula (n=91) 18 months
compared with infants who
were allocated to receive for Psychomotor 2.8 (-1.3, 6.8)
9mo a standard infant formula development
(n=93) after discharge from index score at
the hospital 18 months
Cooke et al Birth weight 80% 20% None Infants of mothers choosing Bayley mental -1.0 (-6.4, 4.4)
(246) <1750 g not to provide breastmilk development
RCT (LII) allocated to receive nutrient- index score at
enriched formula (n=49) 18 months
compared with infants who
were allocated to receive for Psychomotor -1.0 (-4.3, 2.3)
6mo a standard infant formula development
(n=54) after discharge from index score at
the hospital 18 months
a
If gestational age was not available in the publication, infants with birth weight <1500 g are assumed to be <32 wk gestation, those weighing
1501–2000 g to be 32–36 wk gestation, and those weighing 2001–2500 g to have a gestation of 37 weeks or more.
mula until the infant is 12 months of age. It
was not possible to provide additional recom-
mendations due to insuffcient evidence.
6T results
SuMMARy TABLE 2.3.4
Effect of nutrient-enriched post-discharge formula compared with standard infant formula on growth outcomes in LBW infants
Study, Design Approximate proportion of
(Level of Inclusion participants with gestation age
a
Effect measure
evidence) criteria <32 wk 32–36 wk ≥37 wk Comparison groups outcome measure [95% CI]
Difference
in means
Lucas et al Birth weight 70% 30% None Infants of mothers Weight (kg) at 9mo 0.37
(160) <1750 g choosing not to provide (0.084, 0.66)
RCT (LII) breastmilk allocated Length (cm) at 9mo 1.10
to receive post- (0.31, 1.89)
discharge formula Head circumference 0.001
(n=116) compared (cm) at 9 mo (-0.45, 0.46)
with infants who were
allocated to receive a Weight (kg) at 18mo 0.094
standard infant formula (-0.26, 0.44)
(n=113) after discharge Length (cm) at 0.82
from the hospital 18 mo (-0.039, 1.69)
Head circumference -0.38
(cm) at 18 mo (-0.90, 0.13)
Carver et al Pre-term infants 100% None None Infants allocated to Weight (kg) at 0.51
(248) <1800 g receive nutrient-enriched 12 mo (-0.26, 1.28)
RCT (LII) formula (n=27)
compared with infants Length (cm) at 1.1 (-0.87, 3.1)
allocated to receive a 12 mo
standard infant formula
(n=27) from just before Head circumference 0.3 (-0.87, 3.1)
hospital discharge to (cm) at 12 mo
12 mo age
Cooke et al Birth weight 80% 20% None Infants of mothers Weight (kg) at 0.05
(246) <1750 g choosing not to provide 18 mo (0.003, 0.097)
RCT (LII) breastmilk allocated to
receive nutrient-enriched Length (cm) at 1.1 ( -0.02, 2.2)
formula (n=49) 18 mo
compared with infants
allocated to receive a Head circumference 0.5 (-0.1, 1.1)
standard infant formula (cm) at 18 mo
(n=54) after discharge
from the hospital for 6mo
Fewtrell et al Healthy term None None 100% Infants allocated to Enrolment to 9 mo
(161) infants with birth receive nutrient-enriched Weight (kg) gain 0.22
RCT (LII) weights below the formula (n=152) (-0.01, 0.45)
10th centile compared with infants Length (cm) gain 1.1 (0.38, 1.8)
who were allocated to Head circumference 0.5 (0.1, 0.9)
receive a standard infant (cm) gain
formula (n=147) after
discharge from the Enrolment to 18 mo
hospital Weight (kg) gain 0.25
(-0.032, 0.54)
Length (cm) gain 1.0 (0.25, 1.82)
Head circumference 0.63 (0.2, 1.1)
(cm) gain
a
If gestational age was not available in the publication, infants with birth weight <1500 g are assumed to have <32 wk gestation, those weighing
1501–2000 g to have 32–36 wk gestation, and those weighing 2001–2500 g to have a gestation of 37 weeks or more.
62 Optimal feeding Of lOw-birth-weight infants: technical review
3. FEEDIng METHODS
Enteral feeding is defned as the administra-
tion of any feed into the gastrointestinal tract
and includes intragastric feeding, feeding
by cup, bottle, spoon or paladai, and breast-
feeding. In this section we review the types of
enteral feeding options available. Intravenous
fuids and total parenteral nutrition are not
discussed. A pre-term infant’s progression to
breastfeeding must pass through a number
of stages before the infant begins to swallow,
coordinate and then learn proper attachment
and sucking. Different forms of enteral and
oral feeding have been used during this transi-
tion.
3.1 Oral feeding
Oral feeding methods discussed below include
administration of any feed directly into the
oral cavity by a method other than breast-
feeding: cup, paladai, spoon, syringe, direct
expression and bottle feeding. In this section,
studies that compared these different oral
feeding methods are compared. The studies
utilized small medicine cups, standard infant
feeding bottles, standard 10 or 20 ml syringes,
or a paladai shaped like a small cup with an
open spout on one side.
results
Effects on mortality, serious morbidity,
neurodevelopment or malnutrition
No studies were located which compared the
effects of different oral feeding methods (cup,
bottle, paladai, spoon, direct expression) on
mortality, severe morbidity, neurodevelop-
ment, growth or malnutrition rates in LBW
infants.
Effects on other important outcomes
Breastfeeding rates, at the time of discharge
from hospital or at subsequent follow-ups, and
physiological parameters were the outcomes
reported in studies that compared different
feeding methods. Most studies compared cup
feeding with bottle feeding. One Indian study
compared cup, bottle and paladai feeding
(251). No studies were identifed that com-
pared spoon feeding or direct expression of
breastmilk into the infant’s mouth with other
oral feeding methods.
Only one RCT (Level II evidence) from
Australia, which compared the effect of cup
feeding with bottle feeding on breastfeeding
patterns (see Table 3.1.1) (252), reported that
infants randomized to cup feeds were more
likely to be fully breastfed (with no other types
of milk or solids other than breastmilk) on
discharge home (odds ratio [OR] 1.73, 95%CI
1.04 to 2.88), and had a longer length of stay in
hospital (hazard ratio [HR] 0.71, 95%CI 0.55
to 0.92). The prevalence of any breastfeed-
ing was apparently higher in the cup-feeding
group compared with the bottle-feeding group
at 3 and 6 months, but the differences were
not statistically signifcant. Another small
RCT showed no differences in the proportion
of infants receiving any breastfeeding at dis-
charge between cup-fed and bottle-fed pre-
term infants, but there was a higher prevalence
of breastfeeding at 3 months among those who
were breastfeeding at the frst follow-up visit
(253). This study did not report the effect on
exclusive or full breastfeeding rates.
Small observational studies (LIII-3 evi-
dence) from the UK, US and India have
reported mixed effects of cup, bottle and
paladai feeding on breastfeeding rates, milk
volume intake, feeding duration, and feeding
diffculties at the time of hospital discharge
in LBW infants (32–42 weeks gestation) (251,
254–256). These studies all had problems with
observer and selection biases, insuffcient dis-
cussion of confounding factors, and lack of
follow-up after hospital discharge.
The impact of oral feeding on physiological
parameters in LBW infants has been reported
in four studies (251, 253, 256, 257). Rocha et
al reported no signifcant differences between
cup-fed and bottle-fed infants with regard to
the time spent in feeding, feeding problems,
weight gain, or breastfeeding prevalence at
discharge or at the 3-month follow-up (253).
A possible benefcial effect of cup feeding was
63 results
a lower incidence of desaturation episodes
(13.6% versus 35.3%, CF vs. BF, P = .024).
Another US study used a randomized cross-
over trial in pre-term infants (LII evidence)
(257) to receive either 1 cup feed followed
by 1 bottle feed, or 1 bottle feed followed by
1 cup feed when they reached 34 weeks cor-
rected gestational age (there was a minimum
of 1 intragastric feeding between the two oral
feeding sessions). Lower mean heart rate and
oxygen saturations in bottle-fed compared to
cup-fed infants were reported in this study,
but all other physiological parameters were
not signifcantly different. Finally two small
observational studies, which examined the
impacts of different oral feeding methods in
LBW infants (LIII-3 evidence) (Malhotra et
al (251): cup, bottle and paladai; and Howard
et al (256): cup and bottle), reported small
deteriorations in physiological parameters in
bottle-fed infants.
conclusions and implications
None of the available studies examined the
effects of different oral feeding methods on
mortality, morbidity, neurodevelopment or
malnutrition. The fndings are largely based
on three RCTs and small observational stud-
ies which examined the effect of cup feeding
compared to bottle feeding on breastfeed-
ing rates at the time of hospital discharge in
pre-term infants. Some studies, including the
larger RCT, reported modest benefts of cup
feeding on EBF rates at discharge from hospi-
tal. Evidence was insuffcient to allow conclu-
sive statements on the safety of the methods.
Overall, the above fndings suggest that cup
feeding has some benefts over bottle feeding
with regard to achieving full breastfeeding and
physiological stability in pre-term infants.
Most of the studies comparing cup feeding
with bottle feeding were conducted in devel-
oped countries. Avoidance of bottle feeding
SuMMARy TABLE 3.1.1
Effects of cup feeding compared with bottle feeding on breastfeeding patterns in LBW infants
Study, Design Approximate proportion of
(Level of Inclusion participants with gestation age
a
Effect measure
evidence) criteria <32 wk 32–36 wk ≥37 wk Comparison groups outcome measure [95% CI]
Collins et al Gestational age 62% 38% None After breastfeeding or Proportion of infants OR 1.73
(252) <34 weeks, no when mother unable fully breastfed at [1.04, 2.38]
RCT (LII) previous cup or to be present, infants hospital discharge
bottle feeding, fed by cup (n = 151)
mother intended compared with infants Proportion of infants OR 1.37
to breastfeed fed by bottle (n = 152) receiving any BF at [0.78, 2.38]
hospital discharge
Proportion of infants OR 1.31
receiving any BF at [0.77, 2.23]
3 months after
discharge
Proportion of infants OR 1.44
receiving any BF at [0.81, 2.57]
6 months after
discharge
Rocha et al Gestational age None 100% None Infants randomized Proportion of infants RR 1.03
(253) 32–36 weeks to cup feeding (n=44) receiving any breast- (0.83, 1.28)
(RCT LII) compared with those feeding at discharge
randomized to bottle
feeding (n=34)
a
If gestational age was not available in the publication, infants with birth weight <1500 g are assumed to be <32 wk gestation, those weighing
1501–2000 g to be 32–36 wk gestation, and those weighing 2001–2500 g to have a gestation of 37 weeks or more.
64 Optimal feeding Of lOw-birth-weight infants: technical review
is likely to have greater benefts in developing
countries because of the higher risk of con-
tamination of bottle feeds in these settings.
recommendations
Cup feeding is recommended as a feeding
method for sick and LBW infants by WHO and
UNICEF. Bottle feeding is not recommended.
Standard practice in many neonatal units is to
progress from cup feeding to breastfeeding,
or bottle feeding to breastfeeding, or paladai
feeding to breastfeeding. The fndings from
this review support these recommendations.
3.2 Intragastric feeding
Intragastric feeding involves the administra-
tion of milk feeds through a thin small plastic
tube that passes through the nose or mouth
directly into the stomach. Intragastric feed-
ing is commonly used in developed countries
when infants are too developmentally imma-
ture to swallow or coordinate feeds or when
more mature LBW infants have associated
pathology which might limit oral feeding. This
is generally before 32 weeks gestation but can
extend to 34–35 weeks gestation depending on
the developmental maturity of the infant. Con-
siderable skill is required to insert intragastric
tubes in small infants. Nasogastric rather than
orogastric tubes appear to be more commonly
used in pre-term babies with ≥32 weeks ges-
tation as they are more easily fxed in place.
However, nasogastric tubes partially occlude
the nasal passages and may impair respira-
tory function. Orogastric tubes may be better
for very premature infants who usually have
smaller nostrils. Intragastric feeding is usu-
ally provided as either a bolus feeding session
(where a calculated amount of milk is poured
into the tube over a period of 10–30 minutes
every 1–3 hours, depending on the infant’s
weight and gestational age) or a continuous
feed (where the tube is attached to a syringe
pump, from where the milk runs through the
tube into the infant’s stomach continuously
for 18–24 hours).
The following issues are reviewed below:
• Use of nasogastric versus orogastric
tubes;
• Bolus versus continuous intragastric
feeding.
uSe OF naSOGaStric verSuS
OrOGaStric tuBeS
results
Effects on mortality, serious morbidity,
neurodevelopment and malnutrition
No studies were located which examined the
effects of intragastric tube type on mortality,
severe morbidity, neurodevelopment, growth
or malnutrition in LBW infants.
Effects on other important outcomes
In one RCT (LII evidence), which examined
the effects of intragastric tubes in pre-term
infants on gastrointestinal tolerance (see sum-
mary Table 3.2.1), 70 Swedish VLBW infants
weighing <1200 g (<29 weeks gestation) were
randomized to receive continuous nasogas-
tric, intermittent orogastric or intermittent
nasogastric tube feeds (258). The primary
analysis was the comparison between con-
tinuous and intermittent/bolus tube feeding.
A secondary objective was to assess the impact
of orogastric versus nasogastric tube feed-
ing on gastrointestinal tolerance and infant
behaviour; however, no sample size calcula-
tions were performed and the study numbers
were small (n=46). No signifcant differences
between orogastric and nasogastric tube feed-
ing on the time to achieve full enteral feeding,
total energy intake or total protein intake were
reported.
One RCT (LII evidence) (258) and three
descriptive studies (LIV evidence) examined
the effects of intragastric tubes in pre-term
infants on physiological parameters (259–
261). The study of Dsilna et al, described
above, examined the impacts on physiologi-
cal parameters as a post-hoc analysis and
reported no signifcant impacts on respiratory
distress syndrome, mechanical ventilation or
need for supplemental oxygen (see summary
Table 3.2.2). Greenspan et al examined lung
function in a small US study of 39 healthy
65
infants; 24 of them had an orogastric or naso-
gastric tube in situ (14 weighed <2000 g and
10 weighed >2000 g at birth); 15 had no intra-
gastric tube (260). No infant showed clinical
compromise after nasogastric and orogastric
tube placement, but infants <2000 g at birth
had signs of subclinical pulmonary compro-
mise (diminished minute ventilation, low
respiratory rate, increased pulmonary resis-
tance, resistive work of breathing, and peak
transpulmonary pressure change) with naso-
gastric compared to orogastric tube place-
ment. Daga et al examined oxygen saturations
during the passage of orogastric and nasogas-
tric tubes and 10–30 minutes after feeds in 10
stable Indian newborns (4 term infants with
birth weights >2500 g and 6 pre-term infants
of 31–35 weeks gestation) (261). Mean oxygen
saturations were signifcantly lower during the
passage of nasogastric compared to orogastric
tubes and persisted for up to 30 minutes after
feeding. In a small UK study, nasal resistance
and total airway resistance were reported to
increase after nasal tubes were inserted into
the nostrils of 20 LBW infants <32 weeks ges-
tation (259). The infants were also assessed one
results
month after removal of the nasogastric (n=20)
or orogastric tube (n=20); no differences were
detected in nasal resistance and total airway
resistance between the two groups. No stud-
ies provided data about potential confounding
factors or selection and observer biases.
conclusions and implications
Overall, data on the effect of nasogastric com-
pared with orogastric feeding tubes on clinical
outcomes are limited. There is some evidence
that physiological parameters may be worse
with nasogastric tube placement in very pre-
term infants.
recommendations
No consensus statements or expert committee
reports were located which recommended oro-
gastric or nasogastric tubes in LBW infants.
Both nasogastric and orogastric feeding tubes
are used in neonatal intensive care units. Some
units use orogastric rather than nasogastric
feeding tubes for very premature infants. It
was not possible to provide additional recom-
mendations due to insuffcient evidence.
SuMMARy TABLE 3.2.1
Effects of nasogastric compared with orogastric feeding on feeding patterns in LBW infants
Study, Design Approximate proportion of
(Level of Inclusion participants with gestation age
a
Effect measure
evidence) criteria <32 wk 32–36 wk ≥37 wk Comparison groups outcome measure [95% CI]
Dsilna et al Birth weight 100% None None Nasogastric tube Time to achieve full WMD -2.7
(258) <1200 g, feeding (n=22) enteral feeding (days) [-12.31, 6.92]
RCT (LII) gestation compared with
24–29 weeks orogastric tube Total energy intake WMD 1
feeding (n=24) (kcal/kg/day) [-9.06, 11.06]
a
If gestational age was not available in the publication, infants with birth weight <1500 g are assumed to be <32 wk gestation, those weighing
1501–2000 g to be 32–36 wk gestation, and those weighing 2001–2500 g to have a gestation of 37 weeks or more.
66 Optimal feeding Of lOw-birth-weight infants: technical review
BOluS verSuS cOntinuOuS
intraGaStric FeedinG
results
Effects on mortality
No studies were located which examined the
effects of bolus and continuous intragastric
feeding on mortality in LBW infants.
Effects on severe morbidity –
necrotising enterocolitis
A meta-analysis of all available RCTs up to the
year 2003 (four US trials) (Level I evidence)
indicated no signifcant difference in feed-
ing infants <1500 g with bolus or continuous
regimens on proven necrotising enterocolitis
(Bells stage II or greater) (262) (see summary
Table 3.2.3). In three trials there were no dif-
ferences between groups in the incidence of
proven necrotising enterocolitis (263–265)
and the fourth trial showed no cases of necro-
tising enterocolitis in the study infants (see
summary Table 3.2.3) (266). One additional
study was published after the meta-analysis
(258). Dsilna et al randomized 70 Swedish
VLBW infants <1200 g (<29 weeks gestation)
to receive continuous nasogastric or intermit-
tent orogastric or intermittent nasogastric
tube feeding (258) (Table 3.2.3). The primary
analysis was to compare continuous and inter-
mittent/bolus tube feeding; however, no sam-
ple size calculations were performed and the
study numbers were small (n=68). Dsilna et al
reported that only two infants in the continu-
ous group and one infant in the bolus feed-
ing group developed necrotising enterocolitis,
Summary Table 3.2.2
Effects of nasogastric compared with orogastric feeding on physiological parameters in LBW infants
Study, Design Approximate proportion of
(Level of Inclusion participants with gestation age
a
Effect measure
evidence) criteria <32 wk 32–36 wk ≥37 wk Comparison groups outcome measure [95% CI]
Dsilna et al Birth weight 100% None None Nasogastric tube Respiratory distress RR 1.09
(258) <1200 g, feeding (n = 22) syndrome [0.77, 1.53]
RCT (LII) gestation compared with
24–29 weeks orogastric tube Need for mechanical RR 1.31
feeding (n = 24) ventilatory support [0.91, 1.88]
a
If gestational age was not available in the publication, infants with birth weight <1500 g are assumed to be <32 wk gestation, those weighing
1501–2000 g to be 32–36 wk gestation, and those weighing 2001–2500 g to have a gestation of 37 weeks or more.
with no signifcant differences between the
two groups.
Effects on malnutrition
Meta-analyses of all available RCTs until 2003
(four US trials) (Level I evidence) indicated
no signifcant differences in feeding infants
(birth weights <1500 g) with bolus or con-
tinuous regimens on growth parameters (see
summary Table 3.2.4) (262). Only one RCT
demonstrated slower weight gain among the
continuously fed infants (264). All other tri-
als demonstrated no signifcant difference in
growth (263, 265, 266). No studies examin-
ing the impacts on malnutrition and standard
deviation scores were located and no studies
reporting outcomes in infants >1500 g were
located. Dsilna et al also reported no signif-
cant impacts on the time to regain birth weight
or lower limb growth in VLBW infants (Table
3.2.4).
Effects on other important outcomes
Three RCTs were located which reported the
impact of feeding infants <1500 g on respira-
tory complications such as apnoea, respiratory
distress syndrome and the need for ventila-
tory support (Level II evidence) (258, 264,
265) (see summary Table 3.2.5). Schanler et
al demonstrated a trend towards increased
number of apnoeic episodes during the study
period in infants fed by continuous feeding
method (264). On the other hand, Silvestre
et al reported that only infants in the inter-
mittent feeding group (750–999 g weight cat-
egory) had feedings withheld due to recurrent
67
apnoea (data not provided) (265), and Dsilna
et al reported no differences between the two
groups on the need for mechanical ventilatory
or continuous positive airway pressure sup-
port (258).
A meta-analysis of four US trials (Level I
evidence) also reported that infants took sig-
nifcantly longer to reach full enteral feeds when
fed by the continuous tube feeding method
compared to bolus feeding (262). However,
a recent study by Dsilna et al reported that
continuously fed VLBW infants achieved
full enteral feeding signifcantly faster than
the intermittently fed infants (adjusted haz-
ard ratio [HR] 1.86, 95%CI 1.07 to 3.22). In
a stratifed analysis according to birth weight,
the improvement was even more pronounced
in the smallest infants, those with birth
weights ≤850 g (adjusted HR 4.13, 95%CI 1.48
to 11.53).
No difference was reported in the one trial
that was designed to detect outcome on the
number of days to full oral feeds (264), and no
difference was reported in three RCTs on rates
of feeding tolerance (263, 265, 266). No studies
reporting outcomes in infants >1500 g were
located.
Nutrient losses from human milk during
tube feeding have been determined from labo-
ratory models. Fat and protein losses can occur
and continuous feeding has been reported to
result in signifcantly greater losses than bolus
feeding (267–269).
conclusions and implications
The fndings of this section are based on meta-
analyses or large RCTs performed in the US
or the UK in infants who weighed <1500 g at
birth. Infants reached full enteral feeds sooner
when fed by intermittent bolus tube feeding.
There is some evidence that continuous feed-
ing could result in loss of some nutrients that
stick to the syringe pump and tube. However,
the clinical risks and benefts of continuous
and bolus nasogastric tube feeding of milk
cannot be reliably discerned from the current
available evidence because of the small sam-
ple sizes and inconsistencies in controlling the
variables that affect the outcomes.
results
Infants <32 weeks gestation
(or birth weights <1500 g if gestation
is not available)
Impacts were variable in these infants but
there is some evidence that bolus feeding can
reduce the time to full enteral feeding; no con-
clusions can be made about other advantages
or disadvantages.
Infants 32–36 weeks gestation
(or birth weights 1500–2000 g if
gestation is not available)
There are no data for this group of infants
comparing continuous with bolus intragastric
feeding.
Term LBW infants (or birth weights
>2000 g if gestation is not available)
There are no data for this group of infants
comparing continuous with bolus intragastric
feeding. These infants do not routinely require
intragastric feeding.
All studies were conducted in developed
countries. An additional issue in developing
countries is that continuous feeding requires a
syringe pump and frequent monitoring, which
is often not possible in many maternity wards
or neonatal units. On the other hand, bolus
feeding requires only a gastric tube and moni-
toring of individual feeds which may be more
feasible in these settings.
recommendations
No consensus statements or expert committee
reports were located which examined the role
of bolus or continuous feeding in LBW infants.
Standard practice in many neonatal units is to
use bolus feeding in infants (<1500 g at birth)
with a gastric tube. The fndings from this
review support these recommendations.
68 Optimal feeding Of lOw-birth-weight infants: technical review
SuMMARy TABLE 3.2.3
Effects of continuous feeding compared with bolus feeding on necrotising enterocolitis in LBW infants
Study, Design Approximate proportion of
(Level of Inclusion participants with gestation age
a
Effect measure
evidence) criteria <32 wk 32–36 wk ≥37 wk Comparison groups outcome measure [95% CI]
Premji et al Birth weight 100% None None Continuous feeding Proven necrotising RR 0.96
(262) <1500 g (n=192) compared enterocolitis Bell’s [0.49, 1.90]
Meta-analysis with bolus feeding stage II or greater
of 4 RCTs (LI) (n=192)
Dsilna et al Birth weight 100% None None Continuous feeding Proven necrotising RR 4.18
(258) <1200 g, (n=22) compared enterocolitis Bell’s [0.40, 43.7]
RCT (LII) gestation with bolus feeding stage II or greater
24–29 weeks (n=46)
a
If gestational age was not available in the publication, infants with birth weight <1500 g are assumed to be <32 wk gestation, those weighing
1501–2000 g to be 32–36 wk gestation, and those weighing 2001–2500 g to have a gestation of 37 weeks or more.
SuMMARy TABLE 3.2.4
Effects of continuous feeding compared with bolus feeding on growth outcomes in LBW infants
Study, Design Approximate proportion of
(Level of Inclusion participants with gestation age
a
Effect measure
evidence) criteria <32 wk 32–36 wk ≥37 wk Comparison groups outcome measure [95% CI]
Premji et al Birth weight 100% None None Continuous feeding Days to regain WMD -0.6
(262) <1,500 g (n=192) compared birth weight [-1.78, 0.6]
Meta-analysis with bolus feeding
of 4 RCTs (LI) (n=192) Weight gain WMD -1.1
g/kg/day [-2.3, 0.03]
Dsilna et al Birth weight 100% None None Continuous feeding Time to regain birth WMD -0.1
(258) <1200 g, (n=22) compared weight (days) [-2.15, 1.95]
RCT (LII) gestation with bolus feeding
24-29 weeks (n=46 Growth rate of the WMD 0.1
lower leg, from birth [0.04, 0.16]
to 32 weeks post-
menstrual age
(mm/day)
Growth rate of the WMD 0.08
lower leg, from birth [0.03, 0.13]
to 36 weeks post-
menstrual age
(mm/day)
a
If gestational age was not available in the publication, infants with birth weight <1500 g are assumed to be <32 wk gestation, those weighing
1501–2000 g to be 32–36 wk gestation, and those weighing 2001–2500 g to have a gestation of 37 weeks or more.
69
4. FEEDIng SCHEDuLES
results
SuMMARy TABLE 3.2.5
Effects of continuous compared with bolus feeding on respiratory complications in LBW infants
Study, Design Approximate proportion of
(Level of Inclusion participants with gestation age
a
outcome Effect measure
evidence) criteria <32 wk 32–36 wk ≥37 wk Comparison groups measure [95% CI]
Schanler et Birth weight 100% None None Continuous feeding (n=86) Mean episodes WMD 14.0
al (264) <1500 g compared with bolus of apnoea/day [-0.2, 28.2]
RCT (LII) feeding (n=85)
Toce et al Birth weight 100% None None Continuous feeding (n=30) Mean episodes WMD -0.6
(266) <1500 g compared with bolus feeding of apnoea/day [-1.99, 0.79]
RCT (LII) (n=23)
Dsilna et al Birth weight 100% None None Continuous feeding (n=22) Respiratory RR 1.11
(258) <1200 g, compared with bolus feeding distress [0.85, 1.44]
RCT (LII) gestation (n=46) syndrome
24–29 weeks
Need for RR 0.95
mechanical [0.68, 1.33]
ventilatory
support
a
If gestational age was not available in the publication, infants with birth weight <1500 g are assumed to be <32 wk gestation, those weighing
1501–2000 g to be 32–36 wk gestation, and those weighing 2001–2500 g to have a gestation of 37 weeks or more.
4.1 Initiation of enteral feeding
Milk feeding is generally initiated in stable
infants >32 weeks gestation in the frst 24
hours of life. However, the optimal timing
of initiation of enteral feeding in infants <32
weeks gestation has been disputed. Practice
differs considerably in developed and devel-
oping countries. Trophic feeding or minimal
enteral nutrition (also known as low-volume
enteral feeding, gut priming, and early hypo-
caloric feeding) is utilized commonly in devel-
oped countries and is defned as any enteral
milk feed in the frst few days of life in sub-
nutritional quantities (e.g. 5–10 ml/kg/day on
the frst day), with parenteral nutrition pro-
viding the remainder of the infant’s nutrient
needs. It has been suggested that trophic feed-
ing can promote gut development and reduce
the time to enteral and breastfeeding without
the potential complications of high-volume
feeding (270). In developing countries, total
parenteral nutrition (TPN) has limited appli-
cation and many clinicians put LBW infants
on maintenance enteral feeds as quickly as
possible on day 1. However, other health prac-
titioners commence enteral feeding on day
2, after the infants have been assessed to be
stable and not developing respiratory distress
syndrome.
This section reviews the evidence for:
• trophic feeding or minimal enteral nutri-
tion, beginning on day 1 with volumes of
5–10 ml/kg/day;
• initiation of ‘maintenance’ enteral feed-
ing on day 1 with volumes >40ml/kg/
day.
Intragastric feeding, oral feeding and direct
breastfeeding are also considered.
trOPhic FeedinG Or MiniMal
enteral nutritiOn
results
A recently updated systematic review and
meta-analysis (271) summarized 10 trials of
trophic feedings compared with no feedings in
pre-term infants <33 weeks gestation, and one
trial which compared trophic feedings with
advanced feedings.
70 Optimal feeding Of lOw-birth-weight infants: technical review
Effects on mortality and
neurodevelopment
No studies were located which examined the
impact on mortality or neurodevelopment.
Effects on severe morbidity –
necrotising enterocolitis
A meta-analysis of nine studies with 650 par-
ticipants showed no signifcant difference
in the incidence of necrotising enterocolitis
among infants given trophic feedings or no
feedings, although the fndings do not exclude
an important effect (RR 1.16, 95%CI 0.75 to
1.79) (271).
Effects on malnutrition
No study examined the impact on standard
deviation scores or malnutrition rates. In eight
studies with 590 participants, the pooled effect
on the number of days to regain birth weight
was not signifcantly different in the trophic-
feeding and no-feeding groups (WMD –0.44
days, 95%CI –1.32 to 0.44).
Other important outcomes
Nine studies (617 participants) included in the
meta-analysis by Tyson et al (271) examined
the role of trophic feeding on the number of
days to reach full enteral feeding, and six stud-
ies (370 participants) examined the duration
of hospital stay. Trophic feeding resulted in
signifcant benefts in both these outcomes.
The WMD in number of days to reach full
enteral feeding was lower by 2.55 days in the
trophic feeding group (95%CI 0.99 to 4.12).
The duration of hospital stay was shorter by
11.44 days among infants in the trophic-feed-
ing group (95%CI 5.7 to 17.7).
conclusions and implications
The fndings of this section are based on meta-
analyses of RCTs from developed countries.
Signifcantly less time to reach full enteral
feeding was reported by the meta-analysis in
the trophic-feeding group, but this group also
had a higher incidence of necrotising entero-
colitis although the difference was not statisti-
cally signifcant. However, the 95% confdence
interval does not exclude an important increase
in the risk of necrotising enterocolitis which
could potentially outweigh any short- or long-
term benefts of trophic feedings.
The studies included in the meta-analyses
were heterogeneous and subject to observer
and diagnostic surveillance bias. All stud-
ies were performed in pre-term infants <33
weeks gestation and even the meta-analysis
had a limited sample size. All infants received
supplemental intravenous fuids or parenteral
feeds; the results are thus diffcult to extrap-
olate to developing country settings where
administration of intravenous fuids may not
be available.
recommendations
No consensus statements or expert committee
reports were located which examined the role
of trophic feedings in LBW infants. Standard
practice in some neonatal units is to provide
trophic feedings in infants weighing <1500 g
at birth in addition to total parenteral nutri-
tion. This review was unable to provide addi-
tional recommendations due to insuffcient
evidence.
initiatiOn OF ‘Maintenance’
enteral FeedinG
results
Effects on mortality
In the early 1960s, intravenous infusions were
technologically not feasible for newborn infants
and there was disagreement regarding the best
time to administer full maintenance enteral
fuids. A number of trials were conducted at
this time to compare the effects of initiation of
maintenance nasogastric feeds with no feeding
on day 1 of life. Key studies include three trials
from the US and UK in LBW infants, which
are summarized in Table 4.1.1 (Level III-3 evi-
dence and above) (272–274).
Cornblath et al randomized pre-term <1500
g infants into three groups who received dif-
ferent feeding regimens for the frst 72 hours
of life (272). The intravenous group received
65 ml/kg of 10% glucose intravenously for the
frst 24 hours of life and 75–85 ml/kg of 5%
7T
glucose in 0.22% saline from 48 to 72 hours.
The second group received nasogastric feeds of
60 ml/kg of 10% glucose in 12 equal feedings
on day 1 and 80 ml/kg of 5% glucose in 0.22%
saline in 8 equal feedings from 48 to 72 hours.
The third group received no food or fuids on
day 1 of life and enteral feedings (nasogastric
glucose and half-strength formula) from 48 to
72 hours with ‘the timing depending on the
condition of the infant’.
Wharton and Bower randomized all infants
<2250 g at birth to receive either early enteral
feeds (starting within 4 hours of birth at
30 ml/kg on day 1 and progressing to 45 ml/
kg on day 2, 60 ml/kg on day 3, and 75 ml/
kg on day 4) or small-volume later enteral
feeds (starting at 12–16 hours after birth at 8
ml/kg on day 1 and progressing to 16 ml/kg
on day 2, 24 ml/kg on day 3, and 30 ml/kg on
day 4) (273). The enteral feeds were undiluted
breastmilk for infants <2000 g and half-cream
evaporated milk for infants >2000 g. No intra-
venous fuids were provided and infants were
fed 1–3 hourly depending on tolerance.
Smallpeice and Davies examined the impact
of early feeding of human milk in 111 infants
from 1000–2000 g admitted to the Radcliffe
Infrmary in Oxford (274). These infants were
fed within 2 hours of birth with 60 ml/kg on
day 1 and progressed to 90 ml/kg on day 2,
120 ml/kg on day 3 and 150 ml/kg on day 4.
Infants were fed 1–3 hourly depending on tol-
erance. Smallpeice and Davies also included
‘comparison observations’ made during the
same 17-month period in infants who were
born in the Churchill Hospital, Oxford. These
infants were not fed until 4–32 hours after
birth. While the majority of these infants had
some feed during the frst 24 hours, the amount
and rate of increase over the 4 days was con-
siderably less than in the Radcliffe group. No
additional details were provided.
Cornblath et al reported lower mortality in
the infants given IV fuids but no difference in
death rates between the enterally fed infants
and those given no food or fuids on the frst
day of life. Smallpeice and Davies also reported
no signifcant difference between early and late
enterally fed groups. However, Wharton and
results
Bower reported a signifcant increase in mor-
tality in the early enteral feeding group, com-
pared to those fed smaller volumes from 12 to
16 hours. It is important to note that all these
studies had major design faws, including small
sample sizes in all studies (272–274) and use of
controls from a different hospital in one study
(274) . Infants who became unwell during the
study by Wharton and Bower were excluded.
No studies were located which examined the
impacts of early initiation of oral feeding in
term LBW infants.
Effects on malnutrition
Only two studies reported on the impact of
early nasogastric feeding on growth param-
eters in LBW infants (Level III-3 evidence and
above) (see summary Table 4.1.2) (272, 274).
Smallpeice and Davies indicated that there
was a signifcant improvement in the time to
regain birth weight in the early feeding group
among infants 1000–2000 g at birth, but
Cornbath reported no signifcant difference in
mean weight gain. No study reported on mal-
nutrition rates or standard deviation scores
and no studies were located which examined
the impacts of early initiation of oral feeding
or breastfeeding in term LBW infants.
Effects on other important outcomes
Three studies reported on the impact of early
nasogastric feeding on hypoglycaemia and
hyperbilirubinaemia in LBW infants (Level
III-3 evidence and above) (see summary Table
4.1.3) (272–274). Mixed results were reported.
No studies were located which examined the
impacts of early initiation of oral feeding or
breastfeeding in LBW infants, compared with
delayed feeding.
conclusions and implications
Limited data are available from small trials
during the 1960s in developed countries which
examined the impact of early nasogastric feed-
ing in pre-term infants. No study examined
the role of early initiation of oral feeding or
breastfeeding in infants with birth weights
>2000 g. All studies had important design
72 Optimal feeding Of lOw-birth-weight infants: technical review
faws. The available results indicate that very
pre-term infants may beneft from adminis-
tration of intravenous fuids and avoidance of
full enteral feeds on the frst day of life.
There are no studies from developing coun-
try settings, where administration of intrave-
nous fuids in all health facilities is less feasible
and could be associated with higher risks.
recommendations
No policy statements from international or
national organizations were located which
SuMMARy TABLE 4.1.1
Effects of initiation of maintenance enteral feeds in the frst 24 hours of life on mortality rates
Study, Design Approximate proportion of
(Level of Inclusion participants with gestation age
a
outcome Effect measure
evidence) criteria <32 wk 32–36 wk ≥37 wk Comparison groups measure [95% CI]
Cornblath et Birth weight 100% None None 60 ml/kg enteral glucose in Mortality rate RR 1.00
al (272) <1500 g the frst 24 hours (n=30) by day 14 [0.60, 1.66]
RCT (LII) compared with no food or
fuids for the frst 24 hours
(n=30)
60 ml/kg enteral glucose in Mortality rate RR 1.67
the frst 24 hours (n=30) by day 14 [0.87, 3.2]
compared with intravenous
10% glucose 65 ml/kg in
the frst 24 hours (n=30)
Wharton & Birth weight 22% 56% 22% Enteral milk feeds from 2–4 Mortality rate RR 2.93
Bower (273) <2250 g hours of birth, 30 ml/kg on at hospital [1.29, 6.67]
RCT (LII) day 1, increased to discharge
75 ml/kg/day by day 4
(n=108) compared with
enteral feeds started after
12–16 hours, 8 ml/kg/day
increased to 30 ml/kg/day
by day 4 (n = 116)
Smallpeice Birth weight 34% 66% None Enteral milk feeds 60 ml/kg Mortality rate RR 0.91
& Davies between 1000 on the frst day started from by day 28 [0.51, 1.64]
(274) and 2000 g 2 hours of birth (n=111)
Double cohort compared to lower volume
(LIII-3) enteral feeds started after
4–32 hours of birth (n=45)
a
If gestational age was not available in the publication, infants with birth weight <1500 g are assumed to have <32 wk gestation, those weighing
1501–2000 g to have 32–36 wk gestation, and those weighing 2001–2500 g to have a gestation of 37 weeks or more.
examined the role of early initiation of ‘main-
tenance’ enteral feeding in the frst 24 hours
of life in infants <1500 g. Many neonatal units
withhold enteral feeds in the frst 24 hours of
life in all infants <1500 g and give them intrave-
nous fuids. Other units provide small enteral
feeds to stable pre-term infants >1200 g on day
1 and monitor them closely. This review was
unable to provide additional recommenda-
tions due to insuffcient evidence.
73 results
SuMMARy TABLE 4.1.2
Effects of initiation of maintenance enteral feeds in the frst 24 hours of life on growth outcomes in LBW infants
Study, Design Approximate proportion of
(Level of Inclusion participants with gestation age
a
Effect measure
evidence) criteria <32 wk 32–36 wk ≥37 wk Comparison groups outcome measure [95% CI]
Cornblath et Birth weight 100% None None 60 ml/kg enteral Mean weight loss MD 0.2
al (272) <1500 g glucose in the frst from 72–87 hours [sd not
(LII) 24 hours (n=30) available]
compared with no food
or fuids for the frst
24 hours (n=30)
a
If gestational age was not available in the publication, infants with birth weight <1500 g are assumed to be <32 wk gestation, those weighing
1501–2000 g to be 32–36 wk gestation, and those weighing 2001–2500 g to have a gestation of 37 weeks or more.
SuMMARy TABLE 4.1.3
Key studies which examine the effects of initiation of maintenance enteral feeds in the frst 24 hours of life on biochemical
measures in LBW infants
Study, Design Approximate proportion of
(Level of Inclusion participants with gestation age
a
Effect measure
evidence) criteria <32 wk 32–36 wk ≥37 wk Comparison groups outcome measure [95% CI]
Cornblath et Birth weight 100% None None 60 ml/kg enteral Bilirubin concen- MD -1.8
al (272) <1500 g glucose in the frst tration (mg/100 ml) [-2.6, -1.0]
RCT (LII) 24 hours (n=30) at 72–87 hours of age
compared with no food
or fuids for the frst Bilirubin concen- MD -7.0
24 hours (n=30) tration (mg/100 ml) [-10.3, -3.68]
at 72–87 hours of age
Wharton & Birth weight 22% 56% 22% Enteral milk feeds Hyperbilirubinaemia RR 0.23
Bower (273) <2500 g from 2–4 hours of by hospital discharge [0.03, 1.96]
RCT birth, 30 ml/kg on (bilirubin
(LIII-1) day 1, increased to concentration
75 ml/kg/day by day >15 mg/100ml)
4 (n=108) compared
with enteral feeds Hypoglycaemia by RR 0.11
started after 12–16 hospital discharge [0.01, 2.09]
hours, 8 ml/kg/day (blood glucose
increased to 30 ml/ <20 mg/100 ml)
kg/day by day 4
(n=116)
Smallpeice & Birth weight 34% 66% None Enteral milk feeds Hyperbilirubinaemia RR 0.23
Davies (274) 1000– 2000 g 60 ml/kg on the frst by hospital discharge [0.13, 0.40]
RCT (LIII-3) day started from (bilirubin
2 hours of birth concentration
(n=111) compared to >15 mg/100ml)
lower volume enteral
feeds started after
4–32 hours of birth
(n=45)
a
If gestational age was not available in the publication, infants with birth weight <1500 g are assumed to be <32 wk gestation, those weighing
1501–2000 g to be 32–36 wk gestation, and those weighing 2001–2500 g to have a gestation of 37 weeks or more.
74 Optimal feeding Of lOw-birth-weight infants: technical review
4.2 Progression and scheduling
of enteral feeding
Scheduling of feeds is also a matter of some
controversy. Some clinicians advocate rapid
progression, while others increase the feeds
slowly to reduce the risk of aspiration and feed
intolerance. This section examines how much
and how frequently to feed LBW infants. We
frst review how feeds from day 1 to day 7
should be managed and if the daily feeding
volumes should be increased rapidly or slowly.
We then consider feeding in the second week
of life, examining the evidence on frequencies
and intervals (i.e. when to change from 1, 2, 3
and 4-hourly feeding regimens), and when an
infant should be given demand feeding.
The following issues are considered below:
• rapid versus slow progression of enteral
feeding;
• volume of enteral feeds in the second
week of life;
• feeding frequencies and intervals;
• demand or scheduled feeding.
raPid verSuS SlOw PrOGreSSiOn
OF enteral FeedinG durinG the
FirSt week OF liFe
This section examines the trials that compared
the clinical impacts of different enteral fuid
volume advancement rates in the frst week of
life (slow versus fast enteral feeding progres-
sion). All trials provided infants with intrave-
nous fuids in addition to enteral feeds.
results
Effects on mortality and neurodevelopment
No studies were located which examined
the impact of enteral feeding progression on
mortality rates or neurodevelopment in LBW
infants.
Effects on serious morbidity –
necrotising enterocolitis
A meta-analysis (275) of all available RCTs till
year 2003 examined the impacts on necrotis-
ing enterocolitis (Level I evidence). In three
US trials (276–278), the infants were provided
with supplemental intravenous glucose or total
parenteral nutrition (TPN). The meta-analysis
demonstrated no signifcant effect of varying
the rate (10–35 ml/kg/day) of feed advance-
ment in infants <2000 g from day 2 to 7 on
proven necrotising enterocolitis (Bell’s stage
II or greater) (see summary Table 4.2.1). In
these trials there were no differences between
groups in the incidence of proven necrotis-
ing enterocolitis, but the confdence intervals
were wide. Another trial in 2004 randomized
infants of birth weight 1000–2000 g to receive
30 ml/kg/day (rapid) or 20 ml/kg/day (slow
advancement) (see summary Table 4.2.1)
(279). This trial reported that three infants in
the intervention group and two in the control
group developed necrotising enterocolitis, but
the difference was not statistically signifcant.
No trial was located that examined the impact
in infants who did not receive intravenous
fuids.
One trial in VLBW infants (mean gesta-
tional age 28 weeks), who were given TPN for
the frst 10 days of life, compared trophic feed-
ings (20 ml/kg/day for 10 days after initiation
of feeds) with advancing the feeds (starting
with 20 ml/kg/day and increasing every day by
20 ml/kg/day until 140 ml/kg/day)(280). The
trial was stopped early because of the larger
number of cases of necrotising enterocolitis
in the group assigned to advancing feeding
volumes (7 vs. 1, one-sided Fischer exact test
value 0.03) (relative risk 7.1, 95%CI 0.9 to 56.2;
risk difference 8.6%, 95%CI 1% to 16.1%).
Effects on malnutrition
This meta-analysis (275) examined the impacts
on growth rates (Level I evidence) of the above
three US trials (276–278). A signifcantly
lower number of days to regain birth weight
was detected in those infants who received
rapid feeding progression (see summary Table
4.2.2). The impact on rates of malnutrition
was not reported. Caple et al reported in a later
trial that infants in the 30 ml/kg/day rapid
advancement group regained the birth weight
faster (Table 4.2.2) (279).
75
Effects on other important outcomes
This meta-analysis (275) also examined the
impacts on time to reach full enteral feeds
(Level I evidence) of the same three US trials
(276–278) (see Table 4.2.3) and concluded that
rapid progression of feed advancement signif-
cantly reduced the time to reach full enteral
feeds. Caple et al also reported that infants in
the 30 ml/kg/day rapid advancement group
had a reduced time to reach full enteral feeds
(see summary Table 4.2.2) (279). Berseth et al
reported that advancing the feeds reduced the
time to reach full enteral feeding (shorter by
13.4 days, 95%CI 8.2 to 18.6) (280).
conclusions and implications
The fndings of this section are based on meta-
analyses of RCTs from developed countries
and two subsequently published RCTs. The
studies included in the meta-analyses were
heterogeneous and subject to observer and
diagnostic surveillance bias. All the infants
received supplemental intravenous fuids or
parenteral feeds so that the results are diffcult
to extrapolate to developing country settings
where administration of intravenous fuids
may not be feasible. The results show that fast
rates of advancement of feeding (up to 35 ml/
kg/day) may shorten the time to reach full
enteral feeds and may increase weight gain but
may increase the risk of necrotizing entero-
colitis in infants of <32 weeks gestation. There
is limited information regarding safety (broad
confdence intervals for incidence of necrotis-
ing enterocolitis) and the effect on length of
hospital stay.
Infants <32 weeks gestation
(or birth weights <1500 g if gestation
is not available)
In infants 1000–1500 g, rapid progression of
enteral feeding decreases the time to regain
birth weight and may reduce the time till full
enteral feeding. The limited information on
safety suggests that rapid progression may
be safe, but the wide confdence intervals do
not exclude an important effect on necrotis-
ing enterocolitis. One RCT in pre-term infants
results
with mean birth weight about 1000 g showed
a higher risk of necrotizing enterocolitis even
with “slow” progression of feeding (20 ml/kg/
day) as compared to trophic feedings.
Infants 32–36 weeks gestation
(or birth weights 1500–2000 g if
gestation is not available)
Only 20% of infants in the studies included
in the meta-analyses were of this gestation
period and thus it is diffcult to draw any con-
clusions for this group. However, these infants
are more robust and should accept rapid feed-
ing regimens better than the more immature
infants.
Term LBW infants (or birth weights
>2000 g if gestation is not available)
No data were available for this subgroup. How-
ever, these infants are developmentally mature
and should tolerate full demand feeding from
day 1 or 2.
recommendations
No policy statements from international or
national organizations were located which
examined the role of rapid progression of
enteral feeding in LBW infants or enteral fuid
rates or feeding regimens in LBW infants. Flu-
ids are commonly provided at 60 ml/kg/day on
day 1, with daily stepwise increments of up to
20 ml/kg/day for pre-term infants. Some units
use a slower feeding progression (≤10 ml/kg/
day for the frst few days) for pre-term infants
with birth weights <1200 g. Many units use
developmental and clinical cues and gastric
aspirates to decide on progression of feeds.
This review supports these recommendations.
76 Optimal feeding Of lOw-birth-weight infants: technical review
SuMMARy TABLE 4.2.1
Effects of rapid compared with slow fuid progression on necrotising enterocolitis in LBW infants
Study, Design Approximate proportion of
(Level of Inclusion participants with gestation age
a
outcome Effect measure
evidence) criteria <32 wk 32–36 wk ≥37 wk Comparison groups measure [95% CI]
Kennedy & Birth weight 80% 20% None Feeding volumes increased Proven RR 0.90
Tyson (275) <2000 g by 20–35 ml/kg/day necrotising [0.46, 1.77]
Meta-analysis (n=171) compared with enterocolitis
of 3 RCTs (LI) feeding volumes increased by (Bell’s stage II
10–20 ml/kg/day (n=191) or greater)
Caple et al Birth weight 80% 20% None Feeding volumes increased Necrotising RR 1.73
(279) 1000-2000 g by 30ml/kg/day (n=72) enterocolitis [0.3, 10.06]
RCT (LII) compared with feeding (Bell’s stage
volumes increased by 20ml/ IIA or greater)
kg/day (n=83)
Berseth et Birth weight 100% None None Feeding volumes increased Necrotizing RR 7.1
al (280) <1500 g, by 20 ml/kg/day (n=72) enterocolitis [0.9, 56.2]
RCT (LII) given total compared with feeding
parenteral volumes not increased for
nutrition for 10 days (n=77)
irst 10 days of life
a
If gestational age was not available in the publication, infants with birth weight <1500 g are assumed to be <32 wk gestation, those weighing
1501–2000 g to be 32–36 wk gestation, and those weighing 2001–2500 g to have a gestation of 37 weeks or more.
SuMMARy TABLE 4.2.2
Effects of rapid compared with slow fuid progression on growth outcomes in LBW infants
Study, Design Approximate proportion of
(Level of Inclusion participants with gestation age
a
outcome Effect measure
evidence) criteria <32 wk 32–36 wk ≥37 wk Comparison groups measure [95% CI]
Kennedy & Birth weight 78% 22% None Feeding volumes increased Days to regain WMD -2.1
Tyson (275) <2000 g by 20–35 ml/kg/day (n=156) birth weight [-1.5, -3.0]
Meta-analysis compared with feeding
of 3 RCTs (LI) volumes increased by
10–20 ml/kg/day (n=179)
Caple et al Birth weight 80% 20% None Feeding volumes increased Days to regain MD -5
RCT (LII) 1000–2000 g by 30 ml/kg/day (n=72) birth weight [-8.0, 0.0]
compared with feeding
volumes increased by
20 ml/kg/day (n=83)
a
If gestational age was not available in the publication, infants with birth weight <1500 g are assumed to be <32 wk gestation, those weighing
1501–2000 g to be 32–36 wk gestation, and those weighing 2001–2500 g to have a gestation of 37 weeks or more.
77 results
SuMMARy TABLE 4.2.3
Effects of rapid compared with slow fuid progression on time to reach full enteral feeds in LBW infants
Study, Design Approximate proportion of
(Level of Inclusion participants with gestation age
a
outcome Effect measure
evidence) criteria <32 wk 32–36 wk ≥37 wk Comparison groups measure [95% CI]
Kennedy & Birth weight 78% 22% None Feeding volumes increased Time to reach WMD -3.2 days
Tyson (275) <2000 g by 20–35 ml/kg/day (n=156) full enteral [-4.1, -1.4]
Meta-analysis compared with feeding feeds
of 3 RCTs (LI) volumes increased by
10–20 ml/kg/day (n=179)
Caple et al Birth weight 80% 20% None Feeding volumes increased Time to reach Difference in
RCT (LII) 1000–2000 g by 30 ml/kg/day (n=72) full enteral medians
compared with feeding feeds -3.0 days
volumes increased by [-3.0, -2.0]
20 ml/kg/day (n=83)
a
If gestational age was not available in the publication, infants with birth weight <1500 g are assumed to be <32 wk gestation, those weighing
1501–2000 g to be 32–36 wk gestation, and those weighing 2001–2500 g to have a gestation of 37 weeks or more.
vOluMe OF enteral FeedS in
the SecOnd week OF liFe
results
Effects on mortality, serious morbidity
or neurodevelopment
No studies were located which examined the
impact of feeding in the second week of life on
mortality, serious morbidity, or neurodevelop-
ment in LBW infants.
Effects on malnutrition
One Australian RCT (Level II evidence) was
located which compared the impacts of two
different feeding regimens (150 ml/kg/day
compared to 200 ml/kg/day) from the time
full enteral feeds were tolerated at day 7–14
in infants <30 weeks gestation (281). Daily
weight gains and weights and arm fat area at
35 weeks were signifcantly higher in the high
volume compared to the low volume group.
However, there was no difference in length or
head circumference at 35 weeks and no differ-
ence in any growth parameter at 1 year of age.
Impacts on malnutrition or weight-for-age
standard deviation scores were not reported.
No information regarding the timing of initia-
tion of demand feeding or hospital discharge
was reported in this study.
conclusions and implications
Only one small RCT was located which com-
pared the administration of different daily
fuid volumes in the second week of life in
infants who were <30 weeks gestation at birth
(Level II evidence). This trial reported variable
short-term impacts on different outcomes and
no long-term impact on growth parameters
at 1 year of age. Overall, no implications can
be drawn for infants of particular gestational
ages or birth weights.
recommendations
No policy statements from international or
national organizations were located which pro-
vided recommendations for feeding beyond
the frst week of life in LBW infants. Feeds are
commonly provided in neonatal units in the
second week of life in increments until 180–
200 ml/kg/day of fuid intake is reached. It was
not possible to provide additional recommen-
dations due to insuffcient evidence.
Feed FrequencieS and intervalS
results
Effects on mortality, serious morbidity,
neurodevelopment or malnutrition
No RCTs or observational studies were located
which examined the impact of feeding fre-
quencies or intervals on mortality, serious
78 Optimal feeding Of lOw-birth-weight infants: technical review
morbidity, neurodevelopment or malnutrition
in LBW infants.
Effects on other important outcomes
Only case series and descriptive studies were
located which examined outcomes such as feed
tolerance and biochemical measures (Level IV
evidence) (270, 282). These studies indicated
that feeding regimens such as 4-hourly feeds
for infants >2000 g, 3-hourly for infants 1500–
2000 g, 2-hourly for infants 1000–1500 g, and
hourly in infants <1000 g were well tolerated,
promoted biochemical stability, and produced
minimal gastric aspirates.
Evidence for increasing feed intervals is even
less well documented. Only one case series was
located and demonstrated that increasing the
feed interval on a weekly basis can be well tol-
erated in LBW infants (270).
conclusions and implications
Only case series and descriptive studies were
located in this section. These describe the
safe implementation of standard regimens as
monitored by biochemical and physiological
outcomes. However, no comparative studies
were available to allow decisions to be made
about the safest or most effective regimens. No
implications can be drawn for infants of par-
ticular gestational ages or birth weights.
recommendations
No policy statements from international or
national organizations were located which
examined the frequency of feeding in LBW
infants. Standard practice in many neonatal
units is to commence feeding 4-hourly for
infants >2000 g, 3-hourly for infants 1500–
2000 g, 2-hourly for infants 1000–1500 g,
and hourly in infants <1000 g. Feeding inter-
vals are then extended on an individual basis
depending on feed tolerance, gastric aspirates
and physiological stability. It was not possible
to provide additional recommendations due to
insuffcient evidence.
deMand Or Scheduled FeedinG
results
Effects on mortality, serious morbidity,
neurodevelopment or malnutrition
No studies were located which examined the
infuence that the timing of demand feeding
may have on mortality, serious morbidity, or
malnutrition in LBW infants.
Effects on other important outcomes
An integrated review of eight studies evalu-
ated the impact of demand feeding in pre-term
infants (283–290). The studies employed a vari-
ety of research methods including non-experi-
mental, quasi-experimental, and experimental
designs. The earliest studies are diffcult to
interpret due to inadequate sample sizes and
incomplete descriptions of methodology. Tri-
als from the 1980s and early 1990s were better
described; however, their interventions were
facilitator-dependent and diffcult to replicate.
Overall, the integrated review indicated that
pre-term infants who were fed on demand had
a shorter duration of hospitalization and had
weight gains that were equivalent to or greater
than non-demand-fed infants.
conclusions and implications
There is limited evidence that demand feeding
of LBW infants reduces the duration of hospi-
talization. All studies had methodologic weak-
nesses and most analyses also suffered from a
signifcant lack of statistical power. Overall,
no implications can be drawn for infants of
particular gestational ages or birth weights.
It may be advantageous to start demand
feeding as early as possible in developing coun-
tries because of the costs and risks of prolonged
hospitalization. However, demand feeding ini-
tially requires more monitoring and training
as feeding and hunger cues in LBW infants
must be detected by health professionals and
care is needed with weight monitoring.
recommendations
No policy statements from international or
national organizations were located which
examined the timing of demand feeding in
79 results
LBW infants. Decisions about when a LBW
infant should begin demand feeding are cur-
rently made on the basis of an individual
infant’s developmental maturity. Cues include
conscious state and the ability of the infant to
wake spontaneously for feeds and respond to
hunger by crying. Standard practice in many
neonatal units is to progress to demand feed-
ing when infants can tolerate 3–4 hourly feeds,
are stable and alert, and have no problems with
hypoglycaemia. Kangaroo mother care (KMC)
guidelines include rousing LBW infants for
feeding if the baby sleeps longer than 2–3
hours in order to prevent hypoglycaemia. It
was not possible to provide additional recom-
mendations due to insuffcient evidence.
5. SuPPORT
5.1 Supportive care for the
LBW infant
Warmth, developmental care and food are
basic, interrelated needs for the LBW infant.
Infants who are not nurtured and stimulated
grow poorly, while hypothermic infants have
feeding diffculties and may utilize calories to
produce heat. Interventions that reduce hypo-
thermia and promote development are integral
to the nutritional status and health outcomes
of all LBW infants.
The following interventions are reviewed in
this section:
(1) Kangaroo mother care or only skin-to-
skin contact;
(2) Non-nutritive sucking;
(3) Maternal participation in caring for
LBW infants in hospital;
(4) Timing and criteria for hospital dis-
charge.
(1) kanGarOO MOther care Or
OnlY Skin-tO-Skin cOntact
Skin-to-skin contact is defned as any con-
tact between the mother’s and the infant’s
skin over any period of time, usually com-
mencing immediately after birth. Kangaroo
mother care (KMC) was frst described in
the late 1970s as an alternative to the conven-
tional contemporary method of care for LBW
infants. The major components of KMC are:
skin-to-skin contact (i.e. infants are kept, day
and night, between the mother’s breasts frmly
attached to the chest in an upright position),
frequent and exclusive breastfeeding, and early
discharge from hospital regardless of weight or
gestational age.
results
Effects on mortality
No studies were located which examined the
impact of only skin-to-skin contact on mortal-
ity rates. Two RCTs were located that examined
the effect of KMC, compared to conventional
care, in stabilized LBW infants on the risk of
mortality (Level II evidence); these are sum-
marized in Table 5.1.1 (291–293). Both studies
randomized infants of birth weight 1500–2000
g and were conducted in developing countries;
one was a multi-centre study from Ethiopia,
Mexico and Indonesia, and the other was a
larger trial from Colombia. Cattaneo et al fol-
lowed up infants till hospital discharge only,
while Charpak et al completed follow-up till 12
months of age. The fndings from these studies
suggest that KMC may be at least as effective as
conventional care in reducing mortality rates
in eligible infants. Defnitive conclusions can-
not be made because of the wide confdence
intervals. It should be noted that less than half
of the <2000 g infants were eligible for KMC
according to the inclusion criteria. Most of the
mortality in this group occurred before the
infants became eligible for KMC.
A recently published RCT from Ethiopia
enrolled babies <2000 g before stabilization
around 10 hours after birth (294). A little less
than half of all babies born in the hospital
with birth weights <2000 g during the study
period were included in the study. Lower mor-
tality rates were reported in the KMC group,
compared with the conventional method of
care group (RR 0.59, 95%CI 0.34 to 1.04).
These results are consistent with two previous
observational studies from Zimbabwe (295)
and Mozambique (296), which initiated KMC
80 Optimal feeding Of lOw-birth-weight infants: technical review
for all babies <1800 g without any stabiliza-
tion in incubators. In the Zimbabwean cohort
study, mortality among 126 KMC babies was
lower than historical controls (improvement
from 50–10%). In the cross-sectional study
from Mozambique, mortality was reported
to be lower in 22 KMC babies, compared
with 10 babies who could not be provided
KMC because the mother was not available or
there was no room in the KMC ward (mortal-
ity 20% in KMC infants, compared to 73%
in non-KMC infants, p <0.01). It is impor-
tant to note that both of these studies had
small sample sizes and methodological faws
(including insuffcient blinding and losses to
follow-up). In addition, the study by Bergman
et al compared the outcomes to a historical
control group with insuffcient adjustment for
confounding factors. No longer-term impacts
after hospital discharge were reported.
Effects on serious morbidity –
serious illness/infection
Three RCTs, which examined the impact of
KMC on serious illness or infection (Level II
evidence), are summarized in Table 5.1.2 (291–
293, 297). All three trials were of moderate to
poor methodological quality (with a large pro-
portion of drop-outs and loss to follow-up), two
were the studies discussed above, and the third
was implemented in Ecuador (297). One of the
studies showed a signifcant reduction in noso-
comial infections and the other a signifcant
reduction in episodes of severe illness during
the frst 6 months of life (292, 297). No stud-
ies were located which examined the impact of
skin-to-skin contact only on serious morbidity.
Effects on neurodevelopment
Only Charpak et al evaluated the impacts on
neurodevelopment (Level II evidence) (see
Table 5.2.3) (292, 293). He reported that there
was no signifcant difference between KMC
and conventional care in mean Griffth’s quo-
tient at 6 and 12 months of corrected age. There
was no longer-term follow-up (see summary
Table 5.1.3). No studies were located which
examined the impact of skin-to-skin contact
only on neurodevelopmental outcomes.
Effects on malnutrition
All three RCTs described above evaluated the
differences on growth rates (Level II evidence),
but none evaluated the impacts on standard
deviation scores or malnutrition (291–293,
297). No signifcant differences, compared
to conventional care, were reported on any
growth parameters except for one trial which
reported that KMC infants gained slightly
more weight per day by the time of discharge,
compared with the controls (WMD 3.6 g/d,
95%CI 0.78 to 6.42), and had a larger head
circumference at 6 months corrected age (0.34
cm, 95%CI 0.11 to 0.57) (291).
Effects on other important outcomes
Three RCTs were located which evaluated the
impact of KMC on breastfeeding rates (Level
II evidence) (291–293, 297). These trials have
been described above and are summarized in
Table 5.1.4. Improvements in exclusive breast-
feeding (EBF) at the time of hospital discharge
and in any breastfeeding up to 3 months of
corrected age were reported in two of the tri-
als in KMC infants (291–293). A meta-analysis
of two studies (291, 297) showed no signifcant
difference in EBF at 1 month follow-up (RR
0.77, 95%CI 0.49 to 1.23) (298).
A meta-analysis of studies in healthy full-
term babies has shown that early skin-to-skin
contact is associated with higher breastfeeding
rates at 1–3 months, compared with standard
contact (OR 2.15, 95%CI 1.10 to 4.22) (299). A
subsequent study in healthy, full-term infants
showed that skin-to-skin contact with the
mother starting 15–20 minutes after birth for
one hour was associated with sleeping longer,
more fexor movements and postures and less
extensor movements in observations starting
four hours after birth (300). In addition, two
small studies in LBW infants (one RCT and
one cohort study) (Level III-3 evidence and
above) examined the impact of skin-to-skin
contact alone in LBW infants on breastfeed-
ing patterns (301, 302). Both studies detected
a signifcant impact on breastfeeding rates. In
the study by Whitelaw et al, mothers random-
ized to a skin-to-skin contact group lactated
for 4 weeks longer on average than the control
8T
group, and at 6 months of age the skin-to–skin
contact group of infants was reported to cry
signifcantly less than the control group. In
the study of Hurst et al, skin-to-skin contact
infants were reported to have a strong linear
increase in milk volume in contrast to no
indicative change in the control group’s milk
volume. It is important to note that both these
studies had small sample sizes and method-
ological faws (including insuffcient blind-
ing and losses to follow-up). In addition, the
study by Hurst et al compared the outcomes
to a historical control group with insuffcient
adjustment for confounding factors. No lon-
ger-term impacts after hospital discharge were
reported.
Another RCT compared skin-to-skin con-
tact from birth with conventional incubator
care on physiological parameters during the
frst 6 hours of life in babies weighing 1200–
2199 g (303). Thirty-fve LBW infants (1200-
2199 g) from two secondary-level referral
hospitals in South Africa were included in the
study over a period of 8 months. Of the infants
included in the analysis, 3/18 in the skin-to-
skin contact group, compared with 12/13 in
the conventional care group, exceeded the
pre-determined parameters of stability (P
<0.001); stabilization scores in the two groups
respectively were 77.11 and 74.23, mean differ-
ence 2.88 (P = 0.031). All 18 babies in the skin-
to-skin contact group were stable in 6 hours,
compared with 6/13 incubated infants.
A pilot test of a community-based feasibility
of KMC has been reported from Bangladesh
(304). Of the 35 post-partum women who were
taught KMC in the community, 77% initiated
skin-to-skin contact and 85% of them with
LBW babies did so (37% were LBW infants);
66% provided skin-to-skin contact most of
the time during the frst two days, and 45%
during the frst week. These mothers delayed
bathing the newborn but few slept upright with
the newborn; 17% of the babies were taken to a
health facility due to illness. KMC was quickly
adopted by the community.
results
conclusions and implications
Most of the available studies are from devel-
oping countries. Effective KMC requires
appropriate skills and support but could be
very useful in resource-poor settings. Limited
data on its effcacy are available. Most studies
only included stabilized LBW infants. There is
some evidence that KMC can also be used in
unstabilized infants in resource-poor settings.
The available evidence suggests that KMC
is at least as effective as conventional care in
eligible infants in reducing mortality. It may
have benefts over conventional care in reduc-
ing infections, and in improving weight gain
and exclusive breastfeeding during hospital
stay. Community-based KMC has been tried
successfully in some settings, but more data
are needed on its effcacy. There seems to be
no evidence to suggest that KMC or skin-to-
skin contact is unsafe and should not be used,
especially in environments without access to
any other forms of thermal care. No data were
available for term SGA infants.
Infants <32 weeks gestation
(or birth weights <1500 g if gestation
is not available)
There was no clear evidence regarding the
effect of KMC in these infants. Many of them
were excluded due to instability.
Infants 32–36 weeks gestation
(or birth weights 1500–2000 g if
gestation is not available)
In stable infants between 32 and 36 weeks ges-
tation, there is evidence that KMC is at least
as effective as conventional care in reducing
mortality. There may be benefts in terms of
reducing infections and in improving exclu-
sive breastfeeding rates and weight gain. How-
ever, the impact among unstable infants of
these gestational ages is unclear.
Term LBW infants (or birth weights
>2000 g if gestation is not available)
There are no data regarding the effect of KMC
in these infants.
82 Optimal feeding Of lOw-birth-weight infants: technical review
recommendations
A recent publication from WHO (305) pro-
motes the role of KMC in stable LBW infants
in resource-poor countries. KMC and skin-
to-skin contact are standard practice in
SuMMARy TABLE 5.1.1
Effects of Kangaroo mother care compared with conventional care on mortality in LBW infants
Study, Design Approximate proportion of
(Level of Inclusion participants with gestation age
a
outcome Effect measure
evidence) criteria <32 wk 32–36 wk ≥37 wk Comparison groups measure [95% CI]
Cattaneo Birth weight 14% 86% None Kangaroo mother care Mortality RR 0.91
et al (291) 1000–2000 g. (n=149) compared with before [0.19, 4.45]
RCT (LII) Stable infants conventional care (n=136) hospital
only. discharge
Charpak Birth weight 12% 88% None Kangaroo mother care Mortality at RR 0.59
et al (292) <2000 g. (n=364) compared with 40–41 wks [0.21, 1.55]
RCT (LII) Stable infants conventional care (n=345) gestational
only. age
Charpak et Birth weight 12% 88% None Kangaroo mother care Mortality at RR 0.57
et al (293) <2000 g. (n=350) compared with 12 months [0.27, 1.17]
RCT (LII) Stable infants conventional care (n=343) chronological
only. age
Worku & Birth weight Kangaroo mother care Mortality RR 0.59
Kassie (294) <2000 g. (n=62) compared with before [0.34, 1.04]
RCT (LII) Stable or conventional care (n=61) hospital
unstable infants discharge
starting around
10 hours of birth.
a
If gestational age was not available in the publication, infants with birth weight <1500 g are assumed to be <32 wk gestation, those weighing
1501–2000 g to be 32–36 wk gestation, and those weighing 2001–2500 g to have a gestation of 37 weeks or more.
many neonatal units and health facilities in
resource-poor areas, especially those without
access to incubators and radiant heaters. The
fndings of this review support these recom-
mendations.
83
SuMMARy TABLE 5.1.2
Effects of Kangaroo mother care compared with conventional care on severe morbidity in LBW infants
Study, Design Approximate proportion of
(Level of Inclusion participants with gestation age
a
Effect measure
evidence) criteria <32 wk 32–36 wk ≥37 wk Comparison groups outcome measure [95% CI]
Cattaneo Birth weight 14% 86% None Kangaroo mother care Episodes of severe RR 0.63
et al (291) 1000– 2000 g. (n=149) compared infection up to [0.33, 1.21]
RCT (LII) Stable infants with conventional care hospital discharge
only. (n=136)
Charpak Birth weight 12% 88% None Kangaroo mother care No. of infectious RR 0.69
et al (292) <2000 g. (n=343) compared episodes requiring [0.43, 1.12]
RCT (LII) Stable infants with conventional hospital treatment
only. care (n=320) up to 40–41 weeks
gestational age

Nosocomial infections 0.49
up to 40–41 weeks [0.25, 0.93]
gestational age
Charpak Birth weight 12% 88% None Kangaroo mother care No. of infectious RR 0.86
et al (293) <2000 g. (n=325) compared episodes requiring [0.71, 1.03]
RCT (LII) Stable infants with conventional hospital treatment at
only. care (n=305) up to 12 months age
Sloan et al Birth weight 20% 80% None Kangaroo mother care Episodes of severe RR 0.30
(297) <2000 g. (n=140) compared illness up to 40–41 [0.14, 0.67]
RCT (LII) Stable infants with conventional weeks gestational age
only. care (n=160)
Kangaroo mother care Episodes of severe RR 0.30
(n=131) compared illness up to 6 months [0.14, 0.61]
with conventional age
care (n=152)
a
If gestational age was not available in the publication, infants with birth weight <1500 g are assumed to be <32 wk gestation, those weighing 1501-
–2000 g to be 32–36 wk gestation, and those weighing 2001–2500 g to have a gestation of 37 weeks or more.
results
SuMMARy TABLE 5.1.3
Effects of Kangaroo mother care compared with conventional care on neurodevelopment in LBW infants
Study, Design Approximate proportion of
(Level of Inclusion participants with gestation age
a
Effect measure
evidence) criteria <32 wk 32–36 wk ≥37 wk Comparison groups outcome measure [95% CI]
Charpak Birth weight 12% 88% None Kangaroo mother Psychomotor WMD 1.05
et al (293), <2000 g. care (n=308) development [-0.75, 2.85]
RCT (LII) Stable infants compared with (Griffth quotients)
only. conventional care at 12 months
(n=271) corrected age
a
If gestational age was not available in the publication, infants with birth weight <1500 g are assumed to be <32 wk gestation, those weighing
1501–2000 g to be 32–36 wk gestation, and those weighing 2001–2500 g to have a gestation of 37 weeks or more.
84 Optimal feeding Of lOw-birth-weight infants: technical review
(2) nOn-nutritive SuckinG
Non-nutritive sucking refers to sucking with-
out oral fuid intake, e.g. when a ‘dummy’ or
‘pacifer’ is used. Another reported method is
sucking on the ‘emptied’ breast. Non-nutri-
tive sucking has been postulated to improve
breastfeeding and to shorten the time to oral
feeding in pre-term infants.
results
Effects on mortality, serious morbidity
and neurodevelopment
No studies were located which examined the
infuence of non-nutritive sucking on mortal-
ity, serious morbidity and neurodevelopment
in LBW infants.
Effects on malnutrition
In a meta-analysis of all available RCTs till the
year 2003 (Level I evidence), three trials in
SuMMARy TABLE 5.1.4
Effects of Kangaroo mother care compared with conventional care on breastfeeding patterns in LBW infants
Study, Design Approximate proportion of
(Level of Inclusion participants with gestation age
a
Comparison Effect measure
evidence) criteria <32 wk 32–36 wk ≥37 wk outcome measure groups [95% CI]
Cattaneo Birth weight 14% 86% None Kangaroo mother care No EBF at RR 0.41
et al (291) 1000–2000 g. (n=146) compared with discharge [0.25, 0.68]
RCT (LII) Stable infants conventional care (n=133)
only.
Kangaroo mother care (n=93) No EBF at RR 0.77
compared with conventional 1 month [0.46, 1.29]
care (n=82) follow-up
Charpak Birth weight 12% 88% None Kangaroo mother care No EBF at RR 0.98
et al (292) <2000 g. (n=343) compared with 40–41 weeks [0.85, 1.13]
RCT (LII) Stable infants conventional care (n=320) gestational
only. age
Charpak Birth weight 12% 88% None Kangaroo mother care Any BF at RR 1.08
et al (293) <2000 g. (n=320) compared with 3 months [1.01, 1.18]
RCT (LII) Stable infants conventional care (n=305) corrected age
only.
Sloan et al Birth weight 20% 80% None Kangaroo mother care No EBF at RR 0.80
(294) < 2000 g. (n=93) compared with 1 month [0.29, 2.15]
RCT (LII) Stable infants conventional care (n=111) follow-up
only.
Kangaroo mother care (n=66) No EBF at RR 1.01
compared with conventional 6 month [0.90, 1.13]
care (n=80) follow-up
a
If gestational age was not available in the publication, infants with birth weight <1500 g are assumed to be <32 wk gestation, those weighing
1501–2000 g to be 32–36 wk gestation, and those weighing 2001–2500 g to have a gestation of 37 weeks or more.
the US (see Table 5.1.5) demonstrated no sig-
nifcant advantage from non-nutritive sucking
among infants <1800 g in terms of weight gain
per day until hospital discharge (306). Field’s
trial demonstrated a trend favouring the con-
trol group (307), but the other two showed no
difference between the groups (308, 309). The
results are diffcult to interpret as all the stud-
ies were of poor methodological quality with
small sample sizes. No impacts on standard
deviation scores or malnutrition were identi-
fed.
Effects on other important outcomes
Another meta-analysis (Level I evidence), in
which two trials in the US (see Table 5.1.6)
were included (307, 310), demonstrated a
signifcant advantage in providing infants
<1800 g with non-nutritive sucking on dura-
tion of hospital stay (306). However, the indi-
85 results
vidual trials reported conficting results and
were of poor methodological quality (small
sample sizes and inadequate allocation con-
cealment). In particular, Field found no differ-
ence between the groups, but Bernbaum et al
demonstrated a signifcant reduction in length
of hospital stay. A small study in 32 babies
with an average gestation of 33 weeks exam-
ined the effect of suckling at the breast (after
as much milk as possible had been expressed)
on breastfeeding rates after discharge from the
hospital. The infants in the intervention group
had longer durations of exclusive breastfeed-
ing (WMD 1.8 months, 95%CI 1.1 to 2.5) and
total breastfeeding (WMD 1.8 months, 95%CI
0.3 to 3.3).
conclusions and implications
The results indicate that non-nutritive suck-
ing may decrease the length of hospital stay in
pre-term infants, but has no effect on growth
outcomes in pre-term infants who weigh
<1800 g at birth. The results are diffcult to
interpret owing to the small sample sizes and
other methodological faws. There is lack of
data on safety with regard to an increased risk
of infections with pacifers and dummies in
resource-poor settings. Sucking on the emp-
tied breast might provide sucking experience
for LBW infants without interfering with their
nutritional intake and without increased risk
of infection.
recommendations
No consensus statements or expert committee
reports were located which examined the role
of non-nutritive sucking in LBW infants. It
was not possible to provide recommendations
due to insuffcient evidence.
(3) Maternal ParticiPatiOn in
carinG FOr lBw inFantS
in hOSPital
results
In this section, the effects of maternal partici-
pation in caring for LBW babies in hospital are
summarized. Three studies from south Asia
were identifed. Karan and Rao studied the
effects of a change in nursery policy towards
SuMMARy TABLE 5.1.5
Effects of non-nutritive sucking compared with conventional care on growth outcomes in LBW infants
Study, Design Approximate proportion of
(Level of Inclusion participants with gestation age
a
outcome Effect measure
evidence) criteria <32 wk 32–36 wk ≥37 wk Comparison groups measure [95% CI]
Pinelli et al Birth weight 58% 42% None Non-nutritive sucking (n=59) Weight gain WMD 1.57
(306) <1800 g compared with conventional (grams per [-0.37, 3.50]
Meta-analysis care (n=58) day)
of 3 RCTs (LI)
* If gestational age was not available in the publication, infants with birth weight <1500 g are assumed to be <32 wk gestation, those weighing
1501–2000 g to be 32–36 wk gestation, and those weighing 2001–2500 g to have a gestation of 37 weeks or more.
SuMMARy TABLE 5.1.6
Effects of non-nutritive sucking compared with conventional care on hospitalization rates in LBW infants
Study, Design Approximate proportion of
(Level of Inclusion participants with gestation age
a
Comparison Effect measure
evidence) criteria <32 wk 32–36 wk ≥37 wk outcome measure groups [95% CI]
Pinelli et al Birth weight 58% 42% None Non-nutritive sucking (n=44) Length of WMD -7.1
(306) <1800 g compared with conventional hospital stay [-12.6, 1.7]
Meta-analysis care (n=43) in days
of 2 RCTs (LI)
a
If gestational age was not available in the publication, infants with birth weight <1500 g are assumed to be <32 wk gestation, those weighing
1501–2000 g to be 32–36 wk gestation, and those weighing 2001–2500 g to have a gestation of 37 weeks or more.
86 Optimal feeding Of lOw-birth-weight infants: technical review
increased maternal participation in the care
and feeding of infants <1800 g, using a before-
after comparison (311). Narayanan et al fol-
lowed up two groups with 25 LBW infants in
each; the mothers of the frst group of infants
stayed in the neonatal care unit, while those
in the second group were separated from their
infants (312). Bhutta et al reported the effects
of establishment of a step-down unit where
the mothers provided all basic nursing care for
their infants (<1500 g at birth) before being
discharged under supervision, using a before-
after comparison (313).
Effect on mortality, morbidity,
neurodevelopment or growth
None of the identifed studies reported the
effect of maternal participation on mortal-
ity rates, morbidity, neurodevelopment or
growth.
Other important outcomes
Maternal participation in the care of pre-term
infants in hospital-based newborn care units
was reported to lead to early discharge in all
three studies (311–313). Bhutta et al reported
that maternal participation in a step-down unit
resulted in earlier discharge of VLBW infants
(hospital stay before and after the establishment
of the step-down unit was 34 ± 18 days and 16
±14 days, respectively) without any increase
in short-term complications or readmissions
(313). Narayanan et al reported that the group
of infants whose mothers had participated in
caring and feeding during hospitalization had
a signifcantly higher breastfeeding rate at
2.5 months postnatal age, compared with the
group whose mothers had been separated from
them (80% vs. 20%, p <0.05) (312).
conclusions and implications
The results indicate that maternal participa-
tion in the care and feeding of hospitalized
LBW infants led to improved mother’s conf-
dence in providing care, earlier discharge from
hospital, and improved breastfeeding rates.
recommendations
No consensus statements or expert committee
reports were located which examined the role
of maternal participation in the care of LBW
infants. It is standard practice in many neo-
natal units in developed and developing coun-
tries to involve mothers in the care and feeding
of their LBW infants. The fndings from this
review support these recommendations.
(4) tiMinG and criteria FOr
hOSPital diScharGe
results
This section summarizes the evidence related
to the optimal duration of stay in the hospi-
tal for pre-term babies. Until about 1980, the
traditional policy was to delay the discharge
of pre-term infants until a pre-determined
weight (2000 g or more) had been achieved. For
many VLBW babies this implied several weeks
of hospital stay. However, prolonged hospitali-
zation is associated with an increased risk of
contracting infections, delays in mother-child
bonding, and higher costs. Early discharge is a
component of KMC (described above) and is
not discussed in this section.
Eight RCTs were located which examined
the effect of early discharge of LBW infants
on outcomes such as mortality, re-hospital-
ization, weight gain, and breastfeeding rates
after discharge (314–321). The criteria for
early discharge used in these studies included:
baby able to breastfeed or bottle-feed (full
oral feeds); baby able to maintain body tem-
perature in an open crib; no evidence of clini-
cal illness or serious apnoea; no weight loss;
mother demonstrated satisfactory care-taking
skills; and adequate physical environment for
home care of the infant.
Effect on mortality
Only one RCT (Level II evidence) reported the
effect of early discharge (when no weight loss,
partial or full oral feeds; n = 28), compared
with conventional discharge (when gaining
weight, crossed birth weight, and fully accept-
ing oral feeds; n = 39) (314). The mortality up
to 3 months postnatal age was similar in the
87 results
two groups (RR 0.80, 95%CI 0.26, 2.46), but
the wide confdence intervals do not allow any
frm conclusions.
Effect on serious morbidity
Six RCTs, summarized in Table 5.1.7, exam-
ined the effect of early discharge on subse-
quent re-hospitalizations (315–320). None of
the studies reported any signifcant difference
between early and conventional discharge
groups. Although the confdence intervals
of all the individual studies were wide, most
reported relative risks below 1 or close to 1.
Effect on neurodevelopment
There were no studies that examined the effect
of early discharge on neurodevelopment.
Effect on malnutrition
Five RCTs, summarized in Table 5.1.8, exam-
ined the effect of early discharge on subsequent
weight gain (315, 316, 318, 320, 321). None of
the studies reported any signifcant differ-
ence between early and conventional discharge
groups. No studies reported on malnutrition
rates.
Effect on other important outcomes
The RCT by Gunn et al also compared the
effect of early discharge (full oral feeds but not
yet gaining weight, n = 148) with routine dis-
charge (full oral feeds and also gaining weight,
n =160) on breastfeeding rates at 6 weeks and 6
months after discharge (Table 5.1.9) (319). The
rate of any breastfeeding at 6 weeks (RR 0.91,
95%CI 0.75 to 1.11) or 6 months (RR 0.99,
95%CI 0.73 to 1.33) after discharge was not
signifcantly different in the two groups.
A meta-analysis examined the effects of a
policy of early discharge of stable pre-term
infants with home support of intragastric
feeding, compared with a policy of discharge
of such infants when they had reached full
oral feeds (322). Only one quasi-randomized
trial with 88 infants was identifed (323). It
reported a lower risk of infection during the
home intragastric feeding period, compared
with the corresponding time in hospital for the
control group (RR 0.35, 95%CI 0.17 to 0.69).
There was no signifcant difference between
groups in the duration and extent of breast-
feeding, weight gain, and re-admission within
12 months post-discharge.
conclusions and implications
The results indicate that early discharge of
LBW infants (on full oral feeds, able to main-
tain body temperature in an open crib, no
clinical illness or serious apnoea or weight loss,
and the mothers have satisfactory care-giving
skills) is not associated with adverse outcomes
and may have advantages in terms of cost sav-
ings. No conclusions can be drawn about the
safety of discharging pre-term infants still on
intragastric feeds.
Most of the studies were from developed
countries. Experience from some developing
countries (e.g. Pakistan, Bhutta et al., 313)
suggests that the fndings are generally appli-
cable to these settings also. The high risk of
nosocomial infections in developing countries
may make it even more important to discharge
infants early. However, the lack of health facil-
ities and follow-up support in the community
is a signifcant challenge in most countries.
recommendations
International groups recommend early dis-
charge of pre-term infants when the babies are
gaining weight, maintaining temperature, are
competent at suckle feeding and physiologi-
cally mature, and with family and community
readiness to provide the necessary support for
their home care (11). There were no consen-
sus statements or expert committee reports
located which examined the role of maternal
participation in the care of LBW infants. It is
standard practice in many neonatal units in
developed and developing countries to dis-
charge pre-term infants when they are stable
and on full oral feeds. The fndings of this
review support these recommendations.
88 Optimal feeding Of lOw-birth-weight infants: technical review
SuMMARy TABLE 5.1.7
Effects of early compared with conventional discharge of LBW infants on hospital re-admission rates after discharge
Study, Design Approximate proportion of
(Level of Inclusion participants with gestation age
a
outcome Effect measure
evidence) criteria <32 wk 32–36 wk ≥37 wk Comparison groups measure [95% CI]
Dillard et al Birth weight 15% UK UK Early discharge: at least Hospital RR 0.87
(315) <2268 g 2000 g, weight gain and re-admission (0.35, 2.15)
RCT (LII) absence of acute illness within 4 weeks
(n=183) compared with of discharge
conventional discharge: weight
at least 2268 g, weight gain
and absence of acute illness
(n=198)
Lefebvre Birth weight 50% 45% 5% Early discharge: clinically well, Hospital RR 1.62
et al (316) <2000 g outgrown their birth weight, re-admission (0.34, 7.8)
Double cohort full oral feeding, maintain from discharge
(LIII-3) body temperature, mother to term
capable of caring for the infant
(n=21) compared with
conventional discharge at
weight 2200–2400 g
Brooten et al Birth weight 66% 34% None Early discharge when full oral Hospital RR 0.82
(317) <1500 g feeding, maintenance of re-admission (0.24, 2.83)
RCT (LII) temperature, no serious within 14 days
apnoea and mother able to of discharge
care for the baby (n=39)
compared with conventional Hospital RR 1.03
discharge at 2200 g weight re-admission (0.48, 2.19)
(n = 40) within 18
months of
discharge
Casiro et al Birth weight 50% 30% 20% Early discharge: clinically well Hospital RR 1.14
(318) <2000 g with no serious apnoea, full re-admission (0.45, 2.91)
RCT (LII) oral feeds, maintains body within the frst
temperature and mother able year of life
to care for the baby (n=50)
compared with conventional
discharge at discretion of the
attending physician (n=50)
Gunn et al Pre-term infants 40% 60% None Early discharge: full oral feeds Hospital RR 0.74
(319) but not yet gaining weight re-admission (0.38, 1.44)
RCT (LII) (n=148) compared with routine within 6 weeks
discharge when on full oral after discharge
feeds and also gaining wt
(n=160)
Cruz et al Very low birth 100% None None Early discharge (n=27) Infection No signifcant
(320) weight infants compared with conventional rates difference
RCT (LII) discharge (n=16)
a
If gestational age was not available in the publication, infants with birth weight <1500 g are assumed to be <32 wk gestation, those weighing
1501–2000 g to be 32–36 wk gestation, and those weighing 2001–2500 g to have a gestation of 37 weeks or more.
89 results
SuMMARy TABLE 5.1.8
Effect of early discharge compared with conventional discharge of LBW infants on growth outcomes after discharge
Study, Design Approximate proportion of
(Level of Inclusion participants with gestation age
a
outcome Effect measure
evidence) criteria <32 wk 32–36 wk ≥37 wk Comparison groups measure [95% CI]
Dillard et al Birth weight 15% UK UK Early discharge: at least Weight gain MD -0.04 kg
(315) <2268 g 2000 g, weight gain and at 4 weeks (p>0.1)
b
RCT (LII) absence of acute illness from discharge
(n=183) compared with
conventional discharge: weight
at least 2268 g, weight gain
and absence of acute illness
(n=198)
Davies et al Gestation 95% 5% None Early discharge (n=20) Weight at MD -0.07 kg
(321) <33 weeks compared with conventional term (-0.37, 0.23)
RCT (LII) discharge (n=20)
Weight at MD -0.24 kg
3 months (-0.86, 0.37)
beyond term
Lefebvre Birth weight 50% 45% 5% Early discharge: clinically Weight at MD -0.05 kg
et al (316) <2000 g well, outgrown their birth term (-0.33, 0.23)
Double cohort weight, full oral feeding,
(LIII-3) maintain body temperature,
mother capable of caring for
the infant (n=21) compared
with conventional discharge at
weight 2200–2400 g
Casiro et al Birth weight 50% 30% 20% Early discharge: clinically well Weight at MD 0.1 kg
(318) <2000 g with no serious apnoea, full 1 year (-0.34, 0.54)
RCT (LII) oral feeds, maintains body
temperature and mother able
to care for the baby (n=50)
compared with conventional
discharge at discretion of the
attending physician (n=50)
Cruz et al Very low birth 100% None None Early discharge (n=27) Weight gain No signifcant
(320) weight infants compared with conventional difference
RCT (LII) discharge (n=16)
a
If gestational age was not available in the publication, infants with birth weight <1500 g are assumed to be <32 wk gestation, those weighing
1501–2000 g to be 32–36 wk gestation, and those weighing 2001–2500 g to have a gestation of 37 weeks or more.
b
Standard deviations not provided, thus confdence intervals not calculated.
90 Optimal feeding Of lOw-birth-weight infants: technical review
5.2 Support for the
breastfeeding mother
The importance of providing mother’s own
milk to LBW infants has been described in
previous sections. The following interventions
to improve breastfeeding rates in mothers of
pre-term and term LBW infants have been
reviewed:
• Breastfeeding counselling
• Drug therapy
• Breast milk supplementer.

BreaStFeedinG cOunSellinG
A meta-analysis of 20 randomized or quasi-
randomized trials involving 23,712 mother-
infant pairs (infants with any birth weight,
four trials specifcally excluded LBW), showed
that professional support was effective in
increasing the rates of any breastfeeding at 6
months (RR0.89, 95%CI 0.81 to 0.97), but its
effect on EBF was not signifcant. Lay sup-
port was effective in increasing EBF rates
(RR0.66, 95%CI 0.49 to 0.69), but its effect on
any breastfeeding was not signifcant (324).
The few studies among LBW infants that were
located are summarized below.
results
Effects on mortality and
neurodevelopment
No studies were identifed which examined
the infuence of breastfeeding counselling
on mortality and neurodevelopment in LBW
infants.
Effects on malnutrition
Two RCTs were located that examined the
impacts of breastfeeding counselling in LBW
infants (187). One large RCT was located
which examined the impacts of breastfeed-
ing on malnutrition rates in a subset of pre-
dominantly SGA LBW Indian infants (Level
II evidence, see summary Table 5.2.1) (187,
325). The trial by Bhandari et al compared
the impact of counselling mothers in EBF at
multiple opportunities (including immuniza-
tion sessions, illness contacts, women’s group
meetings, and home visits) with routine care.
Rates of EBF at 3 months of age increased (see
below) and no signifcant disadvantages were
detected in mean weight, mean length, height-
for-age (<2 z scores) or weight-for-height (<2
z scores) in the intervention, compared to the
control group of infants. In a hospital-based
RCT in Manila the effcacy of postnatal peer
counselling was examined in a group of 204
term LBW infants (Level II evidence, see sum-
mary Table 5.1.1) (325). A total of 204 moth-
ers were randomized into three groups; two
intervention groups received home-based
counselling visits (one by counsellors trained
in breastfeeding counselling, the other by
counsellors trained in general childcare), and
a control group where the mothers did not
receive counselling. No growth disadvantages
were detected in the counselled group in this
trial; all groups had improved mean weight-
for-age standard deviation scores (z-scores)
at 6 months, with no signifcant differences
between the groups.
Effects on other important outcomes
One US RCT (Level II evidence, see summary
Table 5.2.2) examined the impact of an inten-
sive breastfeeding counselling package pre- and
post-discharge to mothers of pre-term infants
on the mean duration of breastfeeding (326).
This package included individual counselling
by a lactation consultant, weekly in-hospital
contact, and frequent post-discharge contact.
This was compared to standard breastfeeding
support during the hospitalization period with
no specialized lactation consultant available.
In this study the mean breastfeeding dura-
tion increased from 24.2 weeks in the control
group to 26.2 weeks in the intervention group,
but the mean difference was not statistically
signifcant. Exclusive breastfeeding at 1, 3, 6,
and 12 months post-discharge was also not
statistically different between the two groups.
However, these results may be explained by
the high motivation to breastfeed in both
groups, a relatively advantaged population,
and the availability of community breastfeed-
ing resources, which may have diminished any
signifcant differences that could have resulted
9T
from a breastfeeding intervention. In con-
trast, the two RCTs described above detected
signifcant improvements in EBF rates at 6
months (187, 325) (Table 5.2.2); breastfeeding
counselling by skilled peers or professionals
increased the breastfeeding rates in moth-
ers of term infants (327–329), and case series
of breastfeeding counselling interventions in
developed countries reported increases in the
incidence and mean duration of breastfeeding
(330–332).
conclusions and implications
The fndings of this section are based on the
results of a number of RCTs in term, pre-term
results
SuMMARy TABLE 5.2.1
Effect of breastfeeding counselling on growth outcomes in LBW infants
Study, Design Approximate proportion of
(Level of Inclusion participants with gestation age
a
outcome Effect measure
evidence) criteria <32 wk 32–36 wk ≥37 wk Comparison groups measure [95% CI]
Difference in
proportions
Bhandari et al Mothers of LBW <1% 15% 85% Subgroup of LBW infants in: Height-for-age 9%
(187) infants (<2500 g Intervention group <–2 z-score [-2%, 20%]
Cluster at birth) (community promotion of EBF
RCT (LII) for 6 mo) [n=159] compared Weight-for- -2%
Subgroup with control group [n=124] height [-6%, 1%]
analysis <–2 z- score
Agrasada et al Mothers of term None None 100% Home-based breastfeeding Weight-for-age MD -0.18
(325) LBW infants counselling (n=60) compared z-score at (-0.50, 0.14)
RCT (LII) <2500 g who were with home- based counselling 6 mo
admitted to in general child care (n=59)
hospital
Home-based in breastfeeding Weight-for-age MD -0.18
counselling (n=60) compared z-score at (-0.48, 0.12)
with no counselling at home 6 mo
(n=71)
a
If gestational age was not available in the publication, infants with birth weight <1500 g are assumed to be <32 wk gestation, those weighing
1501–2000 g to be 32–36 wk gestation, and those weighing 2001–2500 g to have a gestation of 37 weeks or more.
and SGA infants from developing and devel-
oped countries. A large effect of counselling on
improving the rates of EBF in mothers of LBW
infants was demonstrated with no apparent
disadvantage in growth rates or malnutrition
prevalence.
recommendations
No consensus statements or expert committee
reports that examined the role of breastfeeding
counselling in LBW infants were identifed.
Standard practice in many neonatal units is to
provide breastfeeding counselling to mothers
of LBW infants. The fndings from this review
support these recommendations.
92 Optimal feeding Of lOw-birth-weight infants: technical review
druG theraPY
results
Effects on mortality rates, serious
morbidity, neurodevelopment and
malnutrition
No studies were located which examined the
impact of lactogogues on mortality rates, seri-
ous morbidity, neurodevelopment and malnu-
trition in mothers of LBW infants.
Effects on other important outcomes
Three small studies from the US and Canada
(Level III-3 evidence and above) evaluated
the effects of metoclopramide or domperi-
done therapy on daily breastmilk volume in
women who delivered infants <34 weeks ges-
tation (333–335). In the comparative cohort
study by Ehrenkranz et al, the women received
metoclopramide 10 mg three times per day for
7 days (333). In contrast, de Silva et al rand-
omized the women who were having diffculty
SuMMARy TABLE 5.2.2
Effects of breastfeeding counselling on breastfeeding patterns in LBW infants
Study, Design Approximate proportion of
(Level of Inclusion participants with gestation age
a
outcome Effect measure
evidence) criteria <32 wk 32–36 wk ≥37 wk Comparison groups measure [95% CI]
Pinelli et al Parents of infants 100% None None Breastfeeding counselling Mean MD 2.10
(326) with birth weight package (n=64) compared duration of [-5.12, 9.32]
RCT (LII) <1500 g who with standard package (n=64) breastfeeding
intended to (weeks)
breastfeed
Bhandari et al Mothers of LBW <1% 15% 85% Subgroup of LBW infants in:
(187) infants (<2500 g Intervention group (community EBF at RR 1.99
Cluster at birth) promotion of EBF for 6 mo) 3 months [1.58, 2.51]
RCT (LII) (n=159) compared with
Subgroup control group (n=124) EBF at RR 9.67
analysis 6 months [4.01, 23.3]
Agrasada Mothers of term None None 100% Home-based breastfeeding EBF at RR 6.39
et al (325) LBW infants counselling (n=60) compared 6 months [2.38, 17.2]
RCT (LII) <2500 g who with home-based counselling
were admitted to in general child care (n=59)
hospital
Home-based in breastfeeding EBF at RR 26.4
counselling (n=60) compared 6 months [3.70, 188.7]
with no counselling at home
(n=71)
a
If gestational age was not available in the publication, infants with birth weight <1500 g are assumed to be <32 wk gestation, those weighing
1501–2000 g to be 32–36 wk gestation, and those weighing 2001–2500 g to have a gestation of 37 weeks or more.
maintaining milk production by milk expres-
sion to receive either domperidone or placebo
for 7 days (334), while Hansen et al rand-
omized women to receive either metoclopra-
mide 10 mg or a placebo three times per day
for 7 days (335). Ehrenkranz et al and de Silva
et al reported large increases in milk produc-
tion. In the study by Ehrenkranz et al, daily
milk production doubled between the frst
and seventh day of therapy, which was associ-
ated with signifcantly increased basal serum
prolactin levels (333). In the study by de Silva
et al, milk volume also doubled in the inter-
vention compared to the control group (334).
However, Hansen et al reported no signifcant
differences between breastmilk volumes in the
metoclopramide and placebo groups on each
of the 17 days of the study (335). Hansen et al
also reported no signifcant difference between
the groups in duration of breastfeeding, with
a median of 8.8 weeks, an interquartile range
of 3.4 to 12.0 weeks for the metoclopramide
93 results
group, and a median of 8.6 weeks and an inter-
quartile range of 5.6 to 16.9 weeks for the pla-
cebo group (P = .09).
Other studies in mothers of term infants
reported no effect of supplemental metoclo-
pramide in women who received a package of
counselling, motivation, support, and repeated
suckling (336), while another study reported
on the safety and effcacy of metclopramide
therapy (337).
conclusions and implications
The fndings of this section are based on three
small trials which reported conficting effects
on increasing milk volume in mothers of
infants under 34 weeks gestation, and one trial
which reported no impact on the duration of
breastfeeding. No information was presented
on safety and no information was available
concerning mothers of larger LBW infants.
recommendations
No consensus statements or expert committee
reports which examined the role of lactogogues
in LBW infants were identifed. Standard prac-
tice in many neonatal units is to use metclo-
pramide 10 mg three times per day as part of
a package which includes counselling, support
and education to improve lactation in mothers
of LBW infants. It was not possible to provide
additional recommendations due to insuff-
cient evidence.
BreaStMilk SuPPleMenter
A breastfeeding supplementer is a device for
giving an infant a supplement while he is suck-
ling at a breast which is not producing enough
milk. A hungry infant may suckle at an ‘empty’
breast a few times, but he may become frus-
trated and refuse to suckle any more, especially
if he has become used to sucking from a bottle.
A breastfeeding supplementer helps to sustain
the infant in suckling at the breast.
results
Effects on mortality, serious morbidity,
neurodevelopment and malnutrition
No studies were located which examined the
infuence of breastfeeding supplementer on
mortality, serious morbidity, neurodevelop-
ment and malnutrition in LBW infants.
Effects on other important outcomes
Two case series were located which described
the impact of the breastfeeding supplementer
on exclusive breastfeeding rates (337, 338). Both
studies selected pre-term infants with birth
weights <2500 g and showed that the sup-
plementer could result in re-establishment
of EBF. However, the methodological quality
of the studies was poor, making it diffcult to
draw any conclusions.
conclusions and implications
The only studies located in this section were
small case series that were likely to suffer from
selection and observer bias, making it diffcult
to draw any conclusions.
current recommendations
No consensus statements or expert committee
reports were located which examined the role
of breastfeeding supplementer in LBW infants.
Standard practice in many neonatal units is
to use the breastfeeding supplementer with
mothers who have diffculties in breastfeed-
ing LBW infants. It was not possible to provide
additional recommendations due to insuff-
cient evidence.
94 Optimal feeding Of lOw-birth-weight infants: technical review
6. MOnITORIng
Monitoring of LBW infants includes regular
measurements of vital signs (i.e. temperature,
heart rate, respiratory rate and blood pressure),
oxygen saturation, gastric residual volumes,
blood tests, and the monitoring of growth and
neurodevelopment. In this section, blood glu-
cose monitoring and growth monitoring are
reviewed.
6.1 Blood glucose monitoring
results
Effects on mortality, serious morbidity
and malnutrition
No studies were identifed which examined
the infuence of blood glucose monitoring on
mortality, serious morbidity and malnutrition
in LBW infants.
Effects on neurodevelopment
Four studies (3 comparative cohort studies, 1
case series) were located which examined the
impact of low blood glucose measurements on
neurodevelopmental outcomes in LBW infants.
Lucas et al compared the outcomes in a cohort
of 661 UK infants with birth weights <1800 g
(mean gestation 31 weeks, mean birth weight
1400 g) who were exposed and not exposed to
‘moderate neonatal hypoglycaemia’ (defned
as plasma glucose concentration <2.6 mmol/l
on ≥5 separate days) (340). Duvanel et al com-
pared the outcomes in a cohort of 85 Swiss SGA
infants (mean gestational age 32 weeks (range
27–34 weeks), mean birth weight 1200 g (range
580–1680 g) who were exposed and not exposed
to ‘moderate neonatal hypoglycaemia’ (plasma
glucose concentration <2.6 mmol/l on ≥5 sepa-
rate days) (341). Pildes et al compared the out-
comes in a cohort of 57 pre-term US infants
with birth weights <2000 g (mean gestation
33 weeks, mean birth weight 1600 g) who were
exposed and not exposed to ‘moderate neonatal
hypoglycaemia’ (plasma glucose concentration
<2.6 mmol/l on ≥5 separate days) (342). Brown
et al described a case series of 15 infants of pre-
term and SGA infants weighing <1500 g at birth
with blood glucose levels of <1.1 mmol/l (343).
All four studies reported that blood glu-
cose levels <2.6 mmol/l that occurred repeat-
edly were likely to be associated with poorer
clinical outcomes in LBW infants. Lucas et
al reported that frequent “moderate” hypo-
glycaemia (plasma glucose <2.6 mmol/l on
at least 5 occasions) was strongly associated
with abnormal neuromotor and intellectual
performance at 18 months (340). Longer-term
follow-up to 7½–8 years of age demonstrated
persistent associations between moderate
hypoglycaemia and developmental defcits in
arithmetic and motor test scores after control-
ling for mother’s education, social class and
other important confounding factors, but the
effect on the overall intelligence quotient was
not signifcant (344). Duvanel et al reported
that there was also an association between
plasma glucose measurements of <2.6 mmol/
l and developmental delay at 5 years of age
(341). Pildes et al demonstrated that frequent
“moderate” hypoglycaemia (plasma glucose
<2.6 mmol/l) was associated with develop-
mental defcit at the time of hospital discharge
(342). Brown et al reported that 95% of the
LBW infants in his case series with blood glu-
cose levels <1.1 mmol/l had convulsions and
abnormal neurological signs (343).

conclusions and implications
Studies in pre-term and term LBW infants
indicate the need for avoiding prolonged and
recurrent hypoglycaemia. However, no studies
were found that examined the impact of such
monitoring on improved survival, growth or
neurodevelopment.
recommendations
Guidelines from WHO and other international
groups recommend monitoring blood glucose
in healthy LBW infants at 4-hourly intervals,
each time before giving a feed, for the frst 48
hours or until two measurements are >2.6
mmol/l and then daily until the infant is estab-
lished on full enteral feeds (345). However, pre-
vention by early enteral feeding (or provision of
intravenous glucose for those unable to feed) is
95
more important than frequent blood glucose
testing. Daily or twice daily laboratory meas-
urements are preferable to frequent but inaccu-
rate reagent strip measurements. They should
be suffcient in most cases to tailor feeding regi-
mens to the individual infant’s requirement.
WHO recommendations also include treat-
ing symptomatic infants with blood glucose
levels <2.6 mmol/l, monitoring asymptomatic
infants with blood glucose levels <2.6 mmol/
l closely, and treating asymptomatic LBW
infants if the blood glucose level remains below
this level or does not increase after a feed, or
abnormal clinical signs develop (345). Others
recommend close surveillance in term LBW
infants if the plasma glucose concentration is
<2.0 mmol/l and there are no symptoms (346).
WHO and other international groups also
recommend treating any asymptomatic LBW
infants when the blood glucose concentration
is <1.1 mmol/l (346, 347). It is recommended
that the decisions for treatment should be
based on clinical signs and laboratory values
and not on reagent strip values only.
6.2 growth monitoring
results
No studies were located which examined the
impact of growth monitoring on mortality
rates, serious clinical disease, neurodevelop-
ment or growth in LBW infants.
results
Intrauterine growth references
Many growth references such as the National
Centres for Health Statistics (NCHS)/WHO
chart do not provide data for pre-term infants
(347, 348). Several intrauterine growth refer-
ences have been published for assessing size
at birth according to gestational age. Some of
these references for pre-term infants are sum-
marized in Box 6.2.1.
Most of these were cross-sectional popu-
lation-based studies reviewing routinely-
collected hospital separation data, vital
registration data and death certifcates (349–
356). There was one cross-sectional hospital-
based study (357). WHO criteria were used to
assess the pre-term anthropometric data sets
and growth curves (Box 6.2.1) (9). No study
fulflled all of these criteria. Many of the ref-
erences have problems, such as the cross-
sectional nature of the data collection, round-
ing and inaccurate dating, selection bias (e.g.
elective delivery for intrauterine growth fail-
ure), and secular change (e.g. change in infant
feeding patterns and improvement in socio-
economic status over time). This can cause
signifcant misclassifcation of infants as SGA
and LBW and growth faltering (354, 358). The
variability in four of these growth references is
shown in Figure 6.2.1. The red lines represent
the 90th, 50th and 10th centiles of the Wil-
liams 1982 reference (9).
Figure 6.2.1 Comparison of growth references for preterm infants (from reference 359)
Gestation (weeks)
5000
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90 Williams et al, 1982
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90 Thomas et al, 2000
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90 Milner & Richards, 1974
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90 Lubchenco, 1963
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96 Optimal feeding Of lOw-birth-weight infants: technical review
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98 Optimal feeding Of lOw-birth-weight infants: technical review
Early postnatal growth references
Postnatal growth references from two prospec-
tive cohort studies of pre-term infants who
received optimal nutritional management in
neonatal care units in developed countries are
summarized in Box 6.2.2 (282, 360).
Postnatal growth curves of infants weigh-
ing 500–1500 g at birth in some neonatal care
centres in the US show that infants at about
the 50th centile for gestation lose about 10%
of birth weight during the frst week of life and
regain birth weight by about 2 weeks of age,
ending up at about the 10th
centile of the intrauterine
reference at this stage. Sub-
sequent growth until term
continues to diverge further
from the 10th centile (see
Figure 6.2.2) (360). Figure
6.2.2 has been drawn using
a cross-sectional reference
from 1996 which displays
birth weight compared to
gestational age (solid lines)
(354). Longitudinal growth
data from infants hospital-
ized in neonatal intensive
care units in the US were
used to draw the dashed
lines (360).
The UK 1990 intrauter-
ine growth reference chart provides a 9-cen-
tile format (Child Growth Foundation 1990)
which allows the approximation of changes in
growth in terms of z-score, each band width
being 0.66SD. The lowest centiles on these
charts are 2nd and 0.4th, which are very useful
for plotting growth of babies <1500 g at birth.
These charts should not be considered to be a
prescriptive depiction of optimal growth but
to be an indicator of a baby’s position relative
to a term-born counterpart.
Box 6.2.2 Reference data for postnatal growth with optimal nutritional management (Format adapted from reference 9)
Location Design Sample size Represent- Validity of Ethnicity Socio- Multiple Congenital Maternal Quality of Level of
Author Duration of ativeness gestational economic births malform- pathologies data source current
year data age status ations and intra- use
collection uterine
infections
Ehrenkranz Prospective 1660 Hospital Best 35.6% White, Births No Excluded No Prospective New
et al (360), hospital 1994–1995 based study obstetric 64.4% Non included information information measurement reference
Multicentre, based study of Infants estimate White. regardless of by hospital
USA of live births born at or LMP No other socio-economic staff
with optimal 500–1500 g information status
nutritional birth weight
management
Pauls Prospective 136 Hospital Best No Births included Included Included Included Prospective Appears to Prospective 136 Hospital Best No Births included Included Included Included Prospective Appears to
et al (282) hospital 1991–1997 based study obstetric information regardless of measurement be limited hospital 1991–1997 based study obstetric information regardless of measurement be limited
Berlin, based study of Infants born estimate socio-economic by hospital based study of Infants born estimate socio-economic by hospital
Germany of live births at <1000 g or LMP status staff of live births at <1000 g or LMP status staff
with optimal birth weight
nutritional
management
Figure 6.2.2 Average body weight versus postmenstrual age in weeks
(From reference 360)
W
e
i
g
h
t

(
g
r
a
m
s
)
2000
1500
1000
500
Postmenstrual age (weeks)
24 28 32 36
Intrauterine growth (10th and 50th)
24–25 weeks
26–27 weeks
28–29 weeks
10th 50th
99
Later postnatal growth of
pre-term infants
Post-term growth in premature infants can
be assessed using growth references created
for term infants after correcting for gestation.
Prior to 2006, the NCHS/WHO growth ref-
erence was commonly used (347). However,
this reference was based on predominately
formula-fed infants (9, 361) and many stud-
ies have demonstrated that breastfed infants
grow less rapidly and deviate signifcantly
from this reference (9, 348, 361, 362). A new
international growth reference has been devel-
oped (348), which is based on predominately
breastfed infants living in favourable socio-
economic conditions in six developing and
developed countries (Brazil, Ghana, India,
Norway, Oman, USA).
conclusions and implications
No studies were located that studied the
impact of growth monitoring in LBW infants
on clinical outcomes.
Intrauterine growth can be assessed using
references for size at birth such as the Wil-
liams 1982 or the UK 1990 references. Achiev-
ing a postnatal growth that approximates the
in utero growth of a normal fetus at the same
post-conception age is considered to be the
logical approach by some experts. However,
whether achieving fetal growth during post-
natal life is optimum remains a hypothesis.
Early postnatal growth should be plot-
ted against an intrauterine growth reference.
However, it must be recognized that even in
results
well-resourced neonatal care units in devel-
oped countries, exact mimicry of intrauterine
growth in the postnatal period is not possible.
Infants with birth weights <1500 g who are at
the 50th centile of weight for gestation at birth
lose about 10% of birth weight during the frst
week of life, regain the birth weight by about 2
weeks of age, and end up well below the 10th
centile of the intrauterine reference by the time
they reach term.
Postnatal growth after premature infants
have reached term should be assessed using
the new WHO Growth Reference. Corrected
age should be used at least during the frst year
of life.
recommendations
Standard practice is to weigh the LBW infant
daily for the frst week of life or until discharge
from hospital, then twice a week or weekly
until term, and then monthly until 12 months
of chronological age. Babies who are unwell
are weighed more frequently, especially if they
are given IV fuids or if discharged early from
the hospital, and particularly if the weight
at discharge is <1500 g. Standard practice in
many neonatal units is to plot early growth
on an intrauterine growth reference chart.
Many centres also use the Ehrenkranz post-
natal growth reference to assess the adequacy
of postnatal growth. Standard practice is also
to use the WHO Road to Health charts from
term to 12 months of chronological age. It was
not possible to provide additional recommen-
dations from this review.
7. FEEDIng InFAnTS OF HIV-POSITIVE MOTHERS
The risk of intrauterine and intrapartum
mother-to-child transmission (MTCT) of
HIV in term newborn infants, who were born
to mothers who are known to be HIV-positive
and who have not taken antiretroviral medi-
cation, has been described as 20–30% (363,
364). The risk of MTCT through human milk
in term newborn infants, born to mothers
who are known to be HIV-positive and who
have not taken antiretroviral medication, is
10–15% (363, 364).
The risk of delivering a LBW infant is
higher in HIV-positive women than in HIV-
negative women (365). The risk of MTCT
through human milk may be higher in LBW
than non-LBW infants as the mother may
have additional risk factors for transmission
(e.g. a sexually transmitted infection, masti-
T00 Optimal feeding Of lOw-birth-weight infants: technical review
tis or cracked nipples). Among infants born
to HIV-positive mothers, there is a twofold
higher risk of becoming HIV-infected during
intrapartum and early breastfeeding periods
in pre-term infants than in infants born after
37 weeks (366–368). The risks of infection
from replacement feeding are also likely to be
higher in LBW than non-LBW infants as the
former have a higher risk of impaired immu-
nity and of infection (see sections 2.1 and
2.3). Thus, the balance of benefts and risks of
breastfeeding in LBW infants may be similar
to that in non-LBW infants.
HIV-infected mothers of LBW infants may
not know their HIV status at the time of birth,
especially if this is earlier than expected. Fur-
ther, even if the mother knows her HIV sta-
tus she may not have received HIV and infant
feeding counselling.
We looked for published studies on the fol-
lowing issues:
• Choice of milk in infants born to HIV-
positive mothers;
• Counselling on infant feeding for HIV-
positive mothers of LBW infants.
results
Effects on mortality,
neurodevelopment and malnutrition
No studies were located which examined the
impact of choice of milk or counselling on
HIV and infant feeding on mortality rates,
severe morbidity, neurodevelopment and
malnutrition/growth in LBW infants born to
HIV-positive mothers.
Effects on serious morbidity – HIV
transmission
There is evidence from observational studies
in South Africa that the risk of HIV transmis-
sion is lower if infants are exclusively breastfed
(EBF), compared with mixed feeding, in the
frst months of life (367). A recent study from
Zimbabwe supports this observation (369).
HIV transmission rates/100 child-years at 6
months were 5.1 for exclusive breastfeeding,
6.7 for predominant breastfeeding, and 10.5
for mixed feeding. However, some studies have
questioned a causal link and have provided data
suggesting the potential for reverse causality,
i.e. infants who are HIV-positive and unwell
are more likely not to be exclusively breastfed
(370). There are no data on the risks of HIV
transmission in infants who moved from for-
mula/mixed feeding to EBF early in life.
No data were located that examined the
impacts of heat treatment of mother’s own milk
in HIV-positive mothers of LBW infants. In
non-LBW infants, heat treatment by fash and
Pretoria pasteurization methods inactivates
HIV (76–79). Both methods have been shown
to reduce HIV-1 by >3 logs and eliminate bac-
terial contaminants, while fash treatment
resulted in undetectable reverse transcriptase
activity (76–79). Neither method was reported
to cause signifcant decrease in any vitamin,
lactoferrin or lysozyme. These methods could
be implemented by a mother in a developing
country, but studies have shown that accept-
ability is variable (371, 372).
recommendations
The current UN recommendations on feeding
infants of HIV-positive women are replace-
ment feeding when this is acceptable, feasible,
affordable, sustainable and safe, or EBF for the
frst few months of life and cessation of breast-
feeding as early as possible. There is no differ-
ence in the recommendations for normal and
LBW infants. It was not possible to provide
additional recommendations due to insuff-
cient evidence.
T0T
annex 1
Defnitions
Low birth weight infant (LBW) = infant with
birth weight less than 2500 g.
Very low birth weight infant (VLBW) = infant
with birth weight less than 1500 g.
Pre-term infant = infant born before 37 weeks
of gestational age.
Term infant = infant born between 37 and 42
weeks of gestational age.
Pre-term birth = birth occurring before 37
weeks of gestational age.
Term birth = birth occurring between 37 and
42 weeks of gestational age.
Post-term birth = birth occurring after 42
weeks of gestational age.
Small for gestational age (SGA) = an infant
whose birth weight is less than the 10th cen-
tile for gestational age at birth.
Appropriate for gestational age (AGA) = an
infant whose birth weight is between the
10th centile and the 90th centile for gesta-
tional age at birth.
Corrected age (i.e. corrected for prematurity)
= the age of the infant in weeks from the
date of birth minus the number of weeks
that the infant was born early.
Chronological age = the age of the infant in
weeks from the date of birth without cor-
recting for prematurity.
Transition period = the period from birth to
7 days when infants are likely to be clini-
cally and metabolically unstable and to lose
weight.
Stable growing period = the period begin-
ning when the infant is metabolically and
clinically stable and ending when the infant
reaches 37 weeks of post-conception age.
Kangaroo mother care (KMC) = early con-
tinuous and prolonged skin-to-skin contact
between the mother and infant combined
with exclusive breastfeeding.
Standard infant formula = formula designed
for term infants, based on the composition
of mature breastmilk. The typical energy
content is 68 kcal/100ml. The concentra-
tion of protein is approximately 1.5 g/100ml
and the calcium and phosphorus content
50 mg/100ml and 30 mg/100ml respec-
tively.
Pre-term infant formula = formula especially
designed for premature infants. Pre-term
formulas are enriched in calories (approxi-
mately 80 kcal/100ml) and variably in pro-
tein and minerals to support intra-uterine
nutrient accretion rates. The calories may
be provided as protein, fat or carbohydrate
and the balance between calories and pro-
tein may be critical in determining the type
of growth. Compared to unsupplemented
human milk or ‘standard infant formula’,
pre-term formulas contain more protein,
sodium, calcium, phosphorus, zinc, copper
and vitamins, often in a form that is more
easily absorbed and metabolised. Most have
an energy content of about 80 kcal/100ml.
In spite of the higher carbohydrate and
mineral content, the osmolality of ‘pre-
term formulas’ remains low at around 250–
320 mOsm/kg H
2
O. ‘Pre-term formulas’
also contain at least 2 g/100ml of protein so
that the premature infant will receive 3 g/
kg/d of protein when fed at 150 ml/kg/day.
Nutrient-enriched post-discharge formula =
formula especially designed for LBW infants
after they have reached term gestational
age. ‘Post-discharge formulas’ are interme-
diate in composition between ‘pre-term’
and ‘term’ formulas. Compared to unsup-
plemented human milk or ‘standard infant
formula’, ‘post-discharge formulas’ contain
more protein, sodium, calcium, phospho-
T02 Optimal feeding Of lOw-birth-weight infants: technical review
rus, zinc, copper and vitamins, often in a
form that is easily absorbed and metabo-
lised. Most have an energy content of about
70 kcal/100ml (22 kcal/oz). In spite of the
higher carbohydrate and mineral content,
the osmolality of ‘post-discharge formula’
remains low at around 250–320 mOsm/kg
H
2
O. ‘Post-discharge formulas’ also con-
tain at least 2 g/100ml of protein so that the
infant will receive 3 g/kg/d of protein when
fed at 150 ml/kg/day.
Enteral feeding = administration of any feed
into the gastrointestinal tract; it includes
intragastric feeding and cup, bottle and
breastfeeding.
Early initiation of ‘maintenance’ enteral
feeds = enteral feeding of at least 40 ml/kg/
day for the frst 24 hours of life
Trophic feeding or minimal enteral nutrition
= any enteral milk feed in the frst 24 hours
of life in sub-nutritional quantities (e.g. 5–
10 ml/kg/day on the frst day) (also called
“minimal enteral feeding”, “gut priming”,
and “early hypo-caloric feeding”).
Bolus feeding = a calculated amount of fuid,
given intermittently, every 1–4 hours
depending on weight and gestational age.
Oral feeding = administration of any feed
into the oral cavity; it includes cup, paladai,
spoon, syringe, direct expression, bottle and
breastfeeding but not gastric tube feeding.
Paladai = a traditional feeding device used
in some South Indian communities. It is
shaped like a small cup (30 ml capacity)
with an open spout for pouring the milk
gently into the infant’s mouth.
Rooting = the response of a baby when the
side of the cheek is touched, which makes
him turn to the breast with the mouth wide
open
Feasibility = the practicability of implement-
ing an intervention in a frst referral health-
care facility in a developing country.
Catch-up growth = any improvement in cen-
tiles or z scores. Early catch-up is defned
as fast growth in infancy among small
newborns and late catch-up is defned as
improvement in growth from 1 year of age
until adulthood.
Metabolic bone disease or osteopenia of
prematurity = characteristic osteopenic
radiological appearance, a low bone min-
eral content or peak alkaline phosphatase
of >1200 IU.
Stable infant = an infant whose vital functions
(particularly the respiration and heart rate)
are not subject to rapid and unexpected
worsening, regardless of intercurrent dis-
ease, and do not depend on continuous
medical monitoring and support (e.g. use
of a mechanical ventilator).
Unstable infant = an infant who has danger
signs and is subject to rapid and unexpected
worsening, whose vital functions depend
on continuous medical monitoring and
support.
Exclusive breastfeeding (EBF) = breastfeed-
ing with no supplemental liquid or solid
foods other than medications or vitamins.
Predominant breastfeeding = breastfeeding
plus water-based fuids (e.g. water, juice or
tea) but no solids, milks or gruels.
Partial breastfeeding = breastfeeding plus
water-based fuids, solids, milks or gruels.
Non-breastfed = no breastmilk given.
T03
annex 2
Levels of evidence
Levels of evidence were rated according to the following scale (US Preventative Services Task
Force 1989).
I. Evidence obtained from a systematic review of all relevant randomized controlled tri-
als
II Evidence obtained from at least one properly designed randomized controlled trial
III-1 Evidence obtained from well-designed pseudo-randomized controlled trials (alternate
allocation or some other method)
III-2 Evidence obtained from comparative studies with concurrent controls and allocation
not randomized (cohort studies), case control studies, or interrupted time series with a
control group
III-3 Evidence obtained from comparative studies with historical control, two or more sin-
gle-arm studies, or interrupted time series without a parallel control group
IV Evidence obtained from case series, either post-test or pre-test and post-test
annex 3
Sources and quality of evidence
ToPIC SouRCES AND QuALITy oF EVIDENCE
nuTRITIOn
Breastfeeding or mother’s Three of the fve studies that examined the effects on infection
own expressed milk were observational. One of the three observational studies did
not adjust for confounding. A meta-analysis of cohort
studies, which adjusted for appropriate confounders, was the basis
of fndings related to neurodevelopment. In most studies,
comparison group was infants fed standard infant formula.
Donor human milk The fndings are based on 5 RCTs and their meta-analyses.
The trials were small and unblinded. Most of these studies used
donor drip milk, which is predominantly fore milk. Further,
most studies were initiated over 20 years ago and used standard
infant formula milk as the comparison.
Optimal duration of There are limited data available. The 3 RCTs identifed did not
exclusive breastfeeding measure effect of EBF duration on mortality and morbidity and
only one trial reported effects on neurodevelopment. The sample
sizes of two of these studies were small. Contrary to other issues,
most studies were conducted in term, SGA infants.
Human milk Findings are largely based on RCTs and their meta-analysis. The
supplementation with studies examining the effects on mortality and necrotising
multicomponent fortifer enterocolitis were too small to get precise estimates. There was a
large amount of missing data in the studies
Human milk Vitamin A There are no data examining the effect of usually
supplementation with recommended dose of 700–1500 IU/kg body weight daily. Three
single nutrients RCTs (2 small, one with adequate sample size) examined the
mortality effect of a large dose (50,000 IU in one or two divided
doses) of vitamin A during the frst days of life.
Vitamin D The fndings are from case series and a single RCT
that compared a high dose of vitamin D (2000 IU per day) with
the usual dose of 400 IU per day.
Calcium and phosphorus The fndings are based on two small
RCTs.
Iron The fndings are based on observational studies examining
iron status of breastfed LBW infants and two RCTs that examined
effects of iron supplementation on iron status in LBW infants.
Zinc Findings are based on RCTs. Most of these RCTs had
smaller than appropriate sample sizes.
T04
T05 annex 3
ToPIC SouRCES AND QuALITy oF EVIDENCE
Pre-term vs. standard The fndings are largely based on one large, well designed RCT
infant formula comparing pre-term infant formula with standard term infant
formula in pre-term infants. 80% of study participants were
<1500 g at birth.
Nutrient-enriched post- The fndings are largely based on 3 RCTs examining the
discharge formula vs. effect of nutrient-enriched post-discharge formula compared with
standard formula standard formula on neurodevelopment and growth. There are
no data for other outcomes
FEEDIng METHODS
Cup feeding vs. None of the available studies examined the effects of different
bottle feeding oral feeding methods on key clinical outcomes. Two RCTs and
6 observational studies examined the effect of cup feeding
compared to bottle feeding on breastfeeding rates at hospital
discharge. One study compared cup, ‘paladai’ and bottle feeding.
Most studies were of poor quality and longer-term outcomes
(post hospital discharge) were not assessed.
Use of nasogastric vs. Only one small descriptive study was located.
orogastric tubes
Bolus vs. The fndings are based on meta-analyses of RCTs or large RCTS
continuous feeding performed in developed country infants <1500 g at birth. The
studies had small sample sizes and inconsistencies in controlling
variables that affect outcomes.
FEEDIng SCHEDuLES
Trophic feeding or A systematic review and meta-analysis of 10 RCTs was located.
minimal enteral nutrition The trials were of intermediate methodological quality. Many
studies did not mention how randomization was concealed, did
not attempt blind assessments and did not include results for all
infants randomized.
Initiation of ‘maintenance’ No studies examined the role of early initiation of breastfeeding
enteral feeding in LBW infants. The only available studies were from the 1960s
which examined impacts of nasogastric feeding on day 1 in
pre-term infants. All had design faws and two of the 4 studies
did not provide results stratifed by birth weight or gestation.
Progression of enteral The fndings are based on meta-analyses of RCTs from developed
feeding countries. The studies included in the meta-analyses were
heterogeneous and subject to observer and diagnostic
surveillance bias.
Volume of enteral feeds in Only 1 small RCT was located which compared the
the second week of life administration of different daily fuid volumes in the second week
of life in infants who were <30 weeks gestation at birth.
T06 Optimal feeding Of lOw-birth-weight infants: technical review
ToPIC SouRCES AND QuALITy oF EVIDENCE
Feed frequencies and Only case series and descriptive studies were located in this
intervals section. However, no comparative studies were available to allow
decisions to be made about the safest or most effective regimes.
No implications can be drawn for infants of particular gestational
ages or birth weights.
Demand or scheduled Only 1 small study was located which examined impacts of
feeding demand feeding of pre-term infants by the time they had reached
1800 g.
SuPPORT
Kangaroo mother care The 3 available RCTs only included stabilized LBW infants. The
studies were of moderate to poor methodological quality
(unblinded, large proportion of drop-outs and loss to follow-up).
One RCT and two observational studies which examined the
effects of KMC in un-stabilized LBW infants were identifed
Non-nutritive sucking Findings are based on a meta-analysis of 3 small RCTs. Results are
diffcult to interpret due to small sample sizes and other
methodological faws. An intervention study that examined the
effect of sucking on ‘emptied breast’ was also identifed
Early discharge from Eight RCTs in infants <2000 g were located which examined the
hospital effect of early discharge of low birth weight infants after they were
clinically stable, on full oral feeds and mother demonstrated
satisfactory care-taking skills.
Involvement of mothers in Three studies were located which described the effects of
care and feeding of their maternal participation in care of their LBW infants
LBW infants
Breastfeeding counselling The fndings are based on results of two RCTs in pre-term and
SGA infants. One was a small study in infants <1500 g and the
other was a subgroup analysis of a community-based intervention
trial of EBF promotion.
Drug therapy The fndings of this section are based on 2 small trials in mothers
of infants <32 weeks gestation, but no information on safety is
available. No information was available in mothers of larger LBW
infants.
MOnITORIng
Blood glucose monitoring No studies were found that examined the impact of such
monitoring on improved survival, growth or neurodevelopment.
Four observational studies were located that examined the
association of low blood glucose with subsequent outcomes.
Growth monitoring No studies were located which examined the impact of growth
monitoring on key clinical outcomes.
HIV AnD InFAnT FEEDIng
No studies were located which examined the impact of HIV and
infant feeding counselling of HIV-positive mothers of LBW
infants or the choice of milk on key clinical outcomes.
T07
annex 4
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annex 4

Optimal feeding of low-birth-weight infants
technical review
Karen Edmond, MBBS, MSc (Epidemiology), PhD London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, London, U.K. Rajiv Bahl, MD, PhD Department of Child and Adolescent Health and Development, WHO, Geneva

WHO Library Cataloguing-in-Publication Data Edmond, Karen. Optimal feeding of low-birth-weight infants : technical review / Karen Edmond, Rajiv Bahl. 1.Infant nutrition. 2.Infant, Low birth weight. 3.Nutritional requirements. 4.Feeding methods. 5.Infant food. I.Bahl, Rajiv. II.World Health Organization. III.Title. ISBN 92 4 159509 4 ISBN 978 92 4 159509 4 (NLM classification: WS 120)

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Annex 3.2 Support for the breastfeeding mother 6.Contents Acknowledgments Abbreviations Executive summary Introduction Methods Results 1. Feeding schedules 4.1 Initiation of enteral feeding 4.1 Blood glucose monitoring 6. Feeding methods 3. Monitoring 6. Support 5. Background 1.2 Nutritional requirements 1.3 Nutritional sources for LBW infants 1.3 Breastmilk substitutes 3. Nutrition 2.2 Human milk supplementation 2.1 Supportive care for the LBW infant 5. Annex 2. Annex 4.4 Development of feeding ability 2. Definitions Levels of evidence Sources and quality of evidence References vii viii 1 7 9 12 12 12 14 14 23 25 25 39 56 62 62 64 69 69 74 79 79 90 94 94 95 99 101 103 104 107 iii . Feeding infants of HIV-positive mothers Annex 1.1 Oral feeding 3.1 Human milk 2.2 Progression and scheduling of enteral feeding 5.2 Growth monitoring 7.1 Physiological principles of feeding LBW infants 1.2 Intragastric feeding 4.

3.1 2.2.2 Average composition of weight gain of a reference fetus during four successive 4-week intervals Age-related changes of total body water and its compartments (intra.3 2.2.3 2.2.1.6 2.1.1.1 Concentration of nutrients in transitional and mature pre-term human milk compared with mature term milk 1.1.8 2.List of boxes 1.2 1.3.1.1.3 6.2.1.1 6.3 Nutrient composition of multicomponent commercial human milk fortifiers 1.3.1.1 Recommended daily nutrient allowances for pre-term infants >1000 grams at birth 1.4 Effects of mother’s own milk compared with formula feeding on infection or necrotising enterocolitis in low birth weight (LBW) infants Effects of mother’s own milk compared with formula feeding on neurodevelopment in LBW infants Effects of donor human milk compared with formula feeding on infection or necrotising enterocolitis in LBW infants Effects of donor human milk compared with formula feeding on neurodevelopment in LBW infants Effects of donor human milk compared with formula feeding on feed tolerance in LBW infants Effects of exclusive breastfeeding (EBF) duration on neurodevelopment in LBW infants Effects of EBF duration on growth outcomes in LBW infants Effects of EBF duration on iron-deficiency anaemia in LBW infants Effects of Vitamin A supplementation on mortality in LBW infants Effects of iron supplementation of breastfed LBW infants on iron status in the first 6 months of life Effects of zinc supplementation of breastfed LBW infants on mortality Effects of zinc supplementation of breastfed LBW infants on serious morbidity 28 29 32 33 33 36 37 38 40 44 46 46 iv Optimal feeding Of lOw-birth-weight infants: technical review .1.2.1 Reference data for size at birth 6.4 Nutrient composition of standard and pre-term infant formulas 1.2 Nutrient composition of multivitamin supplement formulations 1.and extracellular) from fetal life until adolescence Energy intake and nitrogen retention according to protein intake in pre-term infants Average body weight versus post-menstrual age in weeks Comparison of growth references for pre-term infants 12 12 14 95 98 List of summary tables of key studies 2.1 2.7 2.2 Reference data for postnatal growth of LBW infants with optimal nutritional management 15 16 19 19 21 22 96 98 List of figures 1.4 2.2.2.1 1.1.2.5 2.3.2.3.2 2.5 Nutrient composition of nutrient-enriched “post-discharge” formulas 6.1.2 2.

2.6 Effects of zinc supplementation of breastfed LBW infants on growth outcomes in LBW infants 2.3 Effects of initiation of maintenance enteral feeds in the first 24 hours of life on biochemical measures in LBW infants 4.3 Effects of continuous feeding compared with bolus feeding on necrotising enterocolitis in LBW infants 3.1.2.2.8 Effects of multi-component fortification of human milk on necrotising enterocolitis in LBW infants 2.3.2.2.1.2.3.2 Effects of initiation of maintenance enteral feeds in the first 24 hours of life on growth outcomes in LBW infants 4.1 Effects of nasogastric compared with orogastric tube feeding on feeding patterns in LBW infants 3.4 Effects of nutrient-enriched post-discharge formula compared with standard infant formula on growth in LBW infants 3.3 Effects of nutrient-enriched post-discharge formula compared with standard infant formula on neurodevelopment in LBW infants 2.10 Effects of multi-component fortification of human milk on growth outcomes in LBW infants 2.5 Effects of zinc supplementation of breastfed LBW infants on neurodevelopment 2.2.1.2.1.2.1 Effects of pre-term formula compared with standard infant formula given from birth until LBW infants attained a weight of 2000 g on neurodevelopment 2.2 Effects of pre-term formula compared with standard infant formula on growth outcomes in LBW infants 2.2 Effects of nasogastric compared with orogastric tube feeding on physiological parameters in LBW infants 3.2.3 Effects of rapid compared with slow feeding progression on time to reach full enteral feeds in LBW infants 5.2.3.7 Effects of multi-component fortification of human milk on mortality in LBW infants 2.9 Effects of multi-component fortification of human milk on neurodevelopment in LBW infants 2.1 Effects of kangaroo mother care compared with conventional care on mortality in LBW infants 48 48 52 53 54 54 58 58 60 61 63 65 66 68 68 69 72 73 73 76 76 77 82 cOntents v .1.3.2 Effects of rapid compared with slow feeding progression on growth outcomes in LBW infants 4.2.5 Effects of continuous compared with bolus feeding on respiratory complications in LBW infants 4.2.1 Effects of cup feeding compared with bottle feeding on breastfeeding patterns in LBW infants 3.2.4 Effects of continuous feeding compared with bolus feeding on growth in LBW infants 3.2.1 Effects of initiation of maintenance enteral feeds in the first 24 hours of life on mortality rates in LBW infants 4.1 Effects of rapid compared with slow feeding progression on necrotising enterocolitis in LBW infants 4.

1.4 Effects of kangaroo mother care compared with conventional care on breastfeeding patterns in LBW infants 5.1.2.1.1.5.7 Effects of early compared with conventional discharge of LBW infants on re-hospitalization rates after discharge 5.1.2.6 Effects of non-nutritive sucking compared with conventional care on hospitalization rates in LBW infants 5.3 Effects of kangaroo mother care compared with conventional care on neurodevelopment in LBW infants 5.1.5 Effects of non-nutritive sucking compared with conventional care on growth outcomes in LBW infants 5.8 Effects of early compared with conventional discharge of LBW infants on growth outcomes after discharge 5.2 Effects of breastfeeding counselling on breastfeeding patterns in LBW infants 83 83 84 85 85 88 89 91 92 vi Optimal feeding Of lOw-birth-weight infants: technical review .1 Effects of breastfeeding counselling on growth outcomes in LBW infants 5.2 Effects of kangaroo mother care compared with conventional care on severe morbidity in LBW infants 5.1.

Jane Hawdon. Nutrition of the preterm infant: scientific basis and practical guidelines. Koletzko B. Michael Kramer. Uauy R. Cincinnati.Acknowledgements M any individuals made significant contributions to this document: Saadet Arsan. Indira Narayanan. Zulfiqar Bhutta. vii . and Anthony Williams. Digital Educational Publishing. Sandra Lang. Joy Lawn. 2005. and the Cochrane Neonatal Collaborative Review Group for providing lists of relevant systematic reviews and randomized controlled trials. Felicity Savage. Special thanks are also due to Reginald Tsang and Tim Mullican for allowing pre-publication access to: Tsang RC. This document was prepared by the World Health Organization’s Department of Child and Adolescent Health and Development. 2nd ed. Vinod Paul. OH. Richard Schanler. Nalini Singhal. Zlotkin SH.

Abbreviations AGA CI CMV DBM EBF EBM ERSL FAO HIV HR IDA IQ IU IUGR KMC LBW MD MTCT NCHS OR PRSL RCT RD RNI RR SGA TPN UNICEF VLBW WHO WMD Z-SCORE Appropriate for gestational age Confidence interval Cytomegalovirus Drip breastmilk Exclusive breastfeeding Expressed breastmilk Estimated renal solute load Food and Agriculture Organization Human immunodeficiency virus Hazard ratio Iron-deficiency anaemia Intelligence quotient International units Intrauterine growth restriction/retardation Kangaroo mother care Low birth weight Mean difference Mother-to-child transmission of HIV National Centers for Health Statistics Odds ratio Potential renal solute load Randomized controlled trial Risk difference Recommended nutrient intake Relative risk Small for gestational age Total parenteral nutrition United Nations Children’s Fund Very low birth weight World Health Organization Weighted mean difference Standard deviation score viii .

and early detection and treatment of infections can substantially reduce mortality in this highly vulnerable group. Low birth weight can be a consequence of pre-term birth (i. infectious disease. hygienic cord and skin care. support and monitoring). feeding schedules. a variable but small proportion of LBW infants are born at term and are not small for gestational age. In addition. is usually responsible for SGA. This review summarizes the evidence on feeding LBW infants and serves as the basis for the development of guidelines on feeding LBW infants in developing countries. some are born at term but are small for gestational age. Better feeding of pre-term babies was one of the first interventions in the 1960s in the UK and was associated with reduced case fatality for pre-term babies in hospitals before the advent of intensive care (5). Pre-term birth and SGA are also important indirect causes of neonatal deaths. Countries can substantially reduce their infant mortality rates by improving the care of low birth weight infants. and some are both born early and small for gestational age. Low birth weight thus defines a heterogeneous group of infants: some are born early. randomized controlled trials.6 million such infants are born each year. Community-based studies from India have shown that improved care of LBW infants can substantially improve their survival (6–8). The global prevalence of LBW is 15. Intrauterine growth retardation.5%. Systematic reviews. Interventions to improve feeding are likely to improve the immediate and longer-term health and wellbeing of the individual infant and to have a significant impact on neonatal and infant mortality levels in the population. including feeding. feeding methods. developmental delay and death during infancy and childhood (3.5% of them in developing countries (1). Pre-term birth is a direct cause of 27% of the 4 million neonatal deaths that occur globally every year (2). observational studies and descriptive studies were examined. or both. Experience from both developed and developing countries has clearly shown that appropriate care of LBW infants. It is generally recognized that being born with a low birth weight is a disadvantage for the infant. 4). Key questions and evidence were considered for each section and summarized.4%). which means that about 20. defined as a slower than normal rate of fetal growth. Low birth weight directly or indirectly may contribute up to 60–80% of all neonatal deaths (2).Executive summary L ow birth weight (LBW) has been defined by the World Health Organization (WHO) as a weight at birth less than 2500 grams. with the highest incidence in South-Central Asia (27. temperature maintenance. The information was stratified into key sections (nutrition. or due to small size for gestational age (SGA. depending on the birth weight reference used. before 37 completed weeks of gestation).e.1%) and the lowest in Europe (6. There is significant variation in LBW incidence rates across the United Nations regions. LBW infants are at higher risk of early growth retardation. 96. The following outcomes were considered:  . defined as weight for gestation <10th percentile).

the available data suggest that improved infection and neurodevelopmental outcomes associated with feeding mother’s milk in pre-term infants are also seen in this group. It should be noted that many of the identified studies used drip milk (i. Feeding unsupplemented mother’s own milk to pre-term infants <1500 g resulted in slower weight and length gains.• • • • • Mortality Severe morbidity Neurodevelopment Growth Other outcomes (e. and (iii) term infants with a birth weight of 2000–2499 g. Although there is limited evidence. There is strong and consistent evidence that feeding mother’s own milk to pre-term infants of any gestation is associated with a lower incidence of infections and necrotising enterocolitis. There are no data on outcomes in the subgroup of term LBW infants. serum lipid profile or pro-insulin levels have also been reported for pre-term infants. anaemia. breastmilk that drips from the opposite breast while breastfeeding) rather than the recommended expressed donor milk. There are limited data on most outcomes in term LBW infants.  Optimal feeding Of lOw-birth-weight infants: technical review .g. Growth is slower in the short term in the infants fed donor human milk. exclusive breastfeeding rates. feed tolerance. The data are insufficient to conclude if there are neurodevelopmental advantages. Studies were classified into the following three groups based on the infant’s gestational age and (where this was not available) on birth weight: (i) gestational age under 32 weeks or birth weight under 1500 g. and improved neurodevelopmental outcome as compared with formula feeding. The available data indicate that feeding with donor human milk rather than standard or pre-term infant formula to LBW infants of <32 weeks gestation reduces the incidence of necrotising enterocolitis.e. Findings of the review what to feed Choice of milk Breastfeeding or mother’s own expressed milk. Long-term beneficial effects of breastfeeding on blood pressure. it can be assumed that the findings are similar in infants of 32–36 weeks gestation. but the implications of this slower growth are unclear and there is not enough evidence to assess if it increased the risk of malnutrition. but there are insufficient data to assess the effects on long-term growth outcomes. These infants are considered by many experts to be distinct risk groups requiring different specialized management (9–12). It was not possible to present the findings of most studies separately for pre-term infants who were appropriate for gestational age (AGA) from those who were small size for gestational age (SGA). Studies from developing and developed countries that included infants with a birth weight less than 2500 g or gestation less than 37 weeks were considered for inclusion in this review. Donor human milk. (ii) gestational age of 32–36 weeks or birth weight of 1500–1999 g. etc.).

the available evidence from two trials suggests that exclusive breastfeeding for 6 months. had no deleterious impact on neurodevelopment. Pre-term formula increases growth during the neonatal period but this is not sustained during later infancy and childhood. or haemoglobin levels. Phosphorus and calcium. There are no data on the effects of iron supplementation on mortality. there are insufficient data on the safety of iron supplementation during the first two months of life. There are no clinical trial data on the effect of vitamin D on key clinical outcomes in infants with a birth weight >1500 g. common childhood illnesses or neurodevelopment in LBW infants. Iron supplementation. There seems to be no consistent benefit of increasing the intake of vitamin D from the usually recommended 400 IU per day. However. There is some evidence that phosphorus and calcium supplementation reduces the risk of metabolic bone disease in pre-term infants and leads to short-term increases in bone mineralization in infants with a birth weight of <1500 g. if it was accompanied by iron supplementation.000 IU in one or two divided doses) during the first days of life may have a survival advantage. the verbal intelligence quotient (IQ) scores were higher in the pre-term infant formula group among boys. Human milk supplementation Vitamin D. No long-term benefits (e. No conclusions can be made about the benefits of early vitamin A supplementation of LBW infants. executive summary  . There is also some evidence to suggest that iron supplementation. growth. Infants of <32 weeks gestational age who were fed preterm infant formula had higher psychomotor developmental scores at 18 months of age than those fed standard infant formula. started at 6–8 weeks of age in LBW infants. There is some evidence that anaemia is common in LBW infants fed unsupplemented human milk even at 8 weeks of age. Vitamin A. There is some evidence of reduced linear growth and increased risk of rickets in babies with a birth weight <1500 g fed unsupplemented human milk. There are insufficient data to draw any conclusions for pre-term infants of 32–36 weeks gestational age or for term LBW infants. particularly in infants with birth weights <2000 g. may prevent this early anaemia in infants with birth weights <1500 g. Although there was no overall effect observed in these children at 7½–8 years of age. started at 2 weeks of age. blood pressure. Limited available data from industrialized countries suggest that early supplementation of breastfeeding (at about 3 months of age) with a high calorie diet in pre-term infants may marginally increase linear growth and haemoglobin levels. serum lipid profile or pro-insulin) have been found. is effective in preventing anaemia during infancy.Pre-term infant formula. compared with 4 months. No data are available for other key outcomes. Optimal duration of exclusive breastfeeding Overall there is no evidence to recommend a different duration of exclusive breastfeeding for pre-term or term LBW infants than for infants who are not low birth weight.g. Iron. There are no data on the effect of phosphorus and calcium supplementation on key clinical outcomes in infants with a birth weight >1500 g. Findings from a single large trial suggest that vitamin A (50. Among term LBW infants.

Bolus feeding refers to a calculated amount of feed given intermittently every 1–4 hours by a nasogastric or orogastric tube. Bolus compared with continuous intragastric feeding. Data from two trials in developing countries suggest that term LBW infants in developing countries may have lower mortality and morbidity if they receive zinc supplementation. Also. there is evidence that use of multicomponent fortifier leads to short-term increases in weight gain. compared with bottle feeding at the time of discharge from hospital. Use of multicomponent fortifiers does not appear to be associated with increased risk of mortality or necrotizing enterocolitis. There are physiological data which show that duodenal motor responses and gastric emptying is enhanced in infants of 32–35 weeks gestation given continuous intragastric feeding. In infants of <32 weeks gestation. Cup feeding was also associated with greater physiological stability. In pre-term infants. There are no data on the effect of zinc on key clinical outcomes in pre-term infants. e.Zinc. lower risk of bradycardia or desaturation. Multicomponent fortifier. There seems to be little evidence that zinc supplementation in these infants improves neurodevelopment or affects growth. there is some evidence that bolus feeding can reduce the time to full enteral feeding. A disadvantage of continuous feeding of expressed breastmilk is that fat can separate and stick to the syringe and tubes. In infants of <32 weeks gestation. There are no trial data comparing clinical outcomes associated with continuous or bolus intragastric feeding in infants of 32–36 weeks gestation or in term LBW infants. No data are available for term LBW infants. in the largest trial undertaken there was a significant increase in the incidence of infection among infants receiving the fortifier. There are no data examining the efficacy of multicomponent fortifier in infants of 32–36 weeks gestation or in term LBW infants.e.  Optimal feeding Of lOw-birth-weight infants: technical review . although the small number of infants and the large amount of missing data in the studies reduce confidence in this conclusion. than bottle feeding. with the infant upright and the milk is not poured into the mouth. which is supported by clinical data showing an increased incidence of apnoea and desaturation. i. linear growth. how to feed Feeding methods Cup feeding compared with bottle feeding. cup feeding leads to higher rates of full (exclusive or predominant) breastfeeding.g. There are insufficient data to evaluate the long-term neurodevelopmental and growth outcomes. Nasogastric compared with orogastric feeding. but no conclusions can be made about other advantages or disadvantages. although there appears to be no effect on growth beyond one year of age. Physiological data show that nasogastric tubes increase airway impedance and the work of breathing in very preterm infants. there is no evidence that there is an increased risk of aspiration. When cup feeding is correctly done. head growth and bone mineralization.

and the mother demonstrates satisfactory care-giving skills. Initiation of ‘maintenance’ enteral feeding. shows no evidence of clinical illness and is not losing weight. thermal care and support for breastfeeding Maternal involvement in care and feeding of LBW infants. Demand or scheduled feeding. One of these studies showed that infants <2250 g at birth had higher mortality if given full maintenance enteral fluids starting within 2 hours of birth as compared to those given small enteral feeds starting 12–16 hours after birth. short-term complications and hospital readmissions. However. it appears that very pre-term infants may benefit from avoidance of full enteral feeds on the first day of life. 5–10 ml/kg/day on the first day of life. Time of discharge from hospital. Progression of enteral feeding. Substantial benefits in terms of improved breastfeeding rates and early discharge from hospital were reported when mothers participated in the care and feeding of their LBW infants in neonatal units. There are limited data from which to draw any conclusions about fast rates of advancement of feeding rates in infants with 32–36 weeks gestation or in term LBW infants. No data are available for infants of <32 weeks gestation and term LBW infants. Findings from the other study in infants of <32 weeks gestation indicated that infants given IV fluids on the first day of life had lower mortality than those who received nasogastric feeds of glucose in water or those who received no feeds or fluids. including no differences in weight gain. Several RCTs indicate that there are no adverse outcomes of early discharge. these infants are more likely to tolerate rapid feeding regimens even better than smaller more immature infants. faster rates of increase in feeding volumes (20–35 ml/kg/day compared with 10–20 ml/kg/day) may decrease the time to full enteral feeds and may increase weight gain. executive summary  . There was no significant increase in the risk of necrotising enterocolitis although the findings do not exclude an important effect. Trophic feeding or minimal enteral nutrition refers to intragastric milk feeds in the first few days of life in sub-nutritional quantities.Feeding progression Trophic feedings or minimal enteral nutrition. There is limited information regarding safety (broad confidence intervals for incidence of necrotising enterocolitis) and the effect on length of hospital stay. Trophic feeding is not relevant for infants of >32 weeks gestation because they usually tolerate maintenance enteral feeding from the first day of life. Data are available only from two controlled studies conducted in the 1960s. However. e. In infants of <32 weeks gestation.g. Demand feeding may be feasible for some infants with 32–36 weeks gestation and may reduce the length of hospitalization. if the infants are discharged when the following criteria are met: the infant can breastfeed and maintain body temperature in an open crib. A systematic review and metaanalysis of 10 randomized controlled trials (RCTs) indicate that trophic feedings in infants of <32 weeks gestation are associated with a shorter time to reach full enteral feeds and shorter duration of hospitalization. No firm conclusions can be drawn from these studies.

It is unclear if lack of rapid catch-up is associated with a higher malnutrition risk. Non-nutritive sucking may decrease the length of hospital stay in pre-term infants but has no effect on growth outcomes in preterm infants who weigh less than 1800 g at birth.  Optimal feeding Of lOw-birth-weight infants: technical review . The optimal timing of catch-up growth is uncertain.Kangaroo mother care (KMC). Although monitoring the growth of LBW infants is considered essential for appropriate management. there is evidence that KMC is at least as effective as conventional care in reducing mortality. There are few data on the effect of breastfeeding counselling among pre-term infants of <32 weeks gestation. Monitoring Blood glucose monitoring. there are no data examining the effects of growth monitoring on key clinical outcomes of LBW infants. The available evidence suggests that metoclopramide or domperidone increases breastmilk volume in mothers of infants of <32 weeks gestation. Among pre-term infants of 32–36 weeks gestation and term LBW infants. breastfeeding counselling improves the rates of exclusive breastfeeding at 3 months. In clinically stable pre-term infants with a birth weight of <2000 g. Catch-up growth occurs after very discrepant rates of neonatal growth and is less likely to be complete in the smallest infants. This finding is consistent with the results of a meta-analysis of 20 intervention trials in term normal birth weight infants. KMC may reduce infections and improve exclusive breastfeeding rates and weight gain. after expression of breast milk. There are insufficient data regarding the effect of KMC in infants with birth weights <1500 g because many of these infants were excluded from the available studies as they were not considered to be clinically stable. may result in improved breastfeeding rates at discharge and at follow-up.6 mmol/l (<45 mg/dl) are likely to be associated with poorer neurodevelopment in later life. Limited observational data indicate that recurrent and/or prolonged blood glucose levels of <2. Rapid catch-up does not appear to improve neurodevelopment. Non-nutritive sucking. On the other hand. There are no data regarding efficacy in the mothers of infants of 32–36 weeks gestation or for term LBW infants. Growth monitoring. Encouraging the infant to suck on the ‘emptied’ breast. No studies were located which examined the impact of HIV and infant feeding counselling of HIV-positive mothers of LBW infants or the choice of milk on key clinical outcomes. rapid catch-up after the first year of life may be associated with increased cardiovascular risk in later life. Drug therapy for enhancing lactation. There is evidence that exact mimicry of fetal growth is not possible even in well-resourced neonatal care units in developed countries. HIV and infant feeding counselling. particularly those who were having difficulty in maintaining milk production. Breastfeeding counselling. There are no data regarding the effect of KMC in term LBW infants. There are no studies reporting the effects of regular blood glucose monitoring on subsequent outcomes. There is preliminary evidence from resource-poor settings that KMC may be effective even in clinically unstable LBW infants including those with birth weights <1500 g.

those who live at high altitudes. In addition. They relate to the infant. Pre-term birth and SGA are also important indirect causes of neonatal deaths. HIV or syphilis). 96.  . the mother. and twins weigh less than singletons. North America averages 7. alcohol. inadequate care for pregnancy complications.3% in Africa. high prevalence of specific and non-specific infections.4%. the mother’s lifestyle (e.5% of them are in developing countries (1). Low birth weight thus defines a heterogeneous group of infants: some are born early. a variable but small proportion of LBW infants are born at term and are not small for gestational age. The incidence in other parts of Asia ranges from 5.9% to 15. or complications such as hypertension can affect intrauterine growth and development. tobacco or drug use) and other exposures (e. or the physical environment and play an important role in determining the infant’s birth weight: • For the same gestational age.1% of infants are born with a low birth weight. • Once pregnant. which means that about 20. firstborn infants are lighter than subsequent infants. on average. depending on the birth weight reference used. and death during infancy and childhood (3. before 37 completed weeks of gestation) or related to a small size for gestational age (SGA. lower rates (10%). where 27. It is generally recognized that being born with a low birth weight is a disadvantage for the infant.g.7% while Europe has the lowest regional average LBW rate at 6. the mother’s poor nutrition and health. • About 10. • Mothers in deprived socioeconomic conditions frequently have low birth weight infants.e. The global prevalence of LBW is 15.g. Pre-term birth is a direct cause of 27% of the 4 million neonatal deaths that occur globally every year (2). with little variation across the region as a whole.6 million LBW infants are born each year. Intrauterine growth retardation. as well as the duration of pregnancy. 4).5% of births in Oceania are infants with a low birth weight. some are born at term but are small for gestational age. developmental delay. defined as a slower than normal rate of fetal growth. LBW infants are at higher risk of early growth retardation. • Among the developed regions.7%) is almost as high as in Africa. In those settings. There is significant variation in LBW incidence rates across the United Nations regions: • The highest incidence occurs in the subregion of South-Central Asia. to malaria. and young women have smaller babies. defined as weight for gestation <10th percentile). Low birth weight can be a consequence of preterm birth (i. Many factors affect the duration of gestation and intrauterine growth.5%.4%. and physically demanding work during pregnancy contribute to poor intrauterine growth. is usually responsible for SGA. infectious disease. • Latin America and Caribbean has. or both. but in the Caribbean the level (13. and some are born early and are small for gestational age. girls weigh less than boys. Low birth weight may directly or indirectly contribute to 60–80% of all neonatal deaths (2). • Women of short stature or with a low body mass index at conception.Introduction Background Low birth weight (LBW) is defined as a weight at birth less than 2500 g. • The incidence of LBW is 14.

Objectives To locate. taking into account the feasibility of implementing these interventions in developing country settings. where pre-term birth is the main cause of LBW. what support is needed for thermal care and breastfeeding. including feeding. Current guidelines on feeding the LBW infant are generally based on research in developed countries and may not be applicable in developing country settings. how much and how frequently to feed. and 20% are born in Africa (13. as well as public health professionals who design and evaluate healthcare programmes in developing countries. what nutritional supplements to give. Nearly 75% of all term SGA infants in the world are born in Asia. Unlike in developed countries. and communities in developing countries. Target audience This document is targeted towards neonatologists. both pre-term and SGA. n To describe the development of feeding ability. in developing countries most LBW infants are small for gestational age (SGA). how to feed. how to feed. what nutritional supplements to give. Feeding the LBW infant involves decisions about what milk to feed. many of the current feeding guidelines are not practical in resource-poor settings. Interventions to improve feeding are likely to improve the immediate and longer-term health and wellbeing of the individual infant and to have a significant impact on neonatal and infant mortality levels in the population. Experience from both developed and developing countries has clearly shown that appropriate care of LBW infants. Aim n To summarize the evidence on feeding LBW infants in order to develop guidelines for feeding them in the first 6 months of life in developing country settings. what support is needed. Further. human milk supplements and breastmilk substitutes. and how to monitor. 14). This review will form the basis of guidelines on feeding LBW infants for health professionals working in small hospitals. • how to monitor feeding. fluid and nutritional requirements of pre-term and SGA infants.  Optimal feeding Of lOw-birth-weight infants: technical review . in first-level referral facilities in developing countries. temperature maintenance. Community-based studies from India have shown that improved care of LBW infants can substantially improve their survival (6–8). paediatricians.Countries can substantially reduce their infant mortality rates by improving the care of low birth weight infants. and the nutritional composition of human milk. first-level health facilities. and early detection and treatment of infections can substantially reduce mortality in this highly vulnerable group. Better feeding of pre-term babies was one of the first interventions in the 1960s in the UK and was associated with a reduced case fatality for pre-term babies in hospitals before the advent of intensive care (5). and in the community where feasible. review and summarize key studies on interventions to improve the feeding of LBW infants in the first 6 months of life concerning: • • • • • what milk to feed. how much and how frequently to feed. fluid balance and growth. nutrition experts and other health professionals who manage LBW infants. hygienic cord and skin care. n To draw conclusions and make recommendations for developing guidelines. This review was designed to help the development of guidelines for feeding LBW infants.

monitoring. feed tolerance. support. The studies were classified into the following three groups based on the infants’ gestational age and (where gestational age was not available) on birth weight: (i) gestational age under 32 weeks or birth weight less than 1500 g. • severe morbidity (e.Methods Inclusion criteria Study designs All the available literature from both developed and developing countries was reviewed. and feeding in exceptionally difficult circumstances. • malnutrition (defined as wasting or stunting: standard deviation score for weightfor-length or length-for-age <–2. Exposures or interventions A pre-term infant is defined as an infant born before 37 weeks of gestation. bone mineralization. fractures. A small for gestational age (SGA) infant is defined as an infant whose birth weight was less than the 10th centile for gestational age at birth. (ii) gestational age of 32–36 weeks or birth weight of 1500–1999 g. the chronological age of the infant is used in this document. was included as an outcome measure rather than growth rates or weight gain because the implications of the latter on short. feeding schedules. The corrected age of the infant is defined as the age of the infant in weeks from the date of birth minus the number of weeks early that the infant was born. cohort and case-control studies were also considered. feeding methods. • neurodevelopment. and rates of exclusive breastfeeding).and long-term health and survival are still unclear.0). adult chronic disease). and the chronological age of the infant is defined as the age of the infant in weeks from the date of birth without correcting for prematurity (9). They included published and unpublished systematic reviews. which is a cause of at least half of all child deaths. Definitions of participants This classification was used as these infants are considered by many experts to be distinct risk groups requiring different levels of specialized management (9–12). and an appropriate for gestational age (AGA) infant is defined as an infant whose birth weight was between the 10th centile and the 90th centile for gestational age at birth. necrotising enterocolitis. hypoglycaemia. a term infant is defined as an infant born between 37 and 41 weeks of gestation. quasirandomized trials. Outcome measures The following outcome measures were considered: • mortality. severe iron-deficiency anaemia with haemoglobin <7 g/dl. These exposures and interventions were stratified into key sections: nutrition. Malnutrition. In general. All nutritional exposures or interventions to improve feeding of LBW infants in the first 6 months of life were considered.g. hospitalization rates. • other important outcomes (e. and (iii) term infants with birth weights of 2000–2499 g. It was not possible to present the findings of most studies separately for pre-term infants who were appropriate for gestational age (AGA) from those who were small for gestational age (SGA). There is emerging evidence that  . rates of any breastfeeding. unless otherwise specified. infectious disease incidence. and randomized controlled trials (RCTs). non-systematic reviews. Studies from developing and developed countries that included infants with birth weights less than 2500 g or gestation less than 37 weeks were considered for inclusion in this review.g.

The studies were stratified according to type of intervention or exposure. they were used in preference to unadjusted results. where possible). Data collection For all studies a standardized form was used to extract relevant information from the available sources. participants. personal communications.rapid growth during the first years of life may not be associated with improved neurodevelopment or other functional outcomes (15–18). On the other hand. conference proceedings. hypertension. a study by Victora et al did report a strong association between infant catch-up growth ≥0. Systematically extracted data included: study location. and human milk. year of publication. Data analysis All identified studies were initially examined to assess whether they related to feeding of LBW infants. and results (including the effect of measures and tests of statistical significance. Other studies have indicated that rapid weight gain after 2 years of age is associated with increased risk (29. attempts were made to contact the investigators. the Cochrane neonatal collaborative review group specialized register. Where results adjusted for potential confounders were not available. Data were tabulated and viewed descriptively. design. When data were not provided. coronary mortality and morbidity. preterm. technical reports. intrauterine growth restriction/retardation (IUGR). review articles. unadjusted results were used. The following sources were also accessed: reference lists of articles. books and dissertations. particularly for observational studies. but after 1 year of age rapid weight gain in infants who were thin at birth was associated with an increased risk of coronary heart disease (28). secondary sources were used and references included. Search strategy for identification of studies The search strategy included the following search terms: LBW. type of control group. breastfeeding. and impaired glucose tolerance during adult life (20–27). birth weight. and experts in the field. and as mean differences (MD) or weighted mean differences (WMD) for continuous data where possible. and gestational age where possible. study design. A study from Finland suggested that weight gain during infancy was associated with a reduced risk of coronary heart disease during adult life irrespective of size at birth. I Evidence obtained from a systematic review of all relevant randomized controlled trials II Evidence obtained from at least one properly designed randomized controlled trial III-1 Evidence obtained from well-designed pseudo-randomized controlled trials (alternate allocation or some other method) 0 Optimal feeding Of lOw-birth-weight infants: technical review . outcome measures. the Cochrane controlled trials register.66 SD and a lower incidence of hospital admissions in a cohort of Brazilian term SGA infants (19). follow-up. mortality. The electronic databases used were the Cochrane database of systematic reviews of RCTs. author. However. MEDLINE (1966 to 2005). In addition. Where results adjusted for potential confounders were available. the Cochrane database of abstracts of reviews of effectiveness (DARE). Effects were expressed as relative risks (RR) or odds ratios (OR) for categorical data. sample size. type of intervention or exposure. and EMBASE (1966 to 2005). 30). a number of key journals were hand searched. Every effort was also made to identify relevant non-English language articles and abstracts. Level of evidence for efficacy and safety Levels of evidence were rated according to the following scale for both efficacy and safety (US Preventative Services Task Force 1989). premature. rapid catch-up growth has been reported to be associated with obesity. SGA.

two or more single-arm studies. Implications for guideline development were considered and the need for further research stated. A limitation of many of the included studies was that the results were not reported separately for the babies who were both pre-term and SGA from those who were pre-term and AGA. Recommendations based on the review evidence were then formulated. support. Recommendations Consensus statements and expert committee reports were then sought and clearly acknowledged. case-control studies. or interrupted time series without a parallel control group IV Evidence obtained from case series. Experts in the field were also contacted and information about standard practice in neonatal units and health facilities was obtained. some studies only reported the birth weights of the subjects and not their gestational ages. Further. Care has been taken in extrapolating this information to developing country settings. or interrupted time series with a control group III-3 Evidence obtained from comparative studies with historical control. monitoring. This is followed by conclusions and assessment of implications. feeding schedules. Recommendations are then discussed and key implications for developing country settings. either post-test or pre-test and post-test Structure of the document Interventions are considered in chronological order. and key issues are considered for each intervention. stratified into sections (nutrition. and feeding of infants of HIV-positive mothers). Limitations of this review Most of the available evidence reviewed in this document is from studies on premature infants conducted in developed countries with low mortality rates and low rates of infectious disease because of paucity of data from developing countries. Key studies are listed and described according to outcome. This was then followed by assessment of the limitations. Conclusions and implications Level of evidence and study design were first considered. Regional WHO databases were not included in the search strategy and therefore some of the grey literature may have been missed. internal and external validity and the wider implications of each study.III-2 Evidence obtained from comparative studies with concurrent controls and allocation not randomized (cohort studies). feeding methods. methOds  .

1.1). About 80% of all weight gained between 24 and 28 weeks of gestation is water.0 74.1 Physiological principles of feeding LBW infants Body composition The composition of weight gained by the fetus varies with gestational age.0 69. but this proportion decreases to about 60% between 36 and 40 weeks.9 gm/day Daily increment (gm/day) 12.8 gm/day 10. increasing from about 8% during 24–28 weeks to nearly 20% during 36–40 weeks gestation (31) (see Figure 1.1.9 19. This loss of body water after birth is responsible for the physiological weight loss seen after birth and is more pronounced in pre-term infants (5–15% of birth weight) than in term infants (3–5% of birth weight) (32. a greater proportion of weight gained near term is in the form of fat.1.2 20 16.9 62. On the other hand.9 27. 33) (see Figure 1.and extracellular) from fetal life until adolescence (32) 100 90 80 Percentage of body weight 70 60 50 40 30 Body water compartments Total body water Extracellular water Intracellular water Fluid requirements Key physiological considerations for calculating the fluid requirements in the first week of life are: 20 10 Lunar months Months Years Adults 0 3 6 90 3 6 9 1 3 Age 6 7 9 11 13 15  .5 Water 11.3 23.8 7.1 gm/day 13.1 Average composition of weight gain of a reference fetus during four successive 4-week intervals (31) 30.7 gm/day 30 13.4 13.1.8 Other Protein Lipid 24–28 28–32 32–36 Age interval (weeks) 36–40 Figure 1. Figure 1.2).8 10 79.Results 1.2 Age-related changes of total body water and its compartments (intra. BACkgROunD 1. The total body water as a percentage of body weight in the fetus decreases rapidly during the last trimester and in the first few days after birth. The decrease is because of reduction in extracellular water and somewhat compensated by a corresponding increase in intracellular water.

energy balance Part of energy intake is lost in the urine and stools. A meta-analysis of studies comparing restricted with liberal fluid regimens demonstrated that restricted fluid regimens are associated with a reduced risk of patent ductus arteriosus.0 g/kg/day.96). while the other two did so up to the end of the neonatal period.• postnatal physiological changes: 5–10 ml/kg/day water loss in the first 3–4 days for infants >1500 g and 20 ml/kg for those <1500 g (does not need to be replaced). increase to 105–135 kcal/kg/day from the second week of life until term. and 80–90 ml/kg on day 5. nitrogen retention can be limited if the protein intake is low (see Figure 1. The four studies included in the meta-analysis enrolled a total of over 400 premature infants with birth weights ranging from 750 to 2000 grams. synthesis or thermoregulation or is stored in the form of protein and fat.52. protein requirements during the first week are 1. increase to 3. Poorly growing premature infants should be first reviewed for adequacy of energy needs and if the energy needs are being met.1. and then decrease to 100–120 kcal/kg/day. There is some evidence that further restriction of fluids for LBW infants weighing <2000 g may be beneficial but needs to be balanced against the risk of dehydration.40. 60–70 ml/kg on day 3. and 140–150 ml/kg on day 5. 0. 95%CI 0. It is usual clinical practice therefore to provide infants weighing <1500 g with about 80 ml/ kg for the first day of life and increase fluids by about 10–15 ml/kg/day to a maximum of 160 ml/kg/day by the end of the first week of life. 95%CI 0. Two of the studies examined fluid regimens during the first week of life.5 g/kg/day from the second week of life up to term.63). 120–150 ml/kg on day 3. The energy needs for pre-term infants during the first week of life are about 70–80 kcal/ kg/day. poor growth is likely to be due to inadequate energy. and then decrease to about 2 g/kg/day. 0. activity. The total energy needs for growth are about 4–6 kcal for each gram of weight gain (39). Use of radiant warmers for temperature maintenance and phototherapy for treatment of neonatal jaundice each increased the fluid requirements by about 10 ml/kg/day (37. and death (RR 0. 95%CI 0. Solute balance The kidneys of a premature infant have limited ability to excrete solutes. 0.0–3. necrotising enterocolitis and death (36). protein supplementation could be considered. LBW infants >1500 g are usually given about 60 ml/kg for the first day of life and the fluid intake is increased by about 15–20 ml/kg/day to a maximum of 160 ml/kg/ day by the end of the first week of life (33–35).71 to 8. Growth in premature infants can be limited by both energy and protein intake. necrotising enterocolitis (RR 0. 38).43.26. However. Similarly. The potential renal solute load (PRSL) is contributed by intake of protein. but there was a non-significant trend towards increased risk of dehydration (RR 2.0–3. • insensible water loss: 20 ml/kg/day for infants >1500 g and 40–60 ml/kg/day for those <1500 g. Restricted fluid regimens were found to be associated with a lower risk of patent ductus arteriosus (RR 0. if high. poor growth is likely to be due to inadequate protein (39–41). • stool losses: 10 ml/kg after the first 3 days. once an energy intake of 90–100 kcal/kg per day is reached. The corresponding ranges for liberal fluid regimens were 80–150 ml/kg on day 1. chloride and phosphorus to that of nitrogen divided by 28 (PRSL = N/28 + [Na] + [K] + [Cl] + [PO4]). • urine output: 50–70 ml/kg/day for the first 3 days and 70–100 ml/kg thereafter.3). Similarly. growth of the results  . chloride and phosphate.13. Blood urea can be used as a guide.30. The restricted fluid regimens examined in the studies ranged from 50 to 70 ml/kg on day 1. The remaining metabolizable energy is either expended to support basal metabolism. sodium. Protein intake is not relevant at low levels of energy intake. if low despite a high energy intake. potassium. 95%CI 0.28). potassium.28. However.71). A specific equation can be used to calculate the PRSL which adds sodium.

1. 48). if the breastmilk volume is high. mucin. There was no information located about stratifi160 cation by gestational age or birth weight.2. Anti-infective constituents Term and pre-term human milk contains live cells (macrophages. Optimal feeding Of lOw-birth-weight infants: technical review . Bioavailability of many nutrients is higher from human milk than from infant  The nutrient compositions of preterm and term human milk are displayed in Box 1.3. For instance. and antiviral factors) (47). pre-term infants of <32 weeks gestation need additional phosphorus.1. The estimated renal solute load (ERSL) takes into account the growth of the infant and can be calculated as the potential renal solute load minus 90% of the weight gain in grams (ERSL = PRSL – [0. lysozyme. Studies reporting clinical endpoints are more relevant for developing nutritional guidelines for LBW infants. In general. This is particularly important for human milk.3 Energy intake and nitrogen retention according to protein intake in pre-term infants (41) 4 3 300 2 200 1 100 Protein intake (g/kg/day) 400 Nitrogen retention (mg/kg/day) formula or other breastmilk substitutes (43–44). Although the published RNIs provide some indications. Published nutrient requirements for pre-term infants are shown in Box 1. Breastmilk meets almost all these requirements. In particular. the concentration of nutrients will be lower. B12 and folate-binding proteins. This is because outcomes vary widely according to the basic substrate provided. Enzymes. provision of idealized nutrient requirements and measurement of utilization and excretion. Human milk cells and antimicrobial factors play a major role in conferring local immunological protection to the infant’s gastrointestinal tract (47. 1.1.3 nutritional sources for LBW infants huMan Milk constituents nutrient composition 40 80 120 Energy intake (kcal/kg/day) infant can reduce some of this solute load. There may be specific need of additional minerals and vitamins for breastfed LBW infants during certain periods of life. T and B lymphocytes) and a range of antimicrobial factors (secretory IgA.3.2 nutritional requirements Recommended nutrient intakes (RNIs) for pre-term and SGA infants have been published by a number of groups (43–45). polymorphonuclear leucocytes. The RNIs have been developed by calculating nutrient intakes that approximate the rate of growth for a normal fetus of the same gestational age without inducing metabolic stress. they cannot be used as the only basis of guidelines for feeding the LBW infant. fibronectin.Figure 1.1.1). the absorption and bioavailability of nutrients in different types of milk vary widely (43–44).9 x weight gain in grams]) (42). complement. It should be noted that breastmilk has great variability in composition as seen from the standard deviations (Box 1. Also. factorial equations. no information was located which described the nutrient content of the milk of mothers who delivered SGA infants. lactoferrin. calcium and vitamin D from the time feeding is established until they reach term post-menstrual age. and cellular components in human milk all improve the host defence of the LBW infant (49). antioxidants.

8 0.0–4. nmol/kg Molybdenum.9 10–20 2.04–0. e NE = niacin equivalents.5–4.3 1. Adapted from reference number 43.0–3.3 Amount required is higher if milk from the premature infant’s mother is fortified with other minerals that may diminish the bioavailability and absorption of magnesium. mmol/kg Iron.6 50 1.46 0.0 0. µmol/kg Vitamins Vitamin A.9 0. IU/kg Vitamin E.0 2.0 1.25 1.8–1.4 mmol/d (breast fed) 8.015 0. nmol/kg Manganese.3 438–563 (105–135) 3. mg/kg Vitamin B6.0–1.9 10–20 2. b In specific clinical situations.5–2. IU/kg Vitamin K.5 0.b mmol/kg Chloride.05 0.0 1.8–1.5–3.9 0.015 0.60a 2.6 50 1.0 1.0–3.5–3.0–3. d Amount may be increased in particular clinical syndromes.15 8.0 2.5–3.2 4.20–0. mg/g of protein intake Vitamin B12. c From 6 wk after birth.6 25 1. µmol/kg Chromium.0–4.6 4.06 1.05 0.20–0.5 0.25–0.3 417–501 (100–120) 2.b mmol/kg Potassium.8–1.0 0.36–0.50 700–1500 6–12 8–10 400 (800d) 6–10 0. mmol/kg Magnesium.4 mmol/d (formula fed) 3.6 5.06 1.2.0–1.15 8. mg/kg Zinc. mmol/kg Phosphorus. mg/kg Vitamin B2.05 0.0 2. µmol/kg Copper.20–0.0–4.0–6. lU Vitamin C.7–12.0–3.5 6.5–4. 1–1.3 mmol/d (breast fed) 9.46 0.5–1 5.0 2.5–3. mmol/kg Sodium. NEe /5000 U Folate.04–0. µg Biotin.8 mmol/d (formula fed) 0.04–0.5–6.4–7. mg/kg Vitamin B1.5 2.0–3.25–0.0 2.05 0.15 8.5–3.04–0. sodium and chlorine may need to be omitted for short periods. mg/kg a 292–334 (70–80) 1.50 600–1400 6–12 8–10 400 20 0.1 Recommended daily nutrient intakes for pre-term infants >1000 g at birth Nutrient Birth to 7 days Period after birth.5 4.0c 15.5 1.0–1.0–3.Box 1. RNI per day Stable-growing (stabilization to term) Term to 1 year of age Macronutrients Energy.0–20.8 7.1–1.04–0. g/kg Fat. g/kg Carbohydrate.015 0. kJ/kg (kcal/kg) Protein.36–0.1–1. nmol/kg Iodine.5 2.0 (estimate) 1.20 700–1500 6–12 8–10 40–260 6–10 0. µg/kg Pantothenic acid.9 0.9 10–20 2.0–3.5 0 6.0c 7. g/kg Minerals Calcium.0–1. results  .5–1 5.5 0.3 7.0 2.0 0. µmol/kg Selenium.06 1. µg Niacin.5 0.40a 2. µg/kg Vitamin D.0 0.0–3.

7–5.01 — 1.000 2–3 1.5 34 ± 6 63 ± 5 8.0 14. IU Vitamin D.2–6.4 33 ± 14 8.0 ± 4.3 9.9–14. mmol/L Phosphorus. taurine.3 3–6 — 70 600–2.055 mg/418 kj 33 640 ± 80 12 ± 1. mmol/L Iron.2 22 0. human milk has a higher content and unique pattern of longchain polyunsaturated fatty acids and gan-  Optimal feeding Of lOw-birth-weight infants: technical review . mmol/L Iron. µmol/L Iodine.01 0.2 ± 2. 52).2–9. Human milk also contains at least 60 enzymes.8 ± 0.5 ± 1. mg/L Values are mean ± SD.2 ± 1. µg/L Vitamin B2.1 Concentration of nutrients in transitional and mature pre-term human milk compared with mature term milk Pre-term transitional (6–10 days) Component (unit/L) Pre-term stable (22–30 days) Term mature (> 30 days) Macronutrients Energy. g/L Fat.4 1.1 ± 0. kcal/L Protein.0 22 0. cysteine and inositol also serve dual roles to protect the host (51.5 13.8 1.3 ± 3.5 13. g/L Carbohydrate. including lipase. found in human term and pre-term milk.2 0.1 12. mg/L Zinc.8 ± 1.1 12.5 34 ± 4 67 ± 5 6.6 1.2 11.8 4. mmol/L Chloride. IU/L Vitamin E. Fatty acids Compared to formula milk. and up to 20% of the latter consists of free nucleotides (50). From: Reference number 46 660 ± 60 19 ± 0.0 ± 0. mmol/L Sodium. Dietary nucleotides also favourably alter the bowel microflora and reduce the risk of diarrhoea.Box 1. Approximately 20% of the total nitrogen content of human milk is represented by non-protein nitrogen. These are believed to be important in the growth and maturation of the gastrointestinal tract and in the development of neonatal immune function.5 0.9 — — 500–4000 2.8 ± 2.1 7.4 58 ± 13 9.0 ± 0.8 1.9 ± 1. µg/L Vitamin D.5 4.5 ± 2.3 3.9–14.3 8.0 ± 1.3 ± 0.4 15 – 46 3. mg/L Vitamin K. µmol/L Manganese. µg/L Vitamins Vitamin A.055 mg/418 kj 33 690 ± 50 15 ± 1 36 ± 7 67 ± 4 7.25 — 500–4000 2. nmol/kg Iodine.5 0.0 ± 3.01 0. Glutamine.3 ± 6. are believed to have trophic effects on the developing gastrointestinal tract (53).7–5. mg/L Folate. mmol/L Magnesium. mmol/L Potassium.9 ± 2.8 ± 2.3.0 21.1 6 ± 8.5 ± 3. g/L Minerals Calcium.2 23 0.3 40 0.8 Amino acids Exocrine/endocrine components Human milk also contains many nucleotides and hormones.3 40 0. epidermal growth factor and transforming growth factor alpha.6 ± 6. µmol/L Copper. Insulin-like growth factor-1. which have been shown to enhance intestinal lipolysis and improve fat absorption (54).

Sodium levels have been shown to be higher after hand pumping than mechanical pumping. 61). and the Human Milk Banking Association of North America have published guidelines for the expression and processing of breastmilk (58. Pasteurization also reduces the total bacterial content. compared with levels reported for EBM. Donor milk from a human milk bank is another source of human milk. as well as a decrease in the ability of the milk to inhibit the growth of Gram-negative organisms. Hind milk has been described as promoting greater weight gain than fore milk or regular breastmilk (60. and lactose. fat. complement. 61). results  . the United Kingdom Association for Milk Banking and the Human Milk Banking Association of North America have published guidelines for the establishment and operation of human milk banks (58. Fore milk and hind milk value are low. The milk fat content of DBM produced by individual donors is linearly related to the daily volume of DBM produced (62. lactoferrin. 68). Milk expressed by electric breast pumping also appears to have greater bacterial contamination than milk expressed by hand (65–67). lysozyme. and antimicrobial factors such as viable leukocytes. DBM is mainly fore milk. Protein. The WHO/UNICEF Global BabyFriendly Hospital Initiative subsequently led to a revival of interest in donor milk banks. and cytomegalovirus (CMV) which are excreted in breastmilk (69–71). Storage of human milk Heat treatment (pasteurization) Fore milk is the milk that is produced as soon as the milk flow begins. Human milk gangliosides are also considered to promote neuronal development. immunoglobulins. Drip milk and expressed milk The milk which drips from the opposite breast during breastfeeding is called drip milk and used to be provided in the 1980s for feeding pre-term infants. volumes produced are up to 188 ml/donor/day (63). 59). In addition. fat absorption (enzymes including milk lipase are destroyed). but this study did not control for breastmilk volume (64). and cerebral and retinal function (55). This milk is screened and heat-treated and subjected to strict processing regulations. Expressed breastmilk varies according to the type of technique used. WHO/UNICEF. the United Kingdom Association for Milk Banking. Drip breastmilk (DBM) differs from expressed breastmilk (EBM) both in its contents and in the change in its composition over the period of lactation. sodium and energy values in DBM fall with the duration of lactation. Hind milk is higher in fat and energy than foremilk but has similar concentrations of other nutrients as foremilk (60. There are well functioning milk banks in a number of countries around the world including Brazil. provided the milk initially contained fewer than 106 bacteria/ml (63). Hind milk is the portion of the milk which is produced 2 to 3 minutes after the flow begins. concentration of water-soluble vitamins. Germany and the United Kingdom. somatic growth and the development of intestinal immunity (56–57). 59. Long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids are believed to be important for cell membrane synthesis. osmolality and lysozyme remain constant. whereas magnesium and calcium rise.gliosides. About 15% of lactating women produce drip milk. types of human milk Mother’s own milk and donor milk Mother’s own milk can be provided to the infant via breastfeeding or expression and feeding by an alternative method. 63). specific antibodies to Escherichia coli. However. Pasteurization also reduces nitrogen retention. fat concentration and energy All donor milk should be pasteurized at 56– 62 °C for 30 minutes to destroy micro-organisms including the human immunodeficiency (HIV) virus. pasteurization has also been shown to cause a significant reduction in IgA concentration and lysozyme activity. human T-lymphotrophic virus type 1. and folate-binding proteins (72–75). potassium.

reduces the levels of IgA and lysozyme in breastmilk (91. vitamin D. it should not be for more than two days. sodium. Both methods are reported to decrease the concentrations of HIV although flash treatment may be more effective (see Section 7) (76–79). 85).3. Multicomponent fortifiers are available in powdered or liquid form.2). phosphorus. placing the container in a pan of room temperature water. 92). If mother’s own milk needs to be refrigerated. 63. carbohydrate. carbohydrate. ascorbic acid (see Box 1.g. folic acid and zinc) (see Box 1. freeze storage of her own milk does not seem to be a perfect solution. pyridoxine. huMan Milk SuPPleMentS Nutritional supplements. Pretoria pasteurization involves placing human milk in a container in a pan of boiling water for 20 minutes. Nutritional supplements are also available as additives to be mixed with human milk. riboflavin. Flash treatment involves placing human milk in a container. 89). Liquid fortifiers are for use in a 1:1 ratio with human milk and contribute a significant pro-  Optimal feeding Of lOw-birth-weight infants: technical review . 81). to be given separately from breastmilk. thiamine. For a mother known to be infected with CMV. E. and unless the fortifier-milk mixture is well shaken. calcium. Commonly known as ‘fortifiers’. fat. vitamins A. Human milk can also be frozen at –15 °C to –20 °C for up to 3 months. and removing and cooling. are available as single vitamin preparations (vitamin A. maintain the stability of nutrients (except vitamin C). A more recent study that used more sensitive tests for quantitative detection of CMV in breastmilk has shown that late viral RNA and viral infectivity are preserved even after freezing at –20 °C for up to 10 days (94). Pretoria pasteurization and flash treatment) to treat milk from HIV-positive women are emerging and have been reported to inactivate HIV (76–79). the nutrients may not be available for absorption. but care is needed in administering the correct dose. These methods can potentially be implemented in resource-poor areas. nicotinamide. This will preserve most nutrients and antimicrobial proteins and maintain the stability of vitamins with antioxidant activity such as tocopherol and retinol (86. D. 87). K. Multivitamin preparations must be protected from light and refrigerated below 25 °C after opening. preserve the viability and function of leukocytes. 59. IgA was found to be best preserved in frozen human milk by thawing either overnight in a refrigerator or by keeping under warm running water (90).Simpler methods (e. then heating the water and milk together until it reaches a rolling boil (100 °C). Powdered fortifiers may be insoluble in human milk. calcium. zinc. However. riboflavin. then removing and cooling. the observed infections were asymptomatic (95). Expressed human milk can be kept at room temperature for 6 hours before significant bacterial growth occurs (80. 88.3. Heat-treated breastmilk (mother’s or donor) can be refrigerated for a maximum of 24 hours because of concerns that heating damages bacteriostatic mechanisms making the milk more susceptible to later contamination (58. Multivitamin preparations are also available which contain vitamin A. fat. particularly at temperatures above 60 °C. Microwave thawing. calcium and phosphorus). Multivitamins are not usually mixed into the breastmilk. and preserve the concentration of antimicrobial proteins (82–84). but the rate of CMV transmission is likely to be lowered. Pasteurization removes CMV infectivity and should be carried out with donated milk. vitamin K) or single mineral preparations (iron.3) or single component (protein. It has been suggested that human milk should be refrigerated at 3–4 °C to retard bacterial growth. phosphorus or sodium). this process will significantly reduce the concentrations of vitamin C and milk leukocytes (75. Refrigeration and freezing Freezing of breastmilk specimens naturally infected with cytomegalovirus (CMV) for 7 days or longer at –20 °C was believed to eliminate infectivity without destroying the biochemical and immunological qualities of the breastmilk (93). vitamin D. they are commercially available and can be multicomponent (with added protein.

2 69 46 6. mg Sodium. mg Magnesium.015 3.1 0.6 0.Box 1.3 0.73 63 14 1 0.44 720 44 10 285 4.36 1.3 0.3 3 25 233 417 211 0. mcg Vitamin D.7 14 150 190 120 0. IU Vitamin C.5 0.18 3 25 2.4 mg — 0.5 1.6 51 34 2 1. mg Vitamin B2. mcg Riboflavin.1 5.5 mg 5 mg Usually provided as 0.6 0.6 ml Dalivit 0.81 mg 0.6 0 0 0 137 11 0.5 0. mcg Niacin. mcg Vitamin B6.2 0. mg Vitamin K1.6 ml Vitamin A. mg Folic acid.3. mg Zinc.3 5 12 130 170 110 0. mmol Potassium.7 1.45 ml Abidec 0.2 8.3.2 Nutrient composition of selected multivitamin supplement formulations Multivitamins a Pentavite 0.4 90 45 3 0.006 0 0 0 0 30 0. mg Vitamin B6. mcg Vitamin E.9 0. mcg Pantothenic acid.8 0 2.6 6.1 1.85 57 18 0.7 0 260 0 4.2 2. mcg Vitamin B12.5 0.57 23 26 1.8mg — 0.6 ml Abidec/Dalvit once daily orally after a feed (not per kg) Box 1.54 mg 0. kcal Protein.02 2.4 mg 0.288 mg 0.11 mg 1333 IU 400 IU 40 mg 0.1 90 45 1 0.45ml Pentavite or 0.3 3.75 60 12 0.8 mg 8 mg 5000 IU 400 IU 50 mg 1 mg 0.4 0. mg a 4000 IU 400 IU 43 mg 0.8 0.9 7.5 0. mmol Iron.8 0.2 186 3.8 57 2. mmol Chloride.1 0 300 26 6 130 2. g Carbohydrate.8 0.4 4 12 150 220 115 0.16 2. mg Thiamine.4 g FM85 Nestle 5g Quantity Macronutrients Energy.2 2.3 Nutrient composition of commercial multicomponent human milk fortifiers Powdered multicomponent human milk fortifiers Nutrient Enfamil human milk fortifier 4g Similac human milk fortifier 4g SMA breastmilk fortifier 4g Milupa Eoprotin 3g Nutriprem Cow & Gate 3g Aptamil FMS Milupa 3. mcg Biotin.3 0.35 1000 170 7.6 40 220 260 260 0. g Minerals Calcium. g Fat. mOsm From: Reference number 46 14 1.8 0. mg/g protein Niacin.7 0 2 60 40 6 0. mg Pantothenic acid. mg Vitamin B1.3 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 105 results  .1 0.2 0.6 270 3 11 7.5 90 15 1 0.8 117 67 7 0.7 0. mg Increment in osmolality.2 0.14 mg 7. mcg Copper.1 38 26 2.2 0 15 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 70 10 0. mcg Manganese.1 0 350 30 10 150 2. mg Phosphorus. mcg Vitamin C.3 0.5 50 2.65 1.64 3.6 4. mcg Vitamins Vitamin A. IU Ergocalciferol Vitamin D.

vitamin C. calcium.3. Pre-term infant formulas are designed for pre-term infants. They do not contain biologically active anti-infective or immune substances. Multivitamin complex has been proposed. Post-discharge formulas are intermediate in composition between pre-term and term infant formulas. the osmolality of pre-term formulas remains low at around 250–320 mOsm/kg H2O.portion of the infant’s fluid intake. copper and vitamins.5. Most have an energy content of about 80 kcal/100ml. Dilution diminishes the energy and micronutrient content which can be partially compensated by adding sugar (10 g/100ml undiluted milk). mixing the mother’s own milk with an equal volume of liquid fortifier dilutes the constituents of the human milk. goat and buffalo milk are suboptimal when compared to human milk. In spite of the higher carbohydrate and mineral content. calcium. Animal milk has low concentrations of iron. nutrient enriched “post-discharge” formulas These formulas are used in some developed countries for feeding pre-term babies after discharge from hospital for a few weeks before they are started on term infant formula.5 g/100ml. phosphorus. often in a form that is easily absorbed and metabolised. particularly if prepared and handled incorrectly. but feasibility is limited due to the small doses needed in LBW newborns. Product information from the manufacturers can be found in Box 1. sodium. phosphorus. vitamin E and long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids. Standard infant formulas BreaStMilk SuBStituteS Breastmilk substitutes are available in many different formulations and their nutrient composition varies markedly. The bioavailability of the small quantity of iron present in animal milk is also low. Compared to unsupplemented human milk. Animal milk has high protein. Raw animal milk should be pasteurized by heating to 56–62 °C for 30 minutes before any other modifications and definitely before administration (97). but these are rarely added and result in an expensive preparation (98–100). Product information from the manufacturers can be found in Box 1. vitamin D. fat or carbohydrate and the balance between calories and protein may be critical in determining the type of growth.3. sodium. including nutrients. These are calorie-enriched (approximately 80 kcal/100ml) and variably protein. Calories may be provided as protein. Pre-term formulas contain at least 2 g/100ml of protein so that the pre-term infant will receive 3 g/kg/d of protein when fed 150 ml/kg/d. electrolyte. Additional vitamins. Most have an energy 0 Optimal feeding Of lOw-birth-weight infants: technical review . folic acid. vitamin B12. Compared to unsupplemented human milk. Protein concentration is approximately 1. zinc. minerals and fat/oils are also needed.3. All breastmilk substitutes have a risk of contamination. Standard infant formulas are designed for term infants and are based on the composition of mature breastmilk. pre-term formula contains more protein. or the hormones and growth factors that are found in human milk. Pre-term infant formulas types of available breastmilk substitutes Locally prepared animal milks Raw animal milk is often contaminated with pathogenic organisms (such as Brucella melitensis) and is an excellent culture medium. and calcium and phosphorus are 50 mg/100ml and 30 mg/100ml respectively. post-discharge formulas contain more protein. It is also important to note that the concentrations of nutrients in cow. Although they are designed to contain adequate quantities of all essential nutrients. zinc. copper and vitamins. Product information from the manufacturers can be found in Box 1.4.and mineral-enriched to support intra-uterine nutrient accretion rates.4. The typical energy content is 68 kcal/100ml. growth factors and anti-infective properties (96). mineral and fat content compared to human milk and must be diluted (2 parts of milk to 1 part of water).

3. µg/L Vitamin C. nitrogen retention and serum albumin (102). g/L Minerals Calcium. mg/L Sodium.4 — 34 10 300 3. Increasing the protein intake further from 4 to 6 g/kg/d does not result in more weight gain but is associated with fever and lethargy and. 104).Box 1.6 390 270 170 450 570 6. linear growth. mg/L Phosphorus. µg/L Vitamin D. µg/L Vitamins Vitamin A.3 54. mg/L Magnesium.2 69.5 38. mg/L Vitamin B1. and at least 2 g/100 ml of protein. ug/L Iodine. Raising the protein intake from 2 to 4 g/kg/ d in LBW infants has been shown to increase weight gain. results  .5 3.2 250–320 content of about 80 kcal/100 ml (24 kcal/oz). g/L Carbohydrate. and a high content of aluminium and phytoestrogen. ug/L Vitamin B2.400 8. Clinical problems in LBW infants have included hypochloraemic metabolic alkalosis and growth impairment (101). mg/L Chloride. µg/L Vitamin B12. kJ/L (kcal/L) Protein.360 (800) 20 46 76.2 816 42.7 74. an increased incidence of strabismus and low developmental scores (103.5 1100 630 50 420 600 720 0.8 1122 564 61.840 (680) 14.2 10. µg/L Biotin.4 408 136 1360 2040 1020 1.000 500 20 250–320 2856 (680) 20. ug/L Vitamin E.8 170 2550 19.7 27200 272 27.4 420 34 45 1000 48 27 10 69 420 — 350 1. µg/L Folate. Soy-based formulas High-protein formulas Soy protein in these formulas is felt to be of low bioavailability for LBW infants. µg/L Osmolality. mg/L Potassium. on follow-up. µg/L Manganese. mg/L Zinc. mg/L Copper.800 960 30 80 1000 100 70 24 280 950 1800 1000 2 10.4 Nutrient composition of standard and pre-term infant formulas Concentration of constituents (units/L) Formulation Standard infant formula Pre-term infant formula osterprem FHP Enfamil premature Macronutrients Energy. osmolality at around 250–320 mOsm/kg H2O. mg/L Iron. mg/L Vitamin K.2 394 612 666 12. chloride and iodine. µg/L Niacin. Other problems reported include low plasma levels of methionine. mOsmol/L 2.4 34. µg/L Vitamin B6. g/L Fat.

nitrogen retention or growth (105). Some unopened cans may be contaminated with Enterobacter sakazakii and Salmonella.5 Nutrient composition of nutrient enriched ‘post-discharge’ formulas Concentration of constituents (units/L) Term Standard Nutrient enriched ‘post discharge’ Farley’s premcare Nutriprem 2 Macronutrients Energy. kJ/L (kcal/L) Protein. Commercial liquid infant formulas are produced by a sterile process which is expensive.840 (680) 14. mg/L Iron. mg/L Potassium. µg/L Biotin. mg/L Zinc. energy storage.2 280 Medium-chain triglyceride-enriched formulas Powdered and liquid infant formulas (standard or pre-term) High medium-chain triglyceride content in pre-term infant formula has been associated with a higher incidence of adverse gastrointestinal effects including abdominal distension. µg/L Panthothenic acid. mg/L Vitamin K.3 300 3. ug/L Iodine.2 69.5 6. mg/L Copper. µg/L Vitamin D. vomiting.0 280 3. g/L Minerals Calcium.6 72. mg/L Phosphorus. µg/L Vitamin B12. g/L Fat. mOsmol/L 2.3. mg/L Osmolality.5 3. mg/L Chloride. as a consequence. g/L Carbohydrate.0 600 45 45 1000 15 60 12 160 900 1000 800 2. µg/L Vitamins Vitamin A. µg/L Vitamin B6. There have also been recent US reports of outbreaks of nosocomial infections in pre-term neonates administered milk-  Optimal feeding Of lOw-birth-weight infants: technical review . medium-chain triglyceride-enriched formulas have not been shown to improve fat absorption.4 700 350 220 450 780 6.010 (720) 18. µg/L Vitamin E. In addition. Powdered infant formulas are not prepared by a sterile process and.4 420 34 45 1000 4.0 250 11 4. loose stools and necrotising enterocolitis (105). Keeping the reconstituted liquid formula at room temperature for longer than 4 hours is thought to multiply the amount of bacteria already present. mg/L Vitamin B1. µg/L Vitamin B2. µg/L Vitamin C. µg/L Folate.0 250 12 4. µg/L Manganese.5 38.4 34 10 2.5 6. are not sterile.Box 1. increased gastric aspirates.6 390 270 170 450 570 6.5 39. mg/L Sodium.0 570 50 45 1000 15 60 13 150 950 1000 800 2.000 (700) 18 38 70 710 350 250 460 800 6.8 27 10 69 420 550 350 1.

there is a distinct change in the level of alertness (112. Based on a preliminary risk assessment. Significantly. 117). At that time a gentle shake will arouse the infant from apparent sleep and will result in wakefulness for several minutes. No link has been established between illness and other microorganisms in powdered infant formula. although such a link was considered plausible for other Enterobacteriaceae. distinct central and peripheral neurodevelopmental milestones have been described in pre-term infants. to produce commercially sterile powders or completely eliminate the potential of contamination. Taste develops at 12–15 weeks gestation. that in situations where infants are not breastfed. A combination of intervention measures had the greatest impact. whenever possible and feasible. the inclusion of a step lethal for the bacteria at the point of preparation of the feed and decreasing the time between preparation and consumption effectively reduced the risk. sakazakii in milk-based powdered infant formula (i. The eyes are often open and spontaneous roving eye movements appear (112. however. 113. In contrast. carers of high-risk infants should be encouraged to use. stimulation is no longer necessary. 1. Even low levels of contamination of E. commercially sterile liquid formula or formula which has undergone an effective decontamination procedure (e. 115). the results of another investigation (the “Belgium outbreak”) suggest that even low levels of E. Persistent stimuli lead to eye opening and closing for time periods measured principally in seconds (112. Recommendations included. Infants at greatest risk for E. By 36 weeks increased alertness can be observed readily and vigorous crying appears during wakefulness. 111). and hearing begins at approximately 20–24 weeks. 113). including severe disease which can lead to serious developmental sequelae and death. The early components of sucking appear to occur in fetuses at about 7–8 weeks gestational age (110. This is the first report of E. using current technology. particularly pre-term infants. given the potential for multiplication during preparation and the time between preparation and consumption of reconstituted formula. Recently. Spontaneous alerting also occasionally occurs at this age. The meeting did not identify a feasible method.4 Development of feeding ability neurOMuScular SYSteM Term SGA infants have been described as having the same developmental characteristics as their AGA counterparts (110. The gag reflex is evident at 25–27 weeks although organized oesophageal activity does not develop until about 32 weeks ges- results  . By 32 weeks. At 8 weeks gestation the fetus will respond to touch around the mouth area.e. prompting recall of a commercial product in the US.based powdered infant formulas (106–108). sakazakii and Salmonella has been a cause of infection and illness in infants. Administration of Portagen formula led to the death of one infant (106). LBW infants or immunocompromised infants. within the 1994 Codex Alimentarius limits for the presence of coliforms in milk-based powdered infant formula) can lead to development of infection (107). 116. 114). sakazakii and other microorganisms in powdered infant formula (109) concluded that intrinsic contamination of powdered infant formula with E. a batch of Portagen infant formula was found to be contaminated by Enterobacter sakazakii. Swallowing is present at around 11–16 weeks and sucking appears at 18–24 weeks (116–118). Prior to 28 weeks of gestation it is difficult to identify periods of wakefulness. smell at about 20 weeks. 113). among others. At approximately 28 weeks gestation.g. sakazakii infection associated with infant formula. the infant exhibits distinct periods of attention to visual and auditory stimuli (112. An expert meeting convened by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the World Health Organization (WHO) on E. using boiling water to reconstitute and heating the reconstituted formula) at the point of use (109). By term. sakazakii in powdered infant formula were considered to be a risk factor. sakazakii infection are neonates (first 28 days).

swallow and breathing reflexes for nutritive purposes is achieved fully by 35–37 weeks gestation (116. By 32–34 weeks the infant should be able to attach. GaStrOinteStinal SYSteM The gastrointestinal tract is anatomically complete at 24 weeks gestation but is functionally immature in both propulsive and absorptive capacity. 127). 119). Stability of the trunk also improves at this time and the infant begins to be able to sit unsupported. and most infants are capable of spoon-feeding themselves (110. suck and extend the tongue appropriately and begin breastfeeding. Alpha-glucosidases and lactase are both required to digest lactose. Finger coordination develops by 6–7 months of age to permit finger-feeding. 120). Large enteral intakes may also not be tolerated. which mediates many metabolic and gastrointestinal adaptive changes (124. Over the next 5–6 weeks it becomes clustered phasic and then prolonged phasic. rotary chewing is well established with controlled. Phasic biting disappears between 3 and 4 months and rooting diminishes between 5 and 6 months. 131). 134).tation and is not coordinated with swallowing until about 33–34 weeks. Gastric emptying is slower in preterm than term infants and fasting antral pressure is significantly reduced (133. The activity of alpha-glucosidases in the fetus reaches at least 70% of the activity in adults at a gestational age of about 26–34 weeks. 118. but this process is ineffective at meeting the glucose needs for cerebral metabolism (123). Absorptive capacity is also thought to increase rapidly on feeding (126. 125). Two proposed mechanisms include inappropriate secretion of insulin by the pancreas and decreased sensitivity of the liver to the gluco-regulatory effect of insulin (129). particularly those with birth weights <1100 g. there is no evidence of clinical intolerance among LBW infants. Achieving glucose homeostasis in the newborn infant is dependent on exogenous sources. Basal and postprandial plasma concentrations of several hormones (especially enteroglucagon. but lingual and gastric lipases are detectable in the fetus from 26 weeks gestation and can assist in gastric lipolysis (131. By 12 months of age. The infant is developmentally ready for complementary feeding from 4 months of corrected age. Gastric capacity is also limited in LBW infants and gastric distension may interfere with pul- endOcrine and exOcrine SYSteMS Rate-limiting enzymes for gluconeogenesis develop late in gestation (122). are at risk of glucose intolerance (128). Maturation continues and coordinated and effective use of the suck. gastrin and  Optimal feeding Of lOw-birth-weight infants: technical review . These surges are even more marked in pre-term than term infants and occur even when nutritionally insignificant volumes of less than 1 ml/kg/day are fed. Fetal small bowel transit appears at 28 weeks gestation but peristalsis is poorly organized. sustained biting. Although theoretically lactose digestion should be limited. Premature babies. Migrating motor complexes appear near term (135). this immaturity may predispose the immature infant to gastro-oesophageal reflux and result in feeding intolerance (136–139). 132). whereas lactase activity at that gestational age is only 30% of adult activity (130. The normal infant is then able to maintain a concerted synchronous action for productive oral feeding (116–118). The rooting reflex (the response shown by a baby after the side of the cheek is touched – the infant turning to the breast with the mouth wide open) occurs around this time. Gluconeogenesis is triggered hormonally after birth. Pancreatic lipase secretion and bile salt concentrations are also low in comparison with the levels at term. Combined with high lower oesophageal sphincter pressures. As long as the baby is able to keep the breast tissue in the mouth the infant’s peristaltic tongue movement can remove milk from the lactiferous sinuses within the area of the areola (116. Enteral feeding induces the gut endocrine response. Motor activity in the gastrointestinal tract is random up to about 30 weeks gestational age. By 33–34 weeks gestation. 121). insulin) increase according to the quality and type of feed (126). pre-term infants are also mature enough to coordinate a swallow and breathe pattern.

nuTRITIOn 2. Effects on neurodevelopment (1) BreaStFeedinG and MOther’S Own exPreSSed Milk results Effects on mortality No studies were located which examined the impact of mother’s own milk on mortality rates in LBW infants. 140). compared with formula feeding. settings. mothers. The largest of them was a cohort study conducted by Lucas et al in the UK (n=771) (154. Little is known about the morphological aspects of adaptation in the immature human gut.1). or as expressed donorpooled pre-term or term milk.1 Human milk Human milk is the recommended nutritional source for full-term AGA infants – exclusively for the first 6 months of postnatal life and in combination with complementary foods until the infant reaches 2 years of age (142–144). Most of these studies were conducted in pre-term infants. Effects on severe morbidity – infection Five studies on the effect of feeding mother’s own milk. Variable results were reported from the other smaller cohort studies. The following issues are reviewed below: (1) Breastfeeding and mother’s own expressed milk (2) Donor human milk (3) Optimal duration of exclusive breastfeeding. The question of optimal duration of exclusive breastfeeding for LBW infants also needs to be addressed. participants and comparison groups (see summary table 2.1. A UK cohort study compared unsupplemented mother’s milk with pre-term infant formula (148).1. Different clinical outcomes are likely depending on whether the mother’s own or donor human milk is used and whether it has been pasteurized. Feeding mother’s milk was found to be protective against infection (systemic or local infection.1 (146–150). and necrotising enterocolitis) in all the studies. Human milk may be provided directly via breastfeeding. Extensive research. One of the cohort studies from the US did not adjust for confounding (150). especially in recent years. Lucas et al followed infants to 8 years of age and demonstrated an 8-point advantage in intelligence quotient even after controlling for mother’s education and social class.monary function (133. Two of these are RCTs conducted in India in the 1980s and compared unsupplemented mother’s milk with term infant formula (146. These studies included LBW infants of varying gestational age and birth weight. or as expressed mother’s own milk. but animals show both hyperplasia and hypertrophy in response to feeding and the milk of the young’s own species may be especially effective (141). There is a striking consistency in the results despite differences in study design. 155). The role of human milk for LBW infants is reviewed here. and two US studies compared mother’s own milk supplemented with multicomponent human milk fortifier or pre-term infant formula (149. and society from breastfeeding and from use of human milk for infant feeding (142–145). on the risk of infection were located (level of evidence LIII-2 or higher) and have been summarized in Table 2. Impacts may also differ depending on whether the infants are fed human milk soon after delivery or in later infancy. 147). 2. families. A meta-analysis of all available studies to 1996 indicated that after adjust- results  . 150). frozen or refrigerated. documents many advantages to infants. A number of early studies were located which examined the impact of unsupplemented mother’s own milk to formula milk on neurodevelopmental outcomes in LBW infants (151–155).

Iwai et al and James and Combes reported that 80–90% of infants who weighed less than 2500 g at birth. fed unsupplemented human milk.1.7) at 24 months of age. in post-discharge pre-term infants (160). who were fed unsupplemented mother’s own milk (164). 11. only one study reporting the impacts of mother’s own milk on anthropometric stand conclusions and implications Most of the findings of this section are based on observational studies. A recent large multicentre trial from Chile.032). which assessed 137 infants born SGA at 12 months of age. 157). 95%CI: 3. a high percentage of infants. Another study. 95%CI 5.4) and psychomotor development (adjusted MD 5. A recent study reported substantial benefits of breastfeeding for neurodevelopment in children born SGA. A number of studies were located which reported slower growth. in both weight and length.2). However. Before the 1990s.8. in pre-term infants <32 weeks gestation who were fed unsupplemented breastmilk before hospital discharge. However. developed iron deficiency anaemia (haemoglobin concentration <11 g/dl) by 6 months of age (162. unsupplemented breastfeeding. fed unsupplemented maternal milk were reported with osteopaenia. 95%CI 2. especially those of birth weight <1500 g. the UK. Four studies published after the meta-analysis are also noteworthy. compared to formula milk.8.ment for appropriate key cofactors. found that breastfed infants had higher motor development scores whereas there was no difference in other aspects of development (158). after adjusting for confounding variables of home environment and maternal intelligence.2.77) in LBW infants (156) (see summary table 2. only the difference in length was statistically significant and no score was below –2 standard deviation scores. In a study conducted in term SGA infants. In term SGA infants. mainly from developed countries. and the US (n = 463 preterm infants <33 weeks gestational age) did not find a significant difference in IQ scores between the group predominantly fed supplemented human milk and the group predominantly fed formula until term chronological age (157). In this study all breastfed infants had lower standard deviation scores than formula-fed infants at 9 months. Infants of mothers who chose to breastfeed had significantly higher scores for mental development (adjusted mean difference (MD) 8. Other case series have indicated that deficiencies of zinc. fractures and rickets before hospital discharge (165–168). Infants who weigh less than 1500 g at birth are especially at risk.2). was associated with significantly higher intelligence quotient scores (5. 6. Widdershoven et al reported high rates of clinical vitamin K deficiency (haemorrhagic disease of the newborn) in term and pre-term infants of less than 36 weeks gestation. length and head circumference in breastfed compared to formula-fed infants at 18 months of chronological age (161). the duration of EBF had a significant impact on cognitive development without compromising growth (153).18 points higher. 163).59. Lucas et al examined the impacts of breastfeeding. Effects on malnutrition ard deviation scores and malnutrition was located.1. a recent UK cohort study (n=474) reported no significant differences in mean weight. 8.0. Optimal feeding Of lOw-birth-weight infants: technical review . Effects on other important outcomes Specific nutrient deficiencies in infants fed unsupplemented mother’s own milk from birth have also been described in many case series from the 1960s and 1970s. compared to formula milk feeding. there was a positive association between the duration of feeding with supplemented mother’s own milk and the Bayley Mental Index at 12 months chronological age (P=0. compared to those who were formula fed (150. vitamin A and vitamin D may develop in the exclusively breastfed LBW infant (169– 173). It is important to note that even the strong effect in these observational studies may not imply causality because of the possibility of selection and measurement biases. However. compared with infants whose mothers chose to formula feed (159) (see summary table 2.

the above findings illustrate the importance of providing mother’s own breastmilk to all LBW infants. The conclusions for this group of LBW infants are similar to those for infants <32 weeks gestation with regard to infection and neurodevelopment. Standard practice in neonatal units is to promote mother’s own milk as the feed of choice for all LBW infants. Term LBW infants (or birth weights >2000 g if gestation is not available) In this group of LBW infants. results  .and confounding by factors that were not included in the multivariate analyses. Feeding unsupplemented mother’s own milk has been shown to result in slower ponderal and linear growth. as related to infection and neurodevelopment. There are no reasons to believe that the benefits of breastfeeding or feeding mother’s expressed breastmilk on neurodevelopment would be lower in developing countries than those found in this review. feeding only mother’s own milk may result in deficiencies of some micronutrients. The findings of this review support this recommendation. Breastfeeding and feeding mother’s expressed breastmilk is likely to have an even greater impact on infections in developing countries than the impact seen in the reviewed studies because of higher incidence of infections in these settings. There is no clear evidence of adverse effects of feeding mother’s own milk on growth. Infants 32–36 weeks gestation (or birth weights 1500–2000 g if gestation is not available) There is paucity of data on most outcomes in this subgroup of LBW infants. Supplementation with some micronutrients may be required for this group of LBW infants. Overall. but the implications of this slower growth are unclear and there is not enough evidence to assess if it increased the risk of malnutrition. However. Breastmilk feeding should therefore be preferred over formula feeding because of benefits related to infection and neurodevelopment. Breastmilk feeding should be preferred over formula feeding because of clear benefits related to infection and neurodevelopment. There is also clear evidence that this feeding modality is associated with improved neurodevelopmental outcome. Supplementation with some micronutrients is required for this group of LBW infants. The available data suggest that the benefits of feeding mother’s milk. Although most of the studies included in this section were from developed countries. Infants <32 weeks gestation (or birth weights <1500 g if gestation is not available) rodevelopment. There seems to be no adverse effect of this modality of feeding on growth. there is strong and consistent evidence that feeding mother’s own milk is associated with a lower incidence of infection. are similar to that of pre-term infants. UNICEF and other international and national organizations confirm the importance of providing mother’s own milk to pre-term and SGA infants. the few available studies from developing country settings showed similar results. feeding unsupplemented mother’s own milk may result in deficiencies of some micronutrients. Supplementation of breastmilk with macronutrients and micronutrients is required for this group of LBW infants. including necrotising enterocolitis. Breastmilk feeding should be preferred over formula feeding because of clear benefits related to infection and neu- recommendations Policy statements from WHO. Also.

0.03 to 0. duration of umbilical artery catheterization.1.09 [0. rate of progression of early feed volumes.82] from birth to hospital discharge Systemic or RR 0. Adjusted for gestational age.19. Cohort (LIII-2) postnatal age ≤96 hours a b 100% None None Predominantly fed fortified expressed breastmilk (n=62) compared with pre-term formula only (n=46) c If gestational age was not available in the publication.SuMMARy TABLE 2. birth weight.44 local infection [0. those with 1501–2000 g to be 32–36 wk gestation. age at first enteral feed.24.  Optimal feeding Of lOw-birth-weight infants: technical review . polycythaemia.89] Schanler et al 26–30 wk (150 ) gestation. infants with birth weight <1500 g are assumed to be <32 wk gestation.67] Adjustedb OR 0. Adjusted for length of gestation. and those with 2001–2500 g to have a gestation of 37 weeks or more. at high risk of infection 10% 57% 33% Unsupplemented expressed breastmilk during day and standard infant formula during night (n=32) compared with standard infant formula only (n=38) 10 ml colostrum 3 times a day until 72 hours of age along with standard infant formula (n=33) compared with standard infant formula only (n=33) Unsupplemented expressed breast milk only (n=253) compared with standard or pre-term formula only hospital (n=236) Formula plus breastmilk (n=437) compared with standard or pre-term formula only (n=236) Systemic or RR 0.1 Effects of mother’s own milk compared with formula feeding on infection or necrotising enterocolitis in LBW infants Study.23 to 0. sex. use of theophylline and frusemide.81] from birth to hospital discharge Necrotising enterocolitis from birth to discharge Necrotising enterocolitis from birth to hospital discharge Adjustedb OR 0. at high risk of infection 8% 64% 24% Lucas & Cole Birth weight (148) <1850 g Cohort (LIII-2) 66% 34% None Hylander et Pre-term infants al (149 ) with birth weight Cohort (LIII-2) <1500g 95% 5% None Fortified expressed breast milk along with pre-term formula (n=123) compared with pre-term formula only (n=89) Systemic or Adjustedc local infection OR 0.39 local infection [0. and maternal steroid treatment. respiratory disease.81] enteral feeding to hospital discharge Late onset sepsis or necrotising enterocolitis RR 0.56 [0.33] Narayanan et al (147) RCT (LII) Birth weight <2500 g. previous blood transfusions. 5-minute APGAR score. Design (Level of evidence) Inclusion criteria Approximate proportion of participants with gestation agea <32 wk 32–36 wk ≥37 wk outcome measure Effect measure [95% CI] Comparison groups Narayanan et al (146) RCT (LII) Birth weight <2500 g.29 [0.12 to 0. 0. mechanical ventilation and days without enteral feedings.36 to 0. birth asphyxia.43 from start of [0.

conducted in developed countries in the 1980s and early 1990s. birth weight.59. which examined the impacts of donor human milk and formula milk on rates of necrotising enterocolitis in pre-term infants <1850 g (Level I evidence) (148. and height and whether mother smoked during pregnancy.SuMMARy TABLE 2. The results of studies comparing the effect of donor human milk with that of artificial infant formula on important outcomes are summarized below. maternal training. infants with birth weight <1500 g are assumed to be <32 wk gestation.4] Adjustedd difference in mean scores 5.7 to 9.77] Adjustedc difference in mean scores 5. maternal age.8 to 8. (2) dOnOr huMan Milk results The feeding options for LBW infants. All four trials.2 [5. and those weighing 2001–2500 g to have a gestation of 37 weeks or more. maternal smoking history. gestational age. maternal education. 174–177). Adjusted for child’s gender and birth order. To make appropriate choices. admission to a neonatal care unit. paternal education. the milk feed comprised the infant’s sole diet for at least 1 month during the initial phases of hospital admission. Results included from studies that adjusted for at least 5 of the following variables: duration of breastfeeding. Adjusted for site of enrolment. one each with: birth weight <1850 g. gender and asymmetric intrauterine growth retardation. Effects on mortality Effects on severe morbidity – infection No studies were located which compared the impact of donor human milk to formula milk on mortality rates in LBW infants.7] Rao et al (153) Term SGA infants Cohort (LIII-2) 0 0 100% Exclusively breastfed for >12 wk (n=81) compared with exclusively breastfed for ≤12 wk (n=139) Mother chose to breastfeed (n=137) compared with mother chose to formula feed (n=235) Total IQ score on Wechler Preschool and Primary Scales of Intelligence Bayley mental development score at 18 months age Bayley psychomotor development score at 18 months age Morley et al Term SGA infants (159 ) Cohort (LIII-2) 0 0 100% a b c d If gestational age was not available in the publication. birth order. sex.2 Effects of mother’s own milk compared with formula feeding on neurodevelopment in LBW infants Study. None of the individual trials found any statistically significant results. A meta-analysis was located of all available RCTs till the year 2003. socioeconomic status.18 [3.0 [0. kindergarten attendance. maternal IQ. those weighing 1501–2000 g to be 32–36 wk gestation. include donor milk and artificial infant formula. Design (Level of evidence) Inclusion criteria Approximate proportion of participants with gestation agea <32 wk 32–36 wk ≥37 wk Comparison groups Effect measure [95% CI] outcome measure Anderson et al (156) Meta-analysis of cohort studies (LIII-2) 3 studies. education score. race or ethnicity. and childhood experiences.8 [2. maternal age.1. social class.3] Adjustedd difference in mean scores 8. compared infants who were fed unsupplemented drip donor milk with those fed standard or calorie-enriched formula. maternal smoking. family size.0 to 11. maternal head circumference. 500–1500 g and <2537 g 25% 50% 25% Breastfed (n=1254) compared with formula-fed (n=751) Cognitive development scores Adjusted b difference in mean scores 5. maternal education. maternal intelligence. particularly when breastfeeding is not possible. it is important to consider the relative advantages and disadvantages of these milks. 6. but the point estimates in 3 of the 4 trials were in the direc- results  .

However.3). fasting proinsulin concentrations indicative of a prodromal phase of diabetes mellitus were higher in the children given standard infant formula than in those given donor human milk (mean difference 20·6% [95%CI 5·0 to 36·3]). No studies were located which examined the impacts on standard deviation scores or rates of malnutrition. though the confidence intervals of the effect sizes were large (see summary Table 2. However. bone mineral density and osteocalcin were detected in the drip milk or formula-fed infants. the meta-analysis demonstrated a borderline statistically significant difference in the incidence of possible or confirmed necrotising enterocolitis (174). no clinical data on fractures or clinical evidence of rickets were reported. these are summarized in Table 2. 0 Singhal et al recently reported on adult onset chronic disease outcomes in a subsample of the original cohort of pre-term infants with birth weights <1850 g (n=130) (Level II evidence) (24.4 (Level II evidence) (16. however. Lucas et al reported that infants fed donor milk had significantly higher motor development scores at 18 months but no significant difference in mental development scores (see summary Table 2.1. However.1. Blood pressure measurements were significantly lower in 16-year-old males who had received donor milk in their first month of life than those given standard infant formula. 183).4) (16). infants were randomized to receive unsupplemented drip donor term milk or calorie-enriched pre-term formula from birth until hospital discharge. length or head circumference) by the time of hospital discharge. In addition. No other studies were located in LBW infants which examined these factors.tion of a lower risk of necrotising enterocolitis in the donor milk group (148.1.1. Only Lucas et al examined the impacts of donor compared to formula milk on bone mineralization in pre-term infants who weighed <1850 g at birth (Level II evidence) (185. 175. Effects on other important outcomes A number of RCTs which randomized infants ≤1850 g to receive unsupplemented term donor milk before hospital discharge or infant formula (Level II evidence) were located (176. All trials reported that feeding with formula milk was associated with a statistically significant increase in at least one growth parameter (mean gain in weight. 25. Effects on neurodevelopment Two RCTs were located which examined the impacts of donor human milk. no significant differences in anthropometry. 176). A more recent RCT in VLBW infants also reported no difference between infants provided with pre-term formula and those receiving supplemented expressed donor milk on rates of serious infection and necrotising enterocolitis (178) (see summary Table 2. However. At 8–12 years. Two trials in infants weighing <1600 g at birth examined the impacts of unsupplemented term donor or formula milk on feed Optimal feeding Of lOw-birth-weight infants: technical review . Lucas and Morley did not. In both trials. 177). Expressed supplemented donor milk also had significantly lower growth rates compared with both term and pre-term infant formula. Tyson et al measured Brazelton Neonatal Behavioural Assessment Scales at 37 weeks gestational age and reported that the group of infants who received standard infant formula milk had greater mean scores than the infants who received donor milk (177). In a non-random comparison across two RCTs. on neurodevelopmental outcomes. Lucas et al examined neurodevelopmental outcomes at 18 months chronological age and did not find any statistically significant differences in developmental quotients in the group of infants allocated to receive standard infant formula compared with donor term human milk. find a difference in blood pressure in the study groups at an earlier age (8–9 years) in the same cohort (184). Effects on malnutrition 178–182). compared to pre-term formula. no longer-term impacts on growth parameters were reported in the one trial that followed infants to 7½–8 years (182). 186).4). compared with unsupplemented donor drip milk. bone mineral calcium.

177). including availability of formula milk adapted for pre-term infants and nutrient fortifiers for human milk. recommendations Many international and national organizations strongly support the provision of pasteurized donor milk to LBW infants. Overall. In the absence of more evidence. there have been significant changes in the management of preterm infants. may result in some advantages to the infant.1. results  . there is insufficient evidence to conclude whether there are any neurodevelopmental advantages. The trials were small and unblinded. Most studies comparing donor human milk with artificial formula milk that were identified had design features that limit their current clinical significance. Infants <32 weeks gestation (or birth weights <1500 g if gestation is not available) conclusions and implications Available data from meta-analyses and RCTs indicate that feeding with donor human milk rather than pre-term or standard infant formula may reduce the incidence of necrotising enterocolitis in pre-term infants. The majority of infants included in the studies were in this group of LBW infants and the above results apply to them.5). Most of these studies used donor drip milk. particularly standard infant formula. There are insufficient data to assess the effects on long-term growth outcomes or feed intolerance in small LBW infants. but there are insufficient data to assess the effects on long-term growth outcomes. Although there is some indication of a lower incidence of necrotising enterocolitis in infants fed donor human milk. all but one of the studies was initiated over 20 years ago. In contrast. although there is some evidence that donor milk is better than standard infant formula. Growth was slower in the short term in the infants who were fed donor milk than those fed formula. Infants 32–36 weeks gestation (or birth weights 1500–2000 g if gestation is not available) This group of LBW infants accounted for a small proportion of the subjects in the identified studies. Both trials had small sample sizes and small numbers of actual events and reported no significant differences between the feeding groups. Term LBW infants (or birth weights >2000 g if gestation is not available) There were no data on outcomes in this subgroup of LBW infants. it can be assumed that the findings in this group were similar to those in infants <32 weeks gestation. Since then. There are insufficient data to conclude if there are neurodevelopmental advantages associated with donor human milk compared with pre-term formula. No statistically significant differences were found even when these data were combined in a meta-analysis (Level I evidence) (18) (see summary Table 2. the available evidence suggests that providing LBW infants with donor milk rather than formula. Further. Growth in the neonatal period is slower in the short term in infants fed donor human milk compared with formula milk. many developed country neonatal units preferentially provide artificial infant formula rather than donor human milk to LBW infants. Almost all studies included in this section were conducted in developed countries. which is predominantly fore milk and has a lower calorie density than hind milk. No evidence relating to micronutrient deficiencies was located. Although the results are unlikely to be different in developing country settings. This may not be feasible in primary healthcare settings and in small hospitals in developing countries. greater efforts would be required in developing countries to establish and maintain donor milk banks according to international standards.intolerance (176.

06.34 [0. 2. a If gestational age was not available in the publication.53 [0.Donor human milk may be a feasible option in many developing countries and should be considered as an important alternative to artificial infant formula.25 [0. infants with birth weight <1500 g are assumed to be <32 wk gestation. 100% None None If supply of own mother’s milk was insufficient.82] Schanler et al Gestation <30 (178) weeks.05] RR 0.98] OR 1. 1.12. 0. Feasibility of providing donor human milk is influenced by the amount that can be expressed by mothers and the avail- ability of donor banks. The findings from this review support these recommendations.1. 0.53. SuMMARy TABLE 2.3 Effects of donor human milk compared with formula feeding on infection or necrotising enterocolitis in LBW infants Study. Design (Level of evidence) Inclusion criteria Approximate proportion of participants with gestation agea <32 wk 32–36 wk ≥37 wk outcome measure Effect measure [95% CI] Comparison groups McGuire & Anthony (174) Meta-analysis of RCTs (LI) Birth weight <1850 g. infants were provided with at least 50 ml/kg of supplemented pasteurized donor milk (n=81) compared with preterm formula (n=92) from birth to day 90.99] RR 0. Mothers RCT (LII) who intended to breastfeed.04 [0. Equipment and training for heat treatment and milk banking may be difficult to obtain in some countries. Allocated to milk feeds as sole diet 65% 35% None Unsupplemented term or pre-term drip breastmilk only (n=167) compared with standard or pre-term infant formula (n=176) Possible necrotising enterocolitis Confirmed necrotising enterocolitis Septicaemia Confirmed necrotising enterocolitis RR 0.14. those weighing 1501–2000 g to be 32–36 wk gestation and those weighing 2001–2500 g to have a gestation of 37 weeks or more  Optimal feeding Of lOw-birth-weight infants: technical review .

1. 14. 6.65. 1. 8. Design (Level of evidence) Inclusion criteria Approximate proportion of participants with gestation agea <32 wk 32–36 wk ≥37 wk outcome measure Effect measure [95% CI] Comparison groups Henderson et Birth weight 95% al (18) <1600 g.3. and those weighing 2001–2500 g to have a gestation of 37 weeks or more.4 Effects of donor human milk compared with formula feeding on neurodevelopment in LBW infants Study.SuMMARy TABLE 2.5 Effects of donor human milk compared with formula feeding on feed tolerance in LBW infants Study.1.8 [3.3] WMD 2.5 [-6.8] WMD 0.35] assessment scale (response to inanimate objects) at 37 weeks gestational age Brazelton neonatal behavioural assessment scale (response to auditory and visual stimuli) at 37 weeks gestational age WMD -0.1] Tyson et al (177) RCT (LII) Birth weight 100% <1500 g.20 [-4. results  . SuMMARy TABLE 2. received feed as sole diet None None Unsupplemented term drip breast milk (n=34) compared with pre-term formula (n=42) Brazelton neonatal WMD -2. infants with birth weight <1500 g are assumed to be <32 wk gestation. and those weighing 2001–2500 g to have a gestation of 37 weeks or more. -1. those weighing 1501–2000 g to be 32–36 wk gestation.2.4.26] Lucas et al Birth weight 70% (16) <1850 g. Design (Level of evidence) Inclusion criteria Approximate proportion of participants with gestation agea <32 wk 32–36 wk ≥37 wk Effect measure [95% CI] Comparison groups outcome measure Lucas et al (16) RCT (LII) Birth weight 60% <1850 g. received Meta-analysis feed as sole diet of RCTs (LI) a 5% None Unsupplemented term drip Feed breast milk (n=58) compared intolerance with standard infant formula by hospital (n = 70) discharge RR 0. -0.7] If gestational age was not available in the publication.80 [-1.50 behavioural [-3.30 [0.4. infants with birth weight <1500 g are assumed to be <32 wk gestation. those weighing 1501–2000 g to be 32–36 wk gestation.1 [-4. received feed as sole diet 40% None Unsupplemented term drip breast milk (n=62) compared with pre-term formula (n=52) Bayley psychomotor development index score at 18 months Bayley mental development index score at 18 months WMD 1.07. 7.34.37] If gestational age was not available in the publication. received Cohort (LIII-2) feed as sole diet non-random comparison within two RCTs a 30% None Standard infant formula only (n=55) compared with unsupplemented term drip breast milk only (n=62) Bayley psychomotor development index score at 18 months Bayley mental development index score at 18 months WMD 8.

especially in susceptible infants. Investigators. The proportion of children who had an episode of diarrhoea in the previous 3 months for which treatment was sought outside home was also not significantly different between the groups (OR 0. However. which are summarized in Table 2. neither the parents nor the fieldworkers were blinded to the group assignment. Effects on mortality and serious morbidities Effects on neurodevelopment No studies were located which directly examined the impact of EBF duration on mortality or serious morbidity in LBW infants. Bhandari. However.72 to 0. The complementary foods were hygienically prepared and provided twice daily. In this trial.41 to 1. The trial in term SGA infants by Dewey et al and subgroup analysis of LBW infants in the trial by Bhandari et al are described above (187. Effects on malnutrition Impacts of EBF duration on growth were examined in three trials (Level II evidence) (187. they examined the effect of EBF promotion among LBW infants. It is also likely that this study was significantly underpowered. All infants in the study were provided with supplemental iron and vitamins and were followed until 12 months of chronological age. However. the prevalence of diarrhoea in the previous 7 days was not significantly lower in the intervention compared with the control group (OR 0. or to continue EBF until 6 months of age and then receive complementary foods. The early weaning group were also provided with instructions on how to feed their infants a high protein and high carbohydrate solid food diet. respectively). This study reported no significant differences in motor development at 12 months of chronological age. 189. Dewey et al randomized term exclusively breastfed SGA infants to receive either complementary foods at 4 months of age while continuing to breastfeed at the usual frequency.6 (Level II evidence) (188).  Optimal feeding Of lOw-birth-weight infants: technical review . neurodevelopmental outcomes were limited to parental reports and no validation was attempted. this was a multifaceted intervention. 95%CI 0.(3) OPtiMal duratiOn OF excluSive BreaStFeedinG results Exclusive breastfeeding (EBF) is now recommended for all infants for the first 6 months of life. Marriott et al randomized pre-term infants in the UK to two groups: one group introduced solid foods at 2.1. including micronutrient deficiencies. The intervention resulted in a substantially higher proportion of LBW infants exclusively breastfed at 3 months (79% and 40% in the intervention and control groups. This study was one of a series of RCTs conducted in Honduras. unpublished data 2005).1. respectively) and in the sixth month (41% and 4% in the intervention and control groups.8 months while continuing to breastfeed at the usual frequency. the other continued breastfeeding until 5 months chronological age and then introduced solid foods (190). 190).40) (N.7. 95%CI 0. Bhandari et al evaluated the effect of community-based promotion of EBF for the first 6 months of life on diarrhoeal illness and growth in a rural population in Haryana. In a subgroup analysis. 189). but not the participants.88. and the lack of significance for the LBW subgroup could have been due to insufficient statistical power. India (187). A systematic review on the optimal duration of exclusive breastfeeding (145) cautioned that further research was required to rule out small adverse effects on the risk of malnutrition. We summarize here the available evidence for optimal duration of EBF in LBW infants. Only one study which evaluated the neurodevelopmental impacts of EBF duration in LBW infants was located and is summarized in Table 2. these effect sizes were similar to those reported previously for all enrolled infants. including a few papers published after the systematic review. The late weaning group was advised to feed their infants according to standard UK recommendations.99).73. At the 6-month visit. were blinded to the allocations.

Dewey et al detected no significant differences in mean haemoglobin. The sample sizes of two of these studies were small. These trials are described above and summarized in Table 2. The three RCTs identified did not measure the effect of EBF duration on mortality and morbidity and only one trial reported the effects on neurodevelopment. EBF infants had significantly higher mean haemoglobin levels. Infants 32–36 weeks gestation (or birth weights 1500–2000 g if gestation is not available) The conclusions for this group of LBW infants are similar to those <32 weeks gestation with regard to growth and haemoglobin levels.Dewey et al reported no significant differences in the impact of EBF up to 4 months compared to 6 months on change in weight. while interpreting these results it should be considered that not all LBW infants in the intervention group were exclusively breastfed until 6 months of age (79% at 3 months and 41% at 6 months).8 months had slightly higher haemoglobin levels compared to the infants who commenced standard solid foods at 5 months (190). Dewey et al reported a significant In this group of LBW infants. No significant differences in head circumference or weight-for-age z scores at 12 months were reported. 4 months of age) (191). even in the subgroup of term SGA infants whose mothers had a low body mass index (189). mean haematocrit concentrations or rates of anaemia at 6 months in term SGA infants fed complementary foods at 4 months versus 6 months (189). No data are available for other key outcomes. it is unclear if this analysis was an a priori prespecified hypothesis and if the sample size was truly adequate to detect a significant difference. In a recent re-analysis of the Honduras trial. SGA infants in developing country settings. length. Bhandari et al reported no significant differences in mean weight.1. compared to the infants who commenced solid foods at 5 months. Marriot reported a significantly greater rate of increase in length in the group provided with solid foods at 2. mean length and the proportion of wasted or stunted infants at 6 months of age (187). Infants <32 weeks gestation (or birth weights <1500 g if gestation is not available) Two RCTs were located which examined the impact of EBF duration on rates of iron-deficiency anaemia (Level II evidence) (189–191). the data from the one available trial from the UK suggested that early supplementation of breastfeeding (at about 3 months of age) with a high calorie diet may result in marginally higher length-for-age z scores and haemoglobin levels. in the subgroup of infants who did not receive iron supplements. Effects on other important outcomes interaction between the intervention group allocation (EBF or solid foods) and iron supplementation during 4–6 months (based on haemoglobin status at baseline. the authors concluded that EBF for 6 months (with iron supplementation) can be recommended for term LBW infants. Infants who commenced solid foods at 2. On the other hand. In contrast. Contrary to other issues. In the subgroup of infants who received iron supplements. and head circumference till 6 months of age.e. Marriott et al reported that pre-term infants who commenced a high protein.8 months had slightly higher 12-month mean length z scores. However. However. No data are available for other key outcomes. Considering that infants given iron supplements did not benefit from complementary foods at 4–6 months. The confidence intervals were fairly narrow and rule out large differences between the study groups. EBF infants had significantly lower mean haemoglobin levels. results  . most studies were conducted in term.8.8 months rather than 5 months. but no difference in weight or head circumference (190). Overall there is insufficient evidence to recommend a specific EBF duration in these infants. high carbohydrate diet at 2. conclusions and implications There are limited data on the optimal duration of EBF in LBW infants. i.

Overall. most of the studies were conducted in developing country settings. Motor development as assessed by parent (1 month recall) – Age (months) when able to crawl – Age (months) when able to sit from lying position – % able to walk by 12 months MDb -0.1] MDb -0. weight gain from 0-6 months and months of reported prenatal iron supplementation. Although there is still insufficient evidence to draw firm conclusions.02] Adjustedb RR 0. Standard practice in neonatal units is to recommend EBF with supplemental vitamins and minerals for all LBW infants until 6 months chronological age. None None 100% EBF until 6 months (n=56) compared with EBF until 4 months (n=52). 1.  Optimal feeding Of lOw-birth-weight infants: technical review . there is insufficient evidence to recommend a specific EBF duration in these infants. and those weighing 2001–2500 g to have a gestation of 37 weeks or more. Term LBW infants (or birth weights >2000 g if gestation is not available) and could be associated with lower morbidity. compared to 4 months. Although the available data are limited. those weighing 1501–2000 g to be 32–36 wk gestation.60 [-1. infants with birth weight <1500 g are assumed to be <32 wk gestation. the available evidence from two trials suggested that EBF to 6 months.6 Effect of exclusive breastfeeding (EBF) duration on neurodevelopment in LBW infants Study.22.1.44] a b If gestational age was not available in the publication.60 [-1.32. growth or haemoglobin levels (with iron supplementation). had no deleterious impact on neurodevelopment. the findings are therefore directly applicable to those settings. SuMMARy TABLE 2. This review supports these recommendations.68 [0. Adjusted for birth weight. 0. Design (Level of evidence) Inclusion criteria Approximate proportion of participants with gestation agea <32 wk 32–36 wk ≥37 wk Effect measure [95% CI] Comparison groups outcome measure Dewey et al (188) RCT (LII) Subgroup analysis SGA term infants with birth weight 1500–2400 g. EBF for 6 months for term LBW infants seems to be safe recommendations No specific recommendations for LBW infants from expert groups were located.30. In this group of LBW infants. 0.

and those weighing 2001–2500 g to have a gestation of 37 weeks or more.3.02 [-0. -0. 0.3 standard [-0. infants with birth weight <1500 g are assumed to be <32 wk gestation.WMD 0.2] standard deviation scores at 12 months corrected age Bhandari et al Subgroup of LBW (187) infants (<2500 g Cluster RCT at birth) (LII) Subgroup analysis <1% 15% 85% Subgroup of LBW infants in: Intervention group (community promotion of EBF for 6 mo) [n=159] compared with control group [n=124] Weight (kg) at 6 mo Length (cm) at 6 mo Adjustedb MD -0.25] Adjustedb difference in proportions 9% (-2% to 20%) -2% (-6% to 1%) % stunted % wasted [EBF rates at 3 mo: Intervention: 79%.1. Control: 4% (P<0.7 Effect of exclusive breastfeeding (EBF) duration on growth outcomes in LBW infants Study.2.0 ference [-0.SuMMARy TABLE 2.1 standard [-0.66.12. results  .20 [-0. 0.0001)] a b If gestational age was not available in the publication. Design (Level of evidence) Inclusion criteria Approximate proportion of participants with gestation agea <32 wk 32–36 wk ≥37 wk outcome measure Effect measure [95% CI] Comparison groups Marriot et al (190 ) RCT (LII) <37 weeks gestation and <2200 g at birth 50% 50% None Any milk feeding (breast or formula) until 5 months when standard weaning foods were introduced (n=29) compared with any milk feeding (breast or formula) until 2. those weighing 1501–2000 g to be 32–36 wk gestation.7.0001) EBF rates at 6 mo: Intervention: 41%.2] deviation scores at 12 months corrected age Head circum. Control: 40% (P<0. Adjusted for cluster randomization and mother working outside home. 0. 0.2] deviation scores at 12 months corrected age Weight WMD -0.8 months when high calorie weaning foods were introduced (n=36) Length WMD -0.08] -0.

Design (Level of evidence) Inclusion criteria Approximate proportion of participants with gestation agea <32 wk 32–36 wk ≥37 wk Effect measure [95% CI] Comparison groups outcome measure Dewey et al (189 ) Sub analysis of RCT (LIII-1) SGA term infants birth weight 1500–2400 g. 41%] Proportion of infants 31% [-6%.1 g/L [-8. infants with birth weight <1500 g are assumed to be <32 wk gestation. -2.SuMMARy TABLE 2.8 Effect of exclusive breastfeeding (EBF) duration on iron deficiency anaemia in LBW infants Study. Adjusted for birth weight.1. -0.63.5 [-2. weight gain from 0-6 months and months of reported prenatal iron supplementation.93. and those weighing 2001–2500 g to have a gestation of 37 weeks or more.8 g/L [0.07] MD -2.35] a b If gestational age was not available in the publication.33 at 6 months 0% [-41%.  Optimal feeding Of lOw-birth-weight infants: technical review .5] MD -5. 13.1.1.25. -1. EBF until 4 months None None 100% Among infants who received iron supplementation from 4–6 mo: EBF until 6 mo (n=10) Haemoglobin (g/L) compared with solid at 6 months foods group (n=14) chronological age Among infants who did not receive iron supplementation from 4–6 mo: EBF until 6 mo (n=47) Haemoglobin (g/L) compared with solid at 6 months foods group (n=45) chronological age Marriot et al (190 ) RCT (LII) <37 weeks gestation and <2200 g at birth 50% 50% None Any milk feeding (breast or formula) until 5 months when standard weaning foods were introduced (n=29) compared with any milk feeding (breast or formula) until 2.37] MD -1. with ferritin <12 µg/L 68%] at 6 months Dewey et al (191) RCT (LII) Subgroup analysis SGA term infants birth weight 1500–2400 g. 42%] Proportion of infants with haematocrit <0. -2. those weighing 1501–2000 g to be 32–36 wk gestation.8 [-3.8 months when high calorie weaning foods were introduced (n=36) Haemoglobin (g/L) at 6 months corrected age Serum ferritin (ng/ml) at 6 months corrected age Serum iron (µmol/l) at 6 months corrected age MD 6.1] MD -6 [-10. EBF until 4 months None None 100% EBF until 6 months (n=8) compared with EBF until 4 months (n=20) Proportion of infants Adjusted with haemoglobin difference in <103 g/L at 6 months proportionsb 2% [-39%.

the sample size was too small to detect even moderate differences in morbidity between the groups. Neonatal mortality was reported to decrease by at least 20% in LBW infants (RR <0.000 IU of vitamin A within 96 hours of delivery in HIVnegative women in Zimbabwe (195).6%. 24.87) (193). 95%CI 0.75 to 1. In this section.38 to 0.8). In addition.01 to 0. Effect on neurodevelopment. Effect on morbidity results Effect on mortality Details of the study design. between birth and 4 months of age they reported that a lower proportion of infants were brought for medical care and treatment of cough in the vitamin A group (14. participants and the interventions and results for three trials are summarized in Table 2.000 IU) of vitamin A in the first few days of life. the efficacy and safety of the most commonly used nutrient supplements are reviewed: • Individual vitamins or minerals — Vitamin A — Vitamin D — Vitamin K — Iron — Zinc — Calcium and phosphorus • Multivitamins • Multicomponent fortifiers. Humphrey et al found no effect of vitamin A supplementation on one-week period prevalence of common morbidities at 4. provided 1–3 large doses (each dose 25. vitaMin a SuPPleMentatiOn No studies were found that evaluated the efficacy of a daily supplement of 700–1500 IU per kg body weight of vitamin A on mortality. 95%CI 0.95.03. RR 0. The study by Rahmathullah et al was larger and showed a significant 37% reduction in mortality during the first 6 months of life in the vitamin A supplemented group of LBW infants (see summary Table 2.69 to 1.0). morbidity. in some developing countries. placebo-controlled trials. but Humphrey et al reported a significant difference in mortality in normal birth weight infants (RR 0.82 to 17. Subgroup analysis was performed for 1108 LBW infants. 193). Malaba et al recently published a similar study to that of Rahmathullah et al by examining the impacts of 50. Two of them had very low power to detect any reasonable differences in mortality in LBW infants (192–193). 6 or 12 months of age. malnutrition or other outcomes No studies examining the effect of vitamin A supplementation in LBW infants on neuresults  . All of these studies were individually randomized. the results were presented pictorially and no proportions or confidence intervals were provided.1 (192–194). There was a trend towards increased hospitalization for pneumonia during the first year of life in the vitamin A group (RR 3.1) (194). development or growth in LBW infants. However. 95%CI 0.74. However.000 to 50.42).30). but limited data were presented in the paper. An alternative approach. double blind. This difference was statistically not significant after adjusting for risk factors of pneumonia (P=0. (RR 1. The authors state that high-dose vitamin A supplementation significantly reduced the mortality in LBW infants but there was a non-significant trend to increased mortality in non-LBW infants.2 Human milk supplementation Provision of nutrient supplements to humanmilk-fed LBW infants is common in developed countries because they are perceived to have clinical benefits. 95%CI 0.70) (194. Interestingly. Rahmathullah et al found no difference in mortality among the subgroup of infants with normal birth weight Coutsoudis et al reported no significant impact of neonatal vitamin A supplementation on the incidence of respiratory distress in the neonatal period (RR 0.19 from proportional hazards model) (192).2. 95%CI 0.2.58.09.2.2% vs. Four trials were located which examined the impacts of large-dose vitamin A supplementation in the first few days of life on mortality rates in human-milk-fed LBW infants (192–195).

000 IU Vitamin A each before day 10 of age (n=43) compared with infants who received placebo (n=46) Infants who received 2 doses of 24. 1. 7.48 (0. Standard practice in many neonatal units is to provide commercially manufactured multivitamin preparations.26. Coutsoudis et al (n = 43 supplemented LBW infants) and Rahmathullah et al (n = 1851 supplemented LBW infants) reported no episodes of bulging fontanelle or other neurological adverse effects associated with vitamin A supplementation (192.07 (0.69) Birth weight 2000–2499 g RR 0. infants with birth weight <1500 g are assumed to be <32 wk gestation. Design (Level of evidence) Inclusion criteria Approximate proportion of participants with gestation agea <32 wk 32–36 wk ≥37 wk Comparison groups outcome measure Effect measure [95% CI] Humphrey et al (193) RCT (LII) Subgroup analysis NK limited to infants with birth weight 1500–2499 g Gestational age <36 weeks and birth weight 950–1700 g 50% NK 76% Infants who received 50.74 (0.000 IU Vitamin A on the first day of life (n=101) compared with infants who received placebo (n=98) Infants who received 3 doses of 25. 0. conclusions and implications There is paucity of evidence that the usually recommended daily dose of 700–1500 IU per kg body weight is efficacious in LBW infants.52. finding needs to be confirmed in other studies in developing country settings before this intervention can be recommended for LBW infants.76 (0.1 Effect of vitamin A supplementation on mortality Study. there are no data to compare largedose supplementation in the first few days of life with a small daily dose of vitamin A. 2.10) a If gestational age was not available in the publication.83) first 6 months of life Birth weight <2000g RR 0. Further. recommendations International and national organizations recommend a daily vitamin A supplementation of 700–1500 IU per kg body weight from birth until the infant attains 2000 g body weight to growing pre-term infants receiving human milk. 0 Optimal feeding Of lOw-birth-weight infants: technical review . This SuMMARy TABLE 2. particularly in infants with birth weight <2000 g.16.02) Coutsoudis et al (192) RCT (LII) 50% None RR 1.33.000 IU Vitamin A each on days 1 and 2 of age (n=1851) compared with infants who received placebo (n=1820) Mortality during the first year of life Mortality during the first year of life RR 0. to LBW infants receiving unfortified human milk from birth until the infant attains 2000 g body weight. and those weighing 2001–2500 g to have a gestation of 37 weeks or more.63 during the (0. There is evidence from one study in India that a large dose of vitamin A (50. 0. those weighing 1501–2000 g to be 32–36 wk gestation.26) Rahmathullah Subgroup analysis 3% et al (194) limited to infants RCT (LII) with birth weight <2500 g 15% 82% Mortality Overall RR 0.2.48. which include vitamin A. 194). It was not possible to provide additional recommendations due to insufficient evidence.000 IU in one or two divided doses) during the first days of life may have a survival advantage.rodevelopment or malnutrition were located.

results Effect on mortality. breastfed LBW infants <1500 g and gave either the usual 400 IU dose or a high-dose (2000 international units (IU)) of vitamin D from 72 hours till 6 weeks postnatal age (197). the radiographic bone scores (median 2. At 9–11 years. Backstrom et al randomized 39 infants <33 weeks gestational age and gave vitamin D 200 IU/kg of body weight/day (up to a maximum of 400 IU/day) or 960 IU/day until 3 months of age. Lucas et al reported on 45 UK pre-term infants of mean gestational age 30 weeks (mean birth weight 1050 g) fed unsupplemented mother’s own milk from birth until hospital discharge (196).0 and 2. Three studies were located which compared different doses of vitamin D on bone mineralization in human-milk-fed VLBW (very low birth weight. In a later study (from May 1994 to January 1996). At 3 months of age the infants who received 500 IU vitamin D had a statistically significant higher bone mineral content than those infants who received 1000 IU. respectively) as well as the mean serum osteocalcin concentrations were similar in the two study groups.vitaMin d SuPPleMentatiOn The vitamin D content of a typical oral multivitamin supplement used for pre-term infants receiving human milk is 400 IU per daily dose. Studies reporting clinical outcomes related to vitamin D supplementation have only involved case series and were from the early 1970s. At age 6 weeks. conclusions and implications There is some evidence of the need for vitamin D supplementation of human-milk-fed infants <1500 g for adequate bone mineralization and to prevent rickets of prematurity. <1500 g) infants (197–199). From 1985 to 1987 Backstrom et al randomized 70 infants <34 weeks gestational age (birth weight <2000 g) to receive vitamin D 500 IU or 1000 IU per day from the time of tolerance of full enteral nutrition until 3 months of age. high rates of osteopenia and fractures in the infants fed unsupplemented human milk were reported. Evans et al randomized 81 Canadian. Lucas et al followed the infants further till 18 months of age and reported that infants fed unsupplemented pre-term mother’s milk had 2 cm reduction in linear growth and two infants had clinical evidence of rickets. This study had a factorial design and infants also received 108 mg/kg calcium with 53 mg/kg phosphorus or placebo. morbidity and neurodevelopment No intervention studies were located which examined the impact of vitamin D supplementation on mortality rates. Robertson reported on 25 South African pre-term infants of mean gestational age 31 weeks (mean birth weight 1100 g) who were fed unsupplemented mother’s own milk from birth until hospital discharge (173). there was no difference in bone mineral content or bone mineral density between the infants who received low or high vitamin D doses (198). The lowest bone mineral content was found in infants who received 1000 IU/day vitamin D and no calcium or phosphorus. There are no clinical trial data on the effect of vitamin D on key clinical outcomes in infants with birth weight >1500 g. morbidity or development in LBW infants. There was no difference in bone mineral content or in bone mineral density at 3 and 6 months corrected age between the infants who received low or high vitamin D (199). results  . the infants were followed from birth till hospital discharge. only 50% of infants (n=35) were available for follow-up. In both these studies. Effect on bone mineralization No studies were located which examined the impact and clinical outcomes in infants who were fed unsupplemented and vitamin D-supplemented human milk. There are very few studies from developing countries where nutrient deficiencies may be more common.5 in high-dose and usual dose groups. There seems to be no additional benefit of increasing the intake of vitamin D for VLBW infants from the usually recommended 400 IU per day.

It was not possible to provide additional recommendations due to insufficient evidence. Effect on serious morbidity Three case series were located which examined the effect of vitamin K supplementation on coagulation studies and plasma vitamin K levels in VLBW infants receiving total parenteral nutrition (204–206). No studies examined the impacts in infants who received no TPN. Provision of 400 IU of vitamin D to LBW infants receiving human milk from birth until 6 months of chronological age has been standard practice in many developed country neonatal nurseries. In the early 1990s. seven other case-control stud recommendations Policy statements from international and national organizations state the importance of administering IM or oral vitamin K at birth for LBW infants.0 mg/kg intramuscular vitamin K (205). neurodevelopment and malnutrition No intervention studies were located which examined the impact of vitamin K supplementation on mortality rates or development in LBW infants. Calcium and phosphorus supplementation are also recommended to ensure bone mineralization.73. 95%CI 0.0 mg intramuscular vitamin K (206). results Effect on mortality. Alternatively. ies found no relationship and three found a weak relationship between neonatal administration of IM or IV vitamin K and the risk of solid childhood tumours or leukaemia (203).56 to 0. or 2. Currently. Human milk intake was also not recorded.3 mg/kg IM to infants weighing less than 1000 g at birth.42) in infants who received vitamin K on day 1 of life (200).0 mg intramuscular vitamin K and suggested decreasing the amount of vitamin K in total parenteral nutrition (TPN) and maintaining the intramuscular dose of vitamin K in infants under 1000 g to 0. Similarly.18. A review of these studies concluded that the results did not establish a causal relationship between IM vitamin K and increased risk of childhood cancer (203). there are studies in term infants which examined a possible association of neonatal vitamin K supplementation with childhood cancer. Standard practice in many neonatal units is to administer 1 mg intramuscular vitamin K at birth for infants weighing 1000 g or more at birth and 0. it is provided in a dose of Optimal feeding Of lOw-birth-weight infants: technical review . However. Normal coagulation status was reported in all three studies. Infants were administered 1.3 mg/kg. followed by 2 mg on day 3–5 and day 28.5–1. conclusions and implications There is little evidence of the efficacy of vitamin K supplementation in LBW infants. oral vitamin K is administered 2 mg orally at birth. 95%CI 0.96) and bleeding after circumcision (RR 0. A systematic review of studies in term infants indicated that there was a significantly lower risk of bleeding during the first week of life (RR 0.08 to 0. Kumar et al and Costakos et al reported high vitamin K levels in infants <1000 g given 1.3 mg/ kg intramuscular vitamin K for infants with birth weights less than 1000 g.recommendations International and national organizations recommend daily vitamin D supplementation of 400 IU from birth until the infant attains 2000 g body weight to growing pre-term infants receiving human milk.0 mg enteral vitamin K (204) within 48 hours of birth. If oral vitamin K is administered. Effect on other important outcomes vitaMin k SuPPleMentatiOn Intramuscular vitamin K is commonly administered in doses of 1 mg at birth to all infants over 1000 g and 0. 202). Golding et al reported a statistically significant association between term infants from developed countries receiving IM vitamin K and an increased incidence of childhood cancer (201. there are no data to suggest that the effects of vitamin K supplementation would be different from those in term AGA infants. 0.

Significant improvements in mean haemoglobin were demonstrated at 4 and 8 weeks of age in the supplemented group. by 8 weeks of age 65% of the infants were lost to follow up (n=26 at 8 weeks of age). 213). 215).7% of infants had a haemoglobin concentration <100g/l at 2 months of age (191). irOn SuPPleMentatiOn Iron supplementation is usually provided to LBW infants as 2–3 mg/kg/day ferrous fumarate or ferrous gluconate from 2 to 8 weeks of age until 12 months of age. 214. No adverse reactions to the administration of 2–3 mg/kg/day of oral iron supplementation were reported in any study. results  . neurodevelopment and malnutrition in human-milk-fed LBW infants.2.72. In this study. At 6 months the improvement in mean haemoglobin was 10 g/l. Most trials were conducted in the 1960s and 1970s (163. 207–210). 212. In this study. Other studies have examined the optimal time to commence iron supplementation in AGA pre-term infants (191. 3 months and 6 months of chronological age in the supplemented group. Impacts on other important outcomes Four studies were also located which examined the impacts of iron supplementation on iron metabolism and toxicity (208.2). 10/68. RR 2. In addition. He reported that infants in the late initiation group were more often iron-deficient by day 61 of life (26/65 vs. Aggarwal et al randomized 73 breastfed Indian infants who were term LBW (mean birth weight 2290 g) to receive 3 mg/kg/day of oral iron or no iron supplementation from 50 to 80 days of age. Only one of these studies examined the impact of oral iron supplementation in breastfed pre-term infants (208) (see summary Table 2. No long-term effects have been reported. however. Effects on iron status A number of RCTs examined the impact of giving iron supplements to LBW infants on the rates of iron-deficiency anaemia (IDA). compared to 0% in the supplemented group.43 to 5. Siimes also examined the rates of iron-deficiency anaemia in 67 Scandinavian breastfed infants (30–36 weeks gestation and 1000–2400 g birth weight) over a 12-month period and reported high rates of anaemia when unsupplemented LBW infants exceeded 6 months of chronological age (213). Scott et al and Lackmann et al both reported that pre-term infants have limited iron-binding capacity and that the therapeutic: toxic ratio for iron is narrower than for most other nutrients. neurodevelopment and malnutrition No studies were located which examined the impact of oral iron supplementation on mortality. Franz et al examined the impact of enteral iron supplementation in 133 German infants weighing <1300 g at birth.2. Additional recommendations could not be provided due to insufficient evidence.2). Significant improvements in mean haemoglobin were demonstrated at 2 months. Studies of Franz et al (212) and Lundstrom et al (208) are described above.18) and received more blood transfusions after day 14 of life (see summary Table 2. 77% of breastfed infants who had never received iron supplementation became anaemic by 6 months of age.2).2. One study was identified which examined the impacts in term LBW infants (211) (see summary Table 2. Scott et al (215) and Lackmann et al (214) examined the metabolism of iron in pre-term infants <2500 g in two small US case series. Infants were randomized to receive either 2 mg/kg/day oral iron as soon as enteral feedings of >100 ml/kg/day were tolerated (early enteral iron supplementation) or 2 mg/kg/day oral iron at 61 days of life (late enteral iron supplementation) (212).2 mg orally at birth. results Effects on mortality. followed by 2 mg on day 3–5 and day 28. 212. A study in term LBW breastfed infants in Honduras reported that 47. Lundstrom et al randomized 117 Finnish infants who weighed less than 2000 g at birth (mean birth weight 1650 g) to receive 2 mg/kg/day of oral iron or no iron supplementation from 2 weeks to 6 months of chronological age. 95%CI 1.

15.6 g/l (0. There is some evidence that anaemia is common in LBW infants fed unsupplemented human milk even at 8 weeks of age.5. -66%) infants who became anaemic by 6 months of age Adjusted haemoglobin change at 4 weeks Adjusted haemoglobin change at 8 weeks 4.2 Effect of iron supplementation of breastfed LBW infants on iron status in the first 6 months of life. Design (Level of evidence) Inclusion criteria Approximate proportion of participants with gestation agea <32 wk 32–36 wk ≥37 wk outcome measure Effect measure [95% CI] Comparison groups Lundström et al (208) RCT (LII) Infants 1000– 2000 g at birth 30% 70% None Infants who received 2 mg/ kg/day elemental iron starting at 2 weeks of age (n=60) compared with infants who received no iron unless they developed anaemia (n=57) Infants who received 3 mg/ kg/day elemental iron from age 50–80 days (n=37) compared with infants who received placebo (n=36) Difference in -77% proportion of (-88%.8. started at 2 weeks of age.(-40%. recommendations International and national organizations recommend the administration of supplemental oral iron to pre-term and SGA infants. -11%) deficient at 2 months age a If gestational age was not available in the publication. common childhood illnesses or neurodevelopment in LBW infants.2. Standard practice in neonatal units is to provide ferrous fumarate or ferrous gluconate at 2–3 mg/kg/day to LBW infants receiving unfortified human milk from 6–8 weeks of age until 12 months of chronological age. infants with birth weight <1500 g are assumed to be <32 wk gestation.conclusions and implications There is evidence from developed and some developing countries that iron supplementation. those weighing 1501–2000 g to be 32–36 wk gestation. may prevent this early anaemia in infants with birth weight <1500 g. the data are insufficient on the safety of iron supplementation during the first 2 months of life. is effective in preventing anaemia during infancy. and those weighing 2001–2500 g to have a gestation of 37 weeks or more. However.  Optimal feeding Of lOw-birth-weight infants: technical review . 8. started around 6–8 weeks of age in LBW infants. There is also some evidence to suggest that iron supplementation.6 g/l (1. The findings of this review support these recommendations. SuMMARy TABLE 2.8) Aggarwal et al (211) RCT (LII) Term LBW infants None < 2500 g None 100% 8. There are no data on the effects of iron supplementation on mortality.4) Franz et al (212) RCT (LII) Infants <1301 g at birth 100% None None Infants who received 2 to 6 mg/kg/day elemental iron as soon as enteral feedings were fully tolerated (n=68) compared with infants who started receiving iron supplements only at 61 days of age (n=65) Proportion of -25% infants iron. Study.

which examined the impacts of zinc supplementation on mortality rates in SGA term infants. riboflavin 0. 221). Lira et al reported that zinc supplementation of 5 mg from birth until 8 weeks chronological age had no significant effect on weight and length gains from 0 to 26 weeks (217). calcium 180 mg/d.5) (220). 220). In one trial. India. In this trial Sazawal et al reported that SGA term infants who received zinc supplementation had a statistically significant 70% reduction in mortality compared to the control group (RR 0. and riboflavin) together with 5 mg/day of elemental zinc (n=100) or a micronutrient supplement mix without additional zinc (n=100) from day 30 to 9 months of chronological age (219). No trials reported the impact on standard deviation scores or malnutrition results  . psychomotor or behavioural development at 6 and 12 months of chronological age. as assessed by Bayley’s Scales of Infant Development. 100 south Indian LBW infants (1500–2400 g) who were receiving human milk were randomized to receive either 5 mg/day elemental zinc in a vitamin B complex syrup (n=50) or vitamin B complex syrup only (n=50) from Three trials were located which examined the impacts on growth outcomes in term SGA infants (see summary Table 2. 218. The second trial. Zinc supplementation was associated with a statistically significant 28% reduction in diarrhoeal prevalence and a 33% reduction in the prevalence of cough over the 6-month follow-up period.5) (219. Castillo-Duran et al randomized 68 term SGA infants (mean birth weight 2300 ± 200 g. calcium.8 weeks.2. iron. There was no significant effect of zinc on any of the measures of development or behaviour at 6 and 10 month evaluation. Sazawal et al randomized 1154 term SGA infants in south India who were receiving human milk to either a zinc supplementation group (each infant receiving a supplement containing zinc 5 mg/d. mean gestational age 39. daily supplementation was given until the infant reached 12 months of chronological age.4) (217.6) (217. was identified (see summary Table 2. 200 term SGA infants from Delhi.2.5 mg/d. reported no significant differences in mental. He reported statistically significant improvements in weight-for-age and lengthfor-age z scores in zinc supplemented infants at 6 months of age.1 ± 0. Zinc supplementation was associated with a statistically significant 29% reduction in diarrhoeal incidence over the 12-month follow-up period. phosphorus.2. 218). Effect on serious morbidity birth until 12 months of chronological age (218).3) (216). In the other trial. Effect on neurodevelopment Two trials were located which examined the impacts on neurodevelopment (see summary Table 2.32.89). iron 10 mg/d and folate 60 µmol/d) or a control group (each infant receiving a supplement that did not contain zinc but contained other micronutrients as in the intervention group above). Effect on malnutrition Two trials were located which examined the impacts on clinical illness (diarrhoea. who were receiving human milk were randomized to receive either a daily micronutrient supplement mix (folate. phosphorus 90 mg/d.12 to 0. acute respiratory infection) (see summary Table 2. In one trial. 95%CI 0. which examined the impact of zinc supplementation on neurodevelopment in term SGA infants (see summary Table 2. The supplementation commenced on day 15 of age and reached the full treatment doses as outlined above by 30 days of age. In Chile.2. in Brazil. 29/68 breastfed) who were receiving human milk to receive either 5 mg zinc per day for 6 months or a placebo (221). No trials which examined the impacts in pre-term infants were located. with follow-up until they reached 6 months of age (217). 137 Brazilian term SGA infants (1500–2400 g) who were receiving human milk were randomized to receive either 5 mg zinc per day for 8 weeks or a placebo.2.Zinc SuPPleMentatiOn results Effect on mortality One trial. In a Brazilian trial.

2.SuMMARy TABLE 2.89) 9 months of age a If gestational age was not available in the publication. 1. and those weighing 2001–2500 g to have a gestation of 37 weeks or more. Design (Level of evidence) Inclusion criteria Approximate proportion of participants with gestation agea <32 wk 32–36 wk ≥37 wk outcome measure Effect measure [95% CI] Comparison groups Sazawal et al (216) RCT (LII) Full term SGA infants None None 100% Infants who received 5 mg/day elemental zinc from 1 to 9 months of age (n=581) compared with infants who received no zinc (n=573) Infant deaths RR 0.2. infants with birth weight <1500 g are assumed to be <32 wk gestation. Design (Level of evidence) Inclusion criteria Approximate proportion of participants with gestation agea <32 wk 32–36 wk ≥37 wk outcome measure Effect measure [95% CI] Comparison groups Lira et al (217) Full term SGA RCT infants (LII) None None 100% Infants who received 5 mg/day Prevalence of elemental zinc daily for 8 weeks diarrhoea (n=71) compared with infants (0–26 weeks) who received placebo (n=66) Prevalence of cough (0–26 weeks) Adjustedb prevalence ratio 0.3 Effect of zinc supplementation of breastfed LBW infants on mortality Study.99) Adjustedb prevalence ratio 0.4 Effect of zinc supplementation of breastfed LBW infants on serious morbidity Study.32 between 1 and (0. Adjusted for water supply  Optimal feeding Of lOw-birth-weight infants: technical review .67 (0.52. those weighing 1501–2000 g to be 32–36 wk gestation.72 (0. infants with birth weight <1500 g are assumed to be <32 wk gestation.12.44.5.71 elemental zinc in a vitamin B incidence over (0. those weighing 1501–2000 g to be 32–36 wk gestation. 0. SuMMARy TABLE 2.04) Sur et al (218) LBW RCT (LII) None 50% 50% Infants who received 5 mg/day Diarrhoeal RR 0. 0.98) complex syrup from birth until first 12 months 12 months of chronological age (n=50) compared with infants who received vitamin B complex syrup only (n=50) a b If gestational age was not available in the publication. and those weighing 2001–2500 g to have a gestation of 37 weeks or more. 0.

it is standard practice in many neonatal units to give infants with birth weights less than 1500 g a multicomponent fortifier with human milk. Additional recommendations could not be provided due to lack of evidence.001).9 weeks.8 mg/kg/day of oral zinc sulfate) or mother’s milk supplemented with calcium and phosphorus alone from birth until discharge from hospital.95 compared to –2. mean birth weight 1310 g) were randomized to receive either mother’s milk supplemented with multicomponent human milk fortifier (providing 1. In a trial on Indian infants. a statistically significant improvement in weight-for-age z score at 12 months of age was reported in the infants who received zinc supplements (–1. It is not standard practice in most neonatal units to provide zinc supplementation to LBW infants. conclusions and implications There are no data on the effect of zinc on key clinical outcomes in pre-term infants. the authors concluded that supplemental zinc either in hospital or post-hospital discharge did not appear to be required for preterm infants fed their mother’s milk. Effect on other important outcomes status and therefore supplementation trials in premature infants would provide the best evidence of the role of zinc in their nutrition. p <0.45 ± 0. However. with or without zinc supplementation. Data from two trials in developing countries suggest that term LBW infants in developing countries may have lower mortality and morbidity if they receive zinc supplementation. Significant gains in mean length and weight were also reported (218). 25 Canadian infants under 32 weeks gestation (mean gestational age 29. maintained normal zinc levels from the time of hospital discharge till 12 months of chronological age. In one trial in pre-term infants in a developed country which examined the effect of zinc supplementation on zinc status (222).rates. There seems to be no evidence that zinc supplementation in these infants improves neurodevelopment or affects growth.90. plasma zinc levels are a poor measure of zinc recommendations No policy statements were available from international or national organizations on the use of zinc in the LBW infant. Reporting that pre-term infants who were fed their mother’s milk. However.8 mg/kg/ day of zinc until the infant reaches a weight of 1800–2000 g.5–1. which provides an additional 0. results  .17 ± 0.

12. infants with birth weight <1500 g are assumed to be <32 wk gestation. cm (-1.2 Index (MDI) (-7.4) Castillo-Duran Full term SGA et al (221) infants RCT (LII) None None 100% Weight for age MD 0. and riboflavin) from 30 days to 9 months of age (n=100) compared with infants who received the micronutrient supplement mix but no zinc (n=100) Bayley’s Mental Development Index (MDI) scores at 6 months Bayley’s Psychomotor Development Index (PDI) scores at 6 months Adjustedb regression coefficient 1.29 (-0. gender and socio-economic status SuMMARy TABLE 2.6.5 Effect of zinc supplementation of breastfed LBW infants on neurodevelopment Study. Adjusted for birth weight. cm Breastfed infants who received 3 mg/day elemental zinc daily (n=20) compared with breastfed infants who received placebo (n=9) MD 0.1 6 months. 6.68. 3.4 (-1. weight gained since birth. those weighing 1501–2000 g to be 32–36 wk gestation. 2.26) a b If gestational age was not available in the publication. iron. 0. 4.8) a If gestational age was not available in the publication. calcium.9) scores at 6 months Bayley’s Psychomotor Development Index (PDI) score at 12 months MD -0. and those weighing 2001–2500 g to have a gestation of 37 weeks or more.6 Effect of zinc supplementation of breastfed LBW infants on growth outcomes Study.3. and those weighing 2001–2500 g to have a gestation of 37 weeks or more.65) MD 0.2.2. (n=54) compared with infants kg who received placebo (n=54) Length gain (0–26 weeks).4) Black et al (219 ) RCT (LII) Full term SGA infants None None 100% Infants who received 5 mg/ day elemental zinc and a daily micronutrient supplement mix (folate.07 to 0.2.7 z-score at (0.94 (-0.15 to 1.11 (-1. infants with birth weight <1500 g are assumed to be <32 wk gestation.  Optimal feeding Of lOw-birth-weight infants: technical review . 4.4 (-5. Design (Level of evidence) Inclusion criteria Approximate proportion of participants with gestation agea <32 wk 32–36 wk ≥37 wk outcome measure Effect measure [95% CI] Comparison groups Lira et al (217) RCT (LII) Full term SGA infants None None 100% Infants who received 5 mg/day Weight gain elemental zinc daily for 8 weeks (0–26 weeks).SuMMARy TABLE 2.2. those weighing 1501–2000 g to be 32–36 wk gestation.16) Adjustedb regression coefficient 2. Design (Level of evidence) Inclusion criteria Approximate proportion of participants with gestation agea <32 wk 32–36 wk ≥37 wk outcome measure Effect measure [95% CI] Comparison groups Ashworth et al (220 ) RCT (LII) Full term SGA infants None None 100% Infants who received 5 mg/ day elemental zinc daily for 8 weeks (n=46) compared with infants who received placebo (n=44) Bayley’s Mental MD Development -2.25) 6 months Length at MD 1. phosphorus.

this is described in the section on vitamin D. only 50% of infants (n=35) were available for follow-up. In two studies. they are often administered as individual supplements of calcium (2.0 mmol/kg/day) and phosphorus (0. From 1985 to 1987 he randomized 70 infants <34 weeks gestational age to receive 108 mg/kg calcium with 53 mg/kg phosphorus or a placebo from the time of tolerance of full enteral nutrition until the infant reached 3 months of age. Effect on bone mineralization A number of studies evaluated the short-term impacts of calcium and phosphorus supplementation in pre-term infants <33 weeks gestation. However. serious clinical disease. 95%CI 19% to 64%). There are no studies from developing countries. the higher the breastmilk received. where the prevalence of deficiency may be higher. morbidity. 226).7 mmol/l (49 mg/dl).5 mmol/ kg/day) or in a multicomponent fortifier. At 3 months of age the infants who received calcium and phosphorus supplementation had a statistically significant higher bone mineral content than those who received the placebo. Combined calcium and phosphorus supplementation maintained plasma alkaline phosphatase activity within the normal range for age of 6 weeks. 198. a dose response was apparent. In addition. virtually all reported significant improvements in bone mineralization in supplemented infants up to 2 years of age (223– 230). Holland et al randomized 50 UK infants (birth weight <1250 g) to receive either 50 mg phosphate per day or a placebo from birth until discharge from hospital (232). This study had a factorial design and the infants also received vitamin D (500 IU or 1000 IU per day). It was reported that both groups had no radiological evidence of rickets at 6 weeks chronological age. bone changes were apparent in 42% of the control group (risk difference [RD] 42%. the higher the radial bone mineral content at 8–12 years of age (186.2 mmol/l (125 mg/dl) and phosphorus 15. no difference was found in bone mineral content or bone mineral density between the infants who received calcium and phosphorus supplementation and those on the placebo (198). At 9 to 11 years. results Effect on mortality. 231. a number of studies reported the beneficial effects of a long period of breastfeeding on bone mineral status in mineralsupplemented pre-term infants (186. No infant receiving phosphate supplements (50 mg per day) from birth until discharge had radiological evidence of rickets at the time of discharge. 226). neurodevelopment or malnutrition in LBW infants. Only Backstrom et al compared the outcomes in supplemented and unsupplemented infants (198). The lowest bone mineral content was found in infants who received 1000 IU/day vitamin D and no calcium or phosphorus. conclusions and implications There is some evidence that phosphorus and calcium supplementation reduces the risk of metabolic bone disease in pre-term infants and leads to short-term increases in bone mineralization in infants with gestation <32 weeks or birth weight <1500 g. only three RCTs were located which examined the impact of calcium and phosphorus supplementation as individual components (not as part of multicomponent fortification) on longer-term bone mineralization (after 2 years of age) (198. results  . There are no data on the effect of phosphorus and calcium supplementation on key clinical outcomes in infants with birth weight >1500 g. The infants received either calcium 21 mmol/l (84 mg/dl) or calcium 31. Laing et al randomized 74 US infants (birth weights <1500 g) receiving human milk to be given additional calcium and phosphorus supplements from birth until 47 days of age (231). neurodevelopment and malnutrition No studies were located which examined the impact of calcium or phosphorus supplementation on mortality rates.calciuM and PhOSPhOruS SuPPleMentatiOn If calcium and phosphorus supplements are provided to LBW infants. 232).

Standard practice in many neonatal units is to give such infants calcium 2.0 mmol/kg/day and phosphorus 0.2. iron. P = 0. It was not possible to provide additional recommendations due to insufficient evidence. B2. B6. There were seven deaths among the study infants. vitamins A.48. The findings of this review support these recommendations.66 to 3.7) (17. calcium. E. the confidence limits were wide and the RR was above 1. Lucas et al randomized 275 UK preterm infants (birth weight <1850 g. pantothenic acid and niacin.) showed no significant difference in the risk of necrotising enterocolitis between the multicomponent-fortifier supplemented and control groups (pooled RR 1. D. B2. carbohydrate. D. A recently updated meta-analysis (233) of these two studies showed that the combined estimate of RR of death was not significantly different from 1 (RR 1. pantothenic acid and niacin to all LBW infants receiving human milk from birth until the infant attains a weight of 2000 g. This study reported no significant impact on mortality rate (RR 0. K. thus a trend towards an increased morbidity risk from multicomponent fortifier cannot be discounted. 234–236) (see summary Table 2. Pettifor et al randomized 59 South African pre-term infants <1500 g at birth to receive maternal milk supplemented with a multicomponent fortifier or unsupplemented maternal milk from the time that enteral feeds were tolerated until hospital discharge (168). and riboflavin.04) 0 Optimal feeding Of lOw-birth-weight infants: technical review . C. Effect on serious morbidity MulticOMPOnent FOrtiFicatiOn Multicomponent fortifiers commonly contain protein. D. 168).34).8. gestational age range 23–36 weeks) to receive either human milk with added standard human milk fortifier or human milk with only added vitamins.69 to 2.54) (233).3.78. the large study by Lucas et al reported an increase in clinical infection (suspected or proven) in the fortified group (43% compared with 31%. 95%CI 0.04). thus a trend towards an increased mortality risk from multicomponent fortifier cannot be discounted.5 mmol/kg/day in addition to breastmilk until the infant attains a weight of 2000 g. 168. A meta-analysis of five RCTs (17.2. recommendations Policy statements from organizations in developed countries describe the importance of providing multivitamin supplementation with a standard neonatal multivitamin preparation containing vitamins A. B1. In addition.30 to 2. Two RCTs were located which reported the impact of multicomponent supplementation of human milk on mortality rates. results Effect on mortality MultivitaMin SuPPleMentatiOn Neonatal multivitamin preparations commonly contain vitamins A. However. phosphorus. The constituents of commonly used fortifiers are described in Box 1. B1. B6. results No studies were located which examined the impact of multivitamin supplementation on any outcomes in LBW infants. These interventions were provided from the time that full enteral feeds were tolerated until the infant attained a weight of 2000 g. Standard practice in many neonatal units is to provide commercially available multivitamin preparations to all LBW infants receiving unfortified human milk until 6 months chronological age. all of them in the group randomized to receive the fortifier. zinc. However.recommendations International and national organizations describe the importance of providing phosphorus and/or calcium supplements to infants who weigh <1500 g at birth for improving bone mineralization and growth. 95%CI 0. 95%CI 0. C. fat. phosphate and sodium (17). confidence limits were wide and the RR was above 1. although the studies were not designed to examine the effect on mortality (see summary Table 2.33.3.

Also. Similarly. A metaanalysis of these two trials also demonstrated a significant improvement by hospital discharge (WMD 8. The two largest studies (17. In this study no significant differences in neurodevelopment were detected at 9 or 18 months in the fortified compared to the unfortified group.3 g/kg/ day. There was also a non-significant increase in the risk of necrotising enterocolitis (5. the metaanalysis reported significantly greater length gains (WMD 0. Almost all the studies are from developed countries. Nevertheless.0 mmol/kg/ day) and phosphorus (0. 95%CI 0.07 to 0.12 cm/week. 237–243). Modanlou et al randomized 18 US infants (243) and Pettifor et al randomized 59 South African infants (168) who weighed 1000–1600 g at birth. Use of multi-component fortifiers does not appear to be associated with increased risk of mortality or necrotizing enterocolitis. although the small number of infants and the large amount of missing data in the studies reduces confidence in this conclusion. There are insufficient data to evaluate long-term neurodevelopmental and growth outcomes. 95%CI 0.8mg/cm) (233). P = 0. There are no data examining the efficacy of multicomponent fortifier in infants of 32–36 weeks gestation or in term LBW infants. 168) did not find a statistically significant increase in weight gain in the fortification group. though some advantages were reported in a subgroup of male infants. 95%CI 1. 95%CI 3. Both trials provided infants with calcium (2. Two studies evaluated long-term growth at 12 and 18 months of age (17.2%. 241). recommendations Policy statements from developed countries describe the importance of giving supplements with a standard multicomponent fortifier from birth to growing pre-term infants weighing <1500 g at birth who receive human milk until a weight of 1800–2000 g has been reached (43. linear growth.9). Effect on malnutrition Both studies reported that infants receiving fortification had significantly better bone mineralization than those receiving unsupplemented milk at hospital discharge. A higher prevalence of infections. 168.16) in the fortifier group.8% compared with 2.) (17).7 to 2.12). 234.(17). no significant differences in bone mineralization between the intervention and the control groups were detected at 3 months by Pettifor et al and no longer-term follow-up has been reported. head growth and bone mineralization. both found no differences in weight. and high fortifier costs are additional issues to consider when deciding use of multicomponent fortifiers in developing countries Ten clinical trials were located which examined the impacts of multicomponent supplementation on short-term growth (17. Standard practice in many results  .2.12 cm/week.3mg/cm. Effect on bone mineralization Two RCTs were located which examined the role of calcium and phosphorus supplementation as a part of multicomponent fortifier in improving bone mineralization. 45). although there appears to be no effect on growth beyond one year of age.18) and head growth (WMD 0. length and head circumference between the study groups. in the largest trial undertaken there was a significant increase in the incidence of infection among infants receiving the fortifier. However.07 to 0. All trials were from developed countries and are summarized in Table 2.9. the meta-analysis showed greater weight gains in infants receiving multicomponent fortifier compared to the controls (WMD 2.2. greater potential for contamination.5 mmol/kg/day) from the time when full enteral feeds were tolerated (mean age 14 days) until hospital discharge. there is evidence that use of multicomponent fortifier leads to short-term increase in weight gain. conclusions and implications In infants of <32 weeks gestation. Effect on neurodevelopment Only one RCT was located which examined the impact of multicomponent supplementation of human milk on neurodevelopmental outcomes (see summary Table 2.8 to 12.10.

those weighing 1501–2000 g to be 32–36 wk gestation.3 (0. The findings of this review raise doubts on the routine use of multicomponent fortifiers.  Optimal feeding Of lOw-birth-weight infants: technical review . Further research in developing countries is needed to examine the role of multicomponent fortifiers.2. their use should be restricted to infants <32 weeks gestation or <1500 g birth weight who fail to gain weight despite adequate breastmilk feeding. enteral intake at least 45 ml/kg/day None None Adjustedb RR 13. Adjusted for birth weight and gestational age.neonatal units in infants with birth weights <1500 g is to add a multicomponent fortifier to human milk until the infant reaches 1800– 2000 g.4) a b If gestational age was not available in the publication. the safety is uncertain. infants with birth weight <1500 g are assumed to be <32 wk gestation. The benefits appear to be only short-term increases in growth. Meanwhile. and those weighing 2001–2500 g to have a gestation of 37 weeks or more. SuMMARy TABLE 2. particularly in developing countries. 227.7 Effect of multicomponent fortification of human milk on mortality in LBW infants Study.30.78 (0. 2.04) Pettifor et al (168) RCT (LII) Birth weight 100% 1000–1500 g. Design (Level of evidence) Inclusion criteria Approximate proportion of participants with gestation agea <32 wk 32–36 wk ≥37 wk outcome measure Effect measure [95% CI] Comparison groups Lucas et al (17) RCT (LII) Birth weight <1850 g 80% 20% None Infants who received Mortality maternal milk supplemented until with multicomponent fortifier discharge (n=137) compared with infants who received maternal milk supplemented with phosphate alone (n=138) Infants who received maternal milk supplemented with multicomponent fortifier (n=53) compared with infants who received unsupplemented maternal milk (n=47) Mortality during first 3 months of life RR 0. and could be of more concern in developing countries with a greater risk of contamination.78.

12) a b If gestational age was not available in the publication. enteral intake at least 45 ml/kg/day None None Adjustedb RR 2.69 (0.6) Faerk et al (236) RCT (LII) Gestational age <32 weeks 100% None None RR 1.53 (0. 12. results  .56) Zuckerman et al (235) RCT (LII) Birth weight <1200 g 100% None None RR 0.73. 1. 17.66 (0.91) Pettifor et al (168) RCT (LII) Birth weight 100% 1000–1500 g.SuMMARy TABLE 2.2.18. Design (Level of evidence) Inclusion criteria Approximate proportion of participants with gestation agea <32 wk 32–36 wk ≥37 wk outcome measure Effect measure [95% CI] Comparison groups Lucas et al (17) RCT (LII) Birth weight <1850 g 80% 20% None Infants who received maternal Necrotising milk supplemented with enterocolitis multicomponent fortifier (n=137) compared with infants who received maternal milk supplemented with phosphate alone (n=138) Infants who received maternal Necrotising milk supplemented with enterocolitis multicomponent fortifier (n=53) compared with infants who received unsupplemented maternal milk (n=47) Infants who received maternal Necrotising milk supplemented with enterocolitis multicomponent fortifier (n=30) compared with infants who received unsupplemented maternal milk (n=36) Infants who received maternal Necrotising milk supplemented with enterocolitis multicomponent fortifier (n=29) compared with infants who received unsupplemented maternal milk (n=24) Infants who received maternal Necrotising milk supplemented with enterocolitis multicomponent fortifier (n=36) compared with infants who received maternal milk supplemented with phosphorus (n=40) RR 2. Adjusted for birth weight and gestational age.7) Kashyap et al (234) RCT (LII) Birth weight 900–1750 g 63% 37% None RR 0.83 (0. infants with birth weight <1500 g are assumed to be <32 wk gestation. and those weighing 2001–2500 g to have a gestation of 37 weeks or more.8 Effect of multicomponent fortification of human milk on necrotising enterocolitis in LBW infants Study.11 (0.05.29.07. those weighing 1501–2000 g to be 32–36 wk gestation. 24. 9.

infants with birth weight <1500 g are assumed to be <32 wk gestation.74) Carey et al (237) RCT (LII) Birth weight <1500 g 100% None None Weight gain (g/kg/day) 5.10 Key studies which examine the effect of multicomponent fortification of human milk on growth outcomes in LBW infants Study. 5. and those weighing 2001–2500g to have a gestation of 37 weeks or more.5 (-2. Design (Level of evidence) Inclusion criteria Approximate proportion of participants with gestation agea <32 wk 32–36 wk ≥37 wk outcome measure Effect measure [95% CI] Weighted mean difference Comparison groups Lucas et al (17) RCT (LII) Birth weight <1850 g 80% 20% None Maternal milk supplemented Weight gain with multicomponent fortifier (g/kg/day) (n=137) compared with maternal milk supplemented with phosphate alone (n=138) Maternal milk supplemented with multicomponent fortifier (n=53) compared with unsupplemented maternal milk (n=47) Maternal milk supplemented with multicomponent fortifier (n=30) compared with unsupplemented maternal milk (n=36) Maternal milk supplemented with multicomponent fortifier (n=6) compared with unsupplemented maternal milk (n=6) Weight gain (g/kg/day) 0.60 (-0.02 (2.58) Pettifor et al (168) RCT (LII) Birth weight 1000–1500 g 100% None None -0.74) continued  Optimal feeding Of lOw-birth-weight infants: technical review .38.7 to 3.2.4 to 7.8) 2.7 (2. 2.9 Effect of multicomponent fortification of human milk on neurodevelopment in LBW infants Study.7) a If gestational age was not available in the publication. Design (Level of evidence) Inclusion criteria Approximate proportion of participants with gestation agea <32 wk 32–36 wk ≥37 wk Effect measure [95% CI] Difference in mean scores Comparison groups outcome measure Lucas et al (17) RCT (LII) Birth weight <1850 g 80% 20% None Infants who received maternal milk supplemented with multi-component fortifier (n=137) compared with infants who received maternal milk supplemented with phosphate alone (n=138) Overall developmental quotient at 9 months Bayley’s mental development index score at 18 months Bayley’s psychomotor development index score at 18 months 0.9 to 6. 8.SuMMARy TABLE 2.2. SuMMARy TABLE 2.95) Kashyap et al (234) RCT (LII) Birth weight 900–1750 g 63% 37% None Weight gain (g/kg/day) 4.7) 2. those weighing 1501–2000 g to be 32–36 wk gestation.66. 1.30.10b (-3.2 (-3.4 (-1.15.

6. 3.22) Nicholl et al (239 ) RCT (LII) Birth weight <1500 g 100% None None Maternal (or donor) milk Weight gain supplemented with multi(g/kg/day) component fortifier (n=13) compared with unsupplemented maternal or donor milk (n=10) Maternal (or donor) milk Weight gain supplemented with human (g/kg/day) milk protein and fat (n=7) compared with unsupplemented human milk (n=7) Maternal milk supplemented with multicomponent fortifier (n=12) compared with unsupplemented maternal milk (n=13) Maternal milk supplemented with multicomponent fortifier (n=8) compared with unsupplemented maternal milk (n=9) Maternal milk supplemented with multicomponent fortifier (n=8) compared with unsupplemented maternal milk (n=10) Weight gain (g/kg/day) 1.25) Pollberger et al (240 ) RCT (LII) AGA preterm infants <1500 g 100% None None 5. those weighing 1501–2000 g to be 32–36 wk gestation.81) Gross et al (242) RCT (LII) Birth weight <1600 g 100% None None Weight gain (g/day) 10. Adjusted for birth weight and gestational age results  .45.72.25) Wauben et al (241) RCT (LII) Preterm infants <1800 g.30 (6.92) Modanlou et al (243) RCT (LII) Birth weight 1000–1500 g 100% None None Weight gain (g/day) 4.68.20 (0. 8.10 continued Study.99. 13.86 (2.40 (0.95.50. infants with birth weight <1500 g are assumed to be <32 wk gestation.68) a b If gestational age was not available in the publication. 5.90 (-2.2. 7.10 (1. Design (Level of evidence) Inclusion criteria Approximate proportion of participants with gestation agea <32 wk 32–36 wk ≥37 wk outcome measure Effect measure [95% CI] Weighted mean difference Comparison groups Greer et al (238) RCT (LII) Infants <32 weeks or <1600g 90% 10% None Maternal milk supplemented with multicomponent fortifier (n=10) compared with unsupplemented maternal milk (n=10) Weight gain (g/kg/day) 3.SuMMARy TABLE 2. aged > 1 week 85% 15% None 2. and those weighing 2001–2500 g to have a gestation of 37 weeks or more.

2). C. pantothenic acid and biotin) added. Breastmilk substitutes also do not contain any of the biologically active immune substances.2. K. If artificial infant formula is not available. Lucas et al randomized 424 UK pre-term infants (whose mothers did not intend to breastfeed) to receive pre-term or standard infant formula from birth until a weight of 2000 g was attained. • Nutrient-enriched formula versus standard formula after discharge from the hospital. The effect of different breastmilk substitutes on clinical outcomes is important to consider when choosing which breastmilk substitutes to use for LBW infants who cannot be fed human milk.3. niacin. 245) (see summary Table 2. B1.1). zinc. Lucas et al reported no significant benefit in overall IQ in the pre-term formula-fed infants (245). there was a significant advantage in verbal intelligence quotient among boys fed pre-term infant formula.3.1). recommendations No policy statements on the use of local preparations of animal milk were located from international or national organizations in developed or developing countries. reflecting the uncertainty about a pre-term infant’s need for nutrients. Lucas et al reported significant advantages in psychomotor developmental scores at 18 months in infants fed pre-term formula (244).3.3. Standard practice in neonatal units of developing countries is to provide artificial infant formula when human milk is not available. It was not possible to provide additional recommendations due to insufficient evidence. vitamins A.3 Breastmilk substitutes Breastmilk substitutes are used if human milk feeding of a LBW infant is not possible. However. Optimal feeding Of lOw-birth-weight infants: technical review . height or head circumference at 18 months and at 7½–8 years in infants who had been fed pre-term or standard infant formula (see summary Table 2. the incidence of cerebral palsy was significantly lower in the pre-term compared to the standard infant-formula-fed group (see summary Table 2. manganese and iodine. which examined the impact of preterm compared with standard infant formula on mortality rates or serious clinical disease in LBW infants. In this multicentre study. In a follow-up of participants of the same trial at 8 years of age. then pasteurized (heat treated/ boiled to 62 °C) and diluted animal milk (100 ml milk + 50 ml water) has been used with sugar (10 g to 100 ml milk + 50 ml water) and nutritional supplements (iron.  One large RCT was located which examined the impact of term and pre-term formula on neurodevelopmental outcomes in pre-term infants (244. It reported significantly higher weight gain at hospital discharge in infants fed pre-term formula but no significant differences in weight. as available. copper. specifically the protein-energy ratio.1). The following are reviewed below: • Locally prepared animal milk. folic acid. B6. • Pre-term versus standard infant formula during the first few days of life. In a post-hoc analysis. This effect was greater in two subgroups – in infants who were small for gestation and in males (see summary Table 2. Effect on neurodevelopment lOcallY PrePared aniMal Milk results No studies examining the impact on clinical outcomes were located. There are many different commercial formulations and the nutrient composition of each breastmilk substitute is slightly different. were located. Pre-terM verSuS Standard inFant FOrMula durinG the FirSt Few daYS OF liFe results Effects on mortality and morbidity No studies. fat blend. and amounts of calcium and phosphorus. E. B12. B2. or hormones or growth factors that are found in human milk. D. Effect on malnutrition Only one study was located which examined the long-term impacts of pre-term and standard infant formula on growth (182).

No studies from developing countries were located. all effect observed in these children at 7½–8 years of age. there was some effect on verbal IQ scores in a subgroup.3. P=0. recommendations Policy statements from international and national organizations confirm the importance of providing mother’s own breastmilk for the LBW infant.9 to 2. No other longer-term benefits (e.07). bone mineral density and osteocalcin were measured at follow-up of 244 infants at age 8–12 years (186). serum lipid profile or pro-insulin levels) have been reported. P=0. fasting 32–33 split proinsulin (–23.51). 25. For the nonhuman-milkfed infant. Effect on blood pressure.5 mm Hg. related to blood pressure. pre-term formula is recommended until the infant attains a body weight of 2000 g. 95%CI –3. insulin resistance and lipid profile during adolescence Data from follow-up at age 13–16 years of participants of the trials conducted by Lucas et al have recently been published (24. conclusions and implications There is some evidence that pre-term infant formula is better than standard infant formula for pre-term infants <1500 g at birth.0. but there is no evidence that this benefit was sustained during later infancy and childhood. There were no significant differences between infants fed pre-term formula or a standard infant formula in mean arterial blood pressure (–1. Infants (<1500 g) fed pre-term infant formula had higher psychomotor developmental scores than those fed standard infant formula up to 18 months of age. –48% to 1.3.8%. followed by iron-fortified standard infant formula until the infant is 12 months of age. The findings from this review support these recommendations. P=0. 95%CI –0. No significant differences in bone mineral calcium.7 to 0.Effect on bone mineralization Morley and Lucas conducted a large RCT which examined the effect of pre-term compared with standard infant formula on bone mineralization (182).g. or LDL/HDL ratio (–0. In infants <1500 g. pre-term compared to standard infant formula also improved growth during the neonatal period. In case breastmilk feeding is not possible.07). 183). Although there was no over- results  . it may be preferable to use pre-term infant formula for pre-term infants <1500 g at birth. LBW infants with birth weight >1500 g are not likely to benefit from the use of preterm infant formula and can be given standard infant formula in case breastmilk feeding is not possible.1%.

6) Girls: -2. 20. 4.72) 1.7 to 20.3 post term (kg) (-1.5–8 years with abbreviated Weschler intelligence scale for children All children: 4.8 (-0.6) Lucas et al (245) RCT (LII) Birth weight <1850 g 80% 20% None Infants of mothers choosing not to provide breastmilk allocated to receive pre-term formula (n=67) compared with infants who were allocated to receive a standard infant formula (n=66) a If gestational age was not available in the publication. Design (Level of evidence) Inclusion criteria Approximate proportion of participants with gestation agea <32 wk 32–36 wk ≥37 wk Effect measure [95% CI] Mean difference Comparison groups outcome measure Morley and Lucas (182) RCT (LII) Birth weight <1850 g 80% 20% None Infants of mothers choosing not to provide breast milk allocated to receive pre-term formula (n=67) compared with infants who were allocated to receive a standard infant formula (n=68) Weight gain in neonatal 3.1 Effect on neurodevelopment of pre-term formula compared with standard infant formula from birth until LBW infants attained a weight of 2000 g Study.71.3 post term (cm) (-0.0 development (-0. infants with birth weight <1500 g are assumed to have <32 wk gestation. and those weighing 2001–2500 g to have a gestation of 37 weeks or more. and those weighing 2001–2500 g to have a gestation of 37 weeks or more.6) Length gain in neonatal 0.2 Effect of pre-term formula compared with standard infant formula on growth outcomes in LBW infants Study.2 (-0. 0. those weighing 1501–2000 g to be 32–36 wk gestation.68) Weight at 7.28.2) Boys: 12. 12.6) index score at 18 months Psychomotor 14.SuMMARy TABLE 2. 0.4. SuMMARy TABLE 2.8.5–8 years 1.31) a If gestational age was not available in the publication.32.2 period (mm/d) (-0.47) Weight at 18 months post term (kg) Length at 18 months post term (cm) 0.7 development (8.0 to 4.7.2 (-0.2 (3.2 (-9. 1. those weighing 1501–2000 g to have 32–36 wk gestation. 2.07.0.3. Optimal feeding Of lOw-birth-weight infants: technical review  .6 to 10.2 period (g/kg/day) (1. infants with birth weight <1500 g are assumed to be <32 wk gestation. 3.6) Length at 7.5–8 years 0.7) index score at 18 months Verbal IQ at 7. Design (Level of evidence) Inclusion criteria Approximate proportion of participants with gestation agea <32 wk 32–36 wk ≥37 wk outcome measure Effect measure [95% CI] Difference in mean score Comparison groups Lucas et al (244) RCT (LII) Birth weight <1850 g 80% 20% None Infants of mothers choosing not to provide breastmilk allocated to receive pre-term formula (n=81) compared with infants who were allocated to receive a standard infant formula (n=79) Bayley mental 6.3.

95 to 3. There is no evidence of benefit on any other outcomes. 95%CI –4. Cooke et al randomized 125 US pre-term infants (whose mothers did not intend to breastfeed) to receive nutrient-enriched or standard infant formula from hospital discharge until 6 months of chronological age (246). However.3.56.nutrient-enriched FOrMula verSuS Standard FOrMula results Effect on mortality and morbidity No studies were located which examined the impact of infant formula on mortality rates or serious clinical disease in LBW infants. No longer-term follow-up for neurodevelopment has been reported.99 to 3. but not on weight (WMD 24. 95%CI –2. Studies examining long-term growth impacts are summarized in Table 2. Lucas et al randomized 284 UK pre-term infants (whose mothers did not intend to breastfeed) to receive nutrient-enriched or standard infant formula from hospital discharge until 9 months of chronological age (160). 246. He also reported that the dietary effects were independent of the pattern of growth retardation. 246). Litmanowitz  . 95%CI –1. 95%CI 2. 95%CI –3.6 mm). de Curtis et al (250) and Cooke et al (246) did not find any statistically significant short-term growth gains in their nutrientenriched formula groups. 161.07)) (247).4.9 g). The longer-term implications of faster growth in these infants on later blood pressure. In the study of term SGA infants by Fewtrell et al. Effect on malnutrition (249).3.23. No studies were located which reported impacts on standard deviation scores or malnutrition rates. infants fed nutrient-enriched formula had significantly greater gains in length and head circumference at 9 and 18 months chronological age (161). Carver et al (248). recommendations Policy statements from international and national organizations confirm the importance of providing mother’s own breastmilk results Six studies were located which examined the impacts of nutrient-enriched formula on growth outcomes (160. or head circumference (WMD 0. linear and head growth. He also did not find a statistically significant difference in Bayley’s mental development index or psychomotor development index at 18 months post-term. compared with standard infant formula (160.6 to 4. Effect on neurodevelopment Two RCTs was located which examined the impact of nutrient-enriched formula on neurodevelopmental outcomes.3. Meta-analysis of data from Cooke et al and Lucas et al found a statistically significant effect of calorie and protein-enriched formula milk on crown-heel length at 18 months post-term (WMD 9. There was a 2.1 to 51.3 mm) (247).8. conclusions and implications There is weak evidence that nutrient-enriched formula results in higher weight and length gains over standard infant formula in pre-term infants.9. No studies from developing countries were located. Meta-analysis of data from Cooke et al and Lucas et al did not find a statistically significant difference in either the mental development index (WMD 0.8-point advantage in Bayley’s psychomotor index subscale in infants fed nutrient-enriched formula when they had reached 18 months of chronological age. 16. There was no difference in mental development scores in the two study groups (see summary Table 2. Lucas et al (160) and Cooke et al (246) reported variable long-term (up to 18 months of age) linear and weight gains in their nutrient-enriched formula groups. There is some evidence that term SGA infants fed nutrient-enriched formula had improved ponderal.3). its routine use cannot be justified in developing country settings. but this difference was not statistically significant.0. 248–250). insulin resistance and lipid profile needs to be carefully examined before making any recommendations for use of nutrient-enriched formula.45) or psychomotor development index (WMD 0. Considering the weak evidence of benefits and substantially higher costs of nutrientenriched formula.

SuMMARy TABLE 2. 5. 4.4. followed by iron-fortified standard infant for- mula until the infant is 12 months of age. Design (Level of evidence) Inclusion criteria Approximate proportion of participants with gestation agea <32 wk 32–36 wk ≥37 wk outcome measure Effect measure [95% CI] Difference in mean score Comparison groups Lucas et al (160 ) RCT (LII) Birth weight <1750 g 70% 30% None Infants of mothers choosing not to provide breastmilk allocated to receive nutrientenriched formula (n=91) compared with infants who were allocated to receive for 9mo a standard infant formula (n=93) after discharge from the hospital Infants of mothers choosing not to provide breastmilk allocated to receive nutrientenriched formula (n=49) compared with infants who were allocated to receive for 6mo a standard infant formula (n=54) after discharge from the hospital Bayley mental 0.8 (-1.8) development index score at 18 months Bayley mental -1. 2. pre-term formula is recommended until the infant attains a body weight of 2000 g.0) development index score at 18 months Psychomotor 2. It was not possible to provide additional recommendations due to insufficient evidence.3.3.9 (-3.3) development index score at 18 months Cooke et al (246) RCT (LII) Birth weight <1750 g 80% 20% None a If gestational age was not available in the publication.0 (-6. 0 Optimal feeding Of lOw-birth-weight infants: technical review . infants with birth weight <1500 g are assumed to be <32 wk gestation.3. 6. For the nonhuman-milkfed infant.3. those weighing 1501–2000 g to be 32–36 wk gestation. and those weighing 2001–2500 g to have a gestation of 37 weeks or more.for LBW infants.4) development index score at 18 months Psychomotor -1.0 (-4.3 Effect of nutrient-enriched formula compared with standard infant formula on neurodevelopment in LBW infants Study.

1. 3.82) Head circumference 0.38 (cm) at 18 mo (-0.02.1 (-0.5 (-0.45.87. 1. Design (Level of evidence) Inclusion criteria Approximate proportion of participants with gestation agea <32 wk 32–36 wk ≥37 wk Effect measure [95% CI] Difference in means Comparison groups outcome measure Lucas et al (160 ) RCT (LII) Birth weight <1750 g 70% 30% None Infants of mothers choosing not to provide breastmilk allocated to receive postdischarge formula (n=116) compared with infants who were allocated to receive a standard infant formula (n=113) after discharge from the hospital Weight (kg) at 9mo 0.003.37 (0. 0. results  . 3. 0.001 (cm) at 9 mo (-0.4 Effect of nutrient-enriched post-discharge formula compared with standard infant formula on growth outcomes in LBW infants Study.2.1) (cm) at 18 mo Fewtrell et al (161) RCT (LII) Healthy term None infants with birth weights below the 10th centile None 100% 0.1) (cm) at 12 mo Weight (kg) at 18 mo Length (cm) at 18 mo 0.01.094 (-0. 1.45) Length (cm) gain 1.032. infants with birth weight <1500 g are assumed to have <32 wk gestation.63 (0.46) Weight (kg) at 18mo 0.25.9) (cm) gain Enrolment to 18 mo Weight (kg) gain 0.38.3. and those weighing 2001–2500 g to have a gestation of 37 weeks or more.0 (0.1.82 18 mo (-0.05 (0. 2.22 (-0.89) Head circumference 0.87.28) 1.3 (-0.1 (0.13) Carver et al (248) RCT (LII) Pre-term infants <1800 g 100% None None Infants allocated to receive nutrient-enriched formula (n=27) compared with infants allocated to receive a standard infant formula (n=27) from just before hospital discharge to 12 mo age Infants of mothers choosing not to provide breastmilk allocated to receive nutrient-enriched formula (n=49) compared with infants allocated to receive a standard infant formula (n=54) after discharge from the hospital for 6mo Infants allocated to receive nutrient-enriched formula (n=152) compared with infants who were allocated to receive a standard infant formula (n=147) after discharge from the hospital Weight (kg) at 12 mo Length (cm) at 12 mo 0.10 (0.2) Cooke et al (246) RCT (LII) Birth weight <1750 g 80% 20% None Head circumference 0. those weighing 1501–2000 g to have 32–36 wk gestation. 1. 0.90.69) Head circumference -0.26. 0.5 (0.54) Length (cm) gain 1.1.25 (-0.SuMMARy TABLE 2.097) 1.1) Head circumference 0.8) Head circumference 0.1 ( -0.039.66) Length (cm) at 9mo 1. 0. 0. 1. 0.084.44) Length (cm) at 0.1) (cm) gain Enrolment to 9 mo Weight (kg) gain a If gestational age was not available in the publication. 1.26.31. 1.51 (-0. 0.

71. spoon.73. serious morbidity. and feeding difficulties at the time of hospital discharge in LBW infants (32–42 weeks gestation) (251. coordinate and then learn proper attachment and sucking. One Indian study compared cup. reported that infants randomized to cup feeds were more likely to be fully breastfed (with no other types of milk or solids other than breastmilk) on discharge home (odds ratio [OR] 1. or breastfeeding prevalence at discharge or at the 3-month follow-up (253). weight gain. direct expression and bottle feeding. at the time of discharge from hospital or at subsequent follow-ups. which compared the effect of cup feeding with bottle feeding on breastfeeding patterns (see Table 3. and physiological parameters were the outcomes reported in studies that compared different feeding methods. standard infant feeding bottles. growth or malnutrition rates in LBW infants. A possible beneficial effect of cup feeding was 3. 95%CI 1. paladai. FEEDIng METHODS Enteral feeding is defined as the administration of any feed into the gastrointestinal tract and includes intragastric feeding. bottle and paladai feeding  Optimal feeding Of lOw-birth-weight infants: technical review . paladai. feeding problems.1. The prevalence of any breastfeeding was apparently higher in the cup-feeding group compared with the bottle-feeding group at 3 and 6 months. syringe. Only one RCT (Level II evidence) from Australia.3. 253. In this section. Another small RCT showed no differences in the proportion of infants receiving any breastfeeding at discharge between cup-fed and bottle-fed preterm infants. spoon or paladai. spoon. studies that compared these different oral feeding methods are compared.04 to 2. In this section we review the types of enteral feeding options available. standard 10 or 20 ml syringes. but there was a higher prevalence of breastfeeding at 3 months among those who were breastfeeding at the first follow-up visit (253). 257). results Effects on mortality. The studies utilized small medicine cups. and breastfeeding. bottle and paladai feeding on breastfeeding rates.1) (252). insufficient discussion of confounding factors. or a paladai shaped like a small cup with an open spout on one side. Rocha et al reported no significant differences between cup-fed and bottle-fed infants with regard to the time spent in feeding. direct expression) on mortality. (251). bottle. Effects on other important outcomes Breastfeeding rates. The impact of oral feeding on physiological parameters in LBW infants has been reported in four studies (251.92). feeding by cup. 95%CI 0. US and India have reported mixed effects of cup.55 to 0. Intravenous fluids and total parenteral nutrition are not discussed. bottle. No studies were identified that compared spoon feeding or direct expression of breastmilk into the infant’s mouth with other oral feeding methods. Most studies compared cup feeding with bottle feeding. neurodevelopment. neurodevelopment or malnutrition No studies were located which compared the effects of different oral feeding methods (cup. This study did not report the effect on exclusive or full breastfeeding rates. milk volume intake.88). Different forms of enteral and oral feeding have been used during this transition. These studies all had problems with observer and selection biases. but the differences were not statistically significant. Small observational studies (LIII-3 evidence) from the UK. A pre-term infant’s progression to breastfeeding must pass through a number of stages before the infant begins to swallow. and lack of follow-up after hospital discharge. severe morbidity. 256. feeding duration. and had a longer length of stay in hospital (hazard ratio [HR] 0.1 Oral feeding Oral feeding methods discussed below include administration of any feed directly into the oral cavity by a method other than breastfeeding: cup. 254–256).

Lower mean heart rate and oxygen saturations in bottle-fed compared to cup-fed infants were reported in this study. infants with birth weight <1500 g are assumed to be <32 wk gestation. the above findings suggest that cup feeding has some benefits over bottle feeding with regard to achieving full breastfeeding and physiological stability in pre-term infants.78. CF vs. Another US study used a randomized crossover trial in pre-term infants (LII evidence) (257) to receive either 1 cup feed followed by 1 bottle feed.23] OR 1. but all other physiological parameters were not significantly different. which examined the impacts of different oral feeding methods in LBW infants (LIII-3 evidence) (Malhotra et al (251): cup.04. reported small deteriorations in physiological parameters in bottle-fed infants. bottle and paladai. infants fed by cup (n = 151) compared with infants fed by bottle (n = 152) Proportion of infants fully breastfed at hospital discharge Proportion of infants receiving any BF at hospital discharge Proportion of infants receiving any BF at 3 months after discharge Proportion of infants receiving any BF at 6 months after discharge OR 1.3%. and Howard et al (256): cup and bottle).SuMMARy TABLE 3. Design (Level of evidence) Inclusion criteria Approximate proportion of participants with gestation agea <32 wk 32–36 wk ≥37 wk Effect measure [95% CI] Comparison groups outcome measure Collins et al (252) RCT (LII) Gestational age <34 weeks. Overall. The findings are largely based on three RCTs and small observational studies which examined the effect of cup feeding compared to bottle feeding on breastfeeding rates at the time of hospital discharge in pre-term infants. Most of the studies comparing cup feeding with bottle feeding were conducted in developed countries.28) a If gestational age was not available in the publication.31 [0. Some studies. Finally two small observational studies. reported modest benefits of cup feeding on EBF rates at discharge from hospital. including the larger RCT. 2.37 [0. and those weighing 2001–2500 g to have a gestation of 37 weeks or more.77. or 1 bottle feed followed by 1 cup feed when they reached 34 weeks corrected gestational age (there was a minimum of 1 intragastric feeding between the two oral feeding sessions).024).1 Effects of cup feeding compared with bottle feeding on breastfeeding patterns in LBW infants Study. those weighing 1501–2000 g to be 32–36 wk gestation. mother intended to breastfeed 62% 38% None After breastfeeding or when mother unable to be present. no previous cup or bottle feeding.57] Rocha et al (253) (RCT LII) Gestational age 32–36 weeks None 100% None Infants randomized Proportion of infants to cup feeding (n=44) receiving any breastcompared with those feeding at discharge randomized to bottle feeding (n=34) RR 1.1. 2. BF. 2. a lower incidence of desaturation episodes (13.03 (0. Avoidance of bottle feeding results  . P = .81. 1. conclusions and implications None of the available studies examined the effects of different oral feeding methods on mortality.44 [0. neurodevelopment or malnutrition.83.38] OR 1. 2. morbidity.73 [1.38] OR 1. Evidence was insufficient to allow conclusive statements on the safety of the methods.6% versus 35.

neurodevelopment and malnutrition 3. or paladai feeding to breastfeeding. serious morbidity. examined the impacts on physiological parameters as a post-hoc analysis and reported no significant impacts on respiratory distress syndrome.2 Intragastric feeding Intragastric feeding involves the administration of milk feeds through a thin small plastic tube that passes through the nose or mouth directly into the stomach. • Bolus versus continuous intragastric feeding.2). uSe OF naSOGaStric verSuS OrOGaStric tuBeS results Effects on mortality. however. nasogastric tubes partially occlude the nasal passages and may impair respiratory function. recommendations Cup feeding is recommended as a feeding method for sick and LBW infants by WHO and UNICEF. intermittent orogastric or intermittent nasogastric tube feeds (258). Standard practice in many neonatal units is to progress from cup feeding to breastfeeding. growth or malnutrition in LBW infants.2. described above. This is generally before 32 weeks gestation but can extend to 34–35 weeks gestation depending on the developmental maturity of the infant. Greenspan et al examined lung function in a small US study of 39 healthy  Optimal feeding Of lOw-birth-weight infants: technical review . no sample size calculations were performed and the study numbers were small (n=46). from where the milk runs through the tube into the infant’s stomach continuously for 18–24 hours).is likely to have greater benefits in developing countries because of the higher risk of contamination of bottle feeds in these settings. depending on the infant’s weight and gestational age) or a continuous feed (where the tube is attached to a syringe pump. The study of Dsilna et al. However. severe morbidity. No significant differences between orogastric and nasogastric tube feeding on the time to achieve full enteral feeding. The following issues are reviewed below: No studies were located which examined the effects of intragastric tube type on mortality. mechanical ventilation or need for supplemental oxygen (see summary Table 3. 70 Swedish VLBW infants weighing <1200 g (<29 weeks gestation) were randomized to receive continuous nasogastric. Effects on other important outcomes In one RCT (LII evidence). The primary analysis was the comparison between continuous and intermittent/bolus tube feeding. Bottle feeding is not recommended. • Use of nasogastric versus orogastric tubes. or bottle feeding to breastfeeding. A secondary objective was to assess the impact of orogastric versus nasogastric tube feeding on gastrointestinal tolerance and infant behaviour. Nasogastric rather than orogastric tubes appear to be more commonly used in pre-term babies with ≥32 weeks gestation as they are more easily fixed in place. Orogastric tubes may be better for very premature infants who usually have smaller nostrils.2. Considerable skill is required to insert intragastric tubes in small infants. total energy intake or total protein intake were reported. Intragastric feeding is usually provided as either a bolus feeding session (where a calculated amount of milk is poured into the tube over a period of 10–30 minutes every 1–3 hours. The findings from this review support these recommendations. neurodevelopment.1). One RCT (LII evidence) (258) and three descriptive studies (LIV evidence) examined the effects of intragastric tubes in pre-term infants on physiological parameters (259– 261). Intragastric feeding is commonly used in developed countries when infants are too developmentally immature to swallow or coordinate feeds or when more mature LBW infants have associated pathology which might limit oral feeding. which examined the effects of intragastric tubes in pre-term infants on gastrointestinal tolerance (see summary Table 3.

Daga et al examined oxygen saturations during the passage of orogastric and nasogastric tubes and 10–30 minutes after feeds in 10 stable Indian newborns (4 term infants with birth weights >2500 g and 6 pre-term infants of 31–35 weeks gestation) (261). conclusions and implications Overall. 6. 15 had no intragastric tube (260).31. SuMMARy TABLE 3. resistive work of breathing. no differences were detected in nasal resistance and total airway resistance between the two groups.7 enteral feeding (days) [-12. No infant showed clinical compromise after nasogastric and orogastric tube placement. Mean oxygen saturations were significantly lower during the passage of nasogastric compared to orogastric tubes and persisted for up to 30 minutes after feeding.92] Total energy intake (kcal/kg/day) WMD 1 [-9. 11. infants with birth weight <1500 g are assumed to be <32 wk gestation. and peak transpulmonary pressure change) with nasogastric compared to orogastric tube placement.06. those weighing 1501–2000 g to be 32–36 wk gestation. and those weighing 2001–2500 g to have a gestation of 37 weeks or more. Both nasogastric and orogastric feeding tubes are used in neonatal intensive care units. Some units use orogastric rather than nasogastric feeding tubes for very premature infants. nasal resistance and total airway resistance were reported to increase after nasal tubes were inserted into the nostrils of 20 LBW infants <32 weeks gestation (259). Design (Level of evidence) Inclusion criteria Approximate proportion of participants with gestation agea <32 wk 32–36 wk ≥37 wk Effect measure [95% CI] Comparison groups outcome measure Dsilna et al (258) RCT (LII) Birth weight <1200 g.2. There is some evidence that physiological parameters may be worse with nasogastric tube placement in very preterm infants. results  . data on the effect of nasogastric compared with orogastric feeding tubes on clinical outcomes are limited.infants. but infants <2000 g at birth had signs of subclinical pulmonary compromise (diminished minute ventilation. The infants were also assessed one month after removal of the nasogastric (n=20) or orogastric tube (n=20). In a small UK study. increased pulmonary resistance. low respiratory rate. It was not possible to provide additional recommendations due to insufficient evidence. 24 of them had an orogastric or nasogastric tube in situ (14 weighed <2000 g and 10 weighed >2000 g at birth). No studies provided data about potential confounding factors or selection and observer biases. gestation 24–29 weeks 100% None None Nasogastric tube feeding (n=22) compared with orogastric tube feeding (n=24) Time to achieve full WMD -2.06] a If gestational age was not available in the publication. recommendations No consensus statements or expert committee reports were located which recommended orogastric or nasogastric tubes in LBW infants.1 Effects of nasogastric compared with orogastric feeding on feeding patterns in LBW infants Study.

2.2. Effects on severe morbidity – necrotising enterocolitis A meta-analysis of all available RCTs up to the year 2003 (four US trials) (Level I evidence) indicated no significant difference in feeding infants <1500 g with bolus or continuous regimens on proven necrotising enterocolitis (Bells stage II or greater) (262) (see summary Table 3. 265) (see summary Table 3. In three trials there were no differences between groups in the incidence of proven necrotising enterocolitis (263–265) and the fourth trial showed no cases of necrotising enterocolitis in the study infants (see summary Table 3. infants with birth weight <1500 g are assumed to be <32 wk gestation.Summary Table 3.5).3) (266).  Meta-analyses of all available RCTs until 2003 (four US trials) (Level I evidence) indicated no significant differences in feeding infants (birth weights <1500 g) with bolus or continuous regimens on growth parameters (see summary Table 3. and those weighing 2001–2500 g to have a gestation of 37 weeks or more. On the other hand.53] RR 1.4). Effects on other important outcomes Three RCTs were located which reported the impact of feeding infants <1500 g on respiratory complications such as apnoea. Silvestre et al reported that only infants in the intermittent feeding group (750–999 g weight category) had feedings withheld due to recurrent Optimal feeding Of lOw-birth-weight infants: technical review . those weighing 1501–2000 g to be 32–36 wk gestation.3). no sample size calculations were performed and the study numbers were small (n=68).2. respiratory distress syndrome and the need for ventilatory support (Level II evidence) (258. 265.91. Dsilna et al reported that only two infants in the continuous group and one infant in the bolus feeding group developed necrotising enterocolitis. BOluS verSuS cOntinuOuS intraGaStric FeedinG results Effects on mortality with no significant differences between the two groups.2. Dsilna et al randomized 70 Swedish VLBW infants <1200 g (<29 weeks gestation) to receive continuous nasogastric or intermittent orogastric or intermittent nasogastric tube feeding (258) (Table 3. 1. 264. however.09 [0.2.88] a If gestational age was not available in the publication. Design (Level of evidence) Inclusion criteria Approximate proportion of participants with gestation agea <32 wk 32–36 wk ≥37 wk Effect measure [95% CI] Comparison groups outcome measure Dsilna et al (258) RCT (LII) Birth weight <1200 g. One additional study was published after the meta-analysis (258). gestation 24–29 weeks 100% None None Nasogastric tube feeding (n = 22) compared with orogastric tube feeding (n = 24) Respiratory distress syndrome Need for mechanical ventilatory support RR 1.31 [0.77.2.2 Effects of nasogastric compared with orogastric feeding on physiological parameters in LBW infants Study. 266).2. All other trials demonstrated no significant difference in growth (263. Schanler et al demonstrated a trend towards increased number of apnoeic episodes during the study period in infants fed by continuous feeding method (264).3). 1. Dsilna et al also reported no significant impacts on the time to regain birth weight or lower limb growth in VLBW infants (Table 3. No studies examining the impacts on malnutrition and standard deviation scores were located and no studies reporting outcomes in infants >1500 g were located.4) (262). Only one RCT demonstrated slower weight gain among the continuously fed infants (264). Effects on malnutrition No studies were located which examined the effects of bolus and continuous intragastric feeding on mortality in LBW infants. The primary analysis was to compare continuous and intermittent/bolus tube feeding.

apnoea (data not provided) (265). a recent study by Dsilna et al reported that continuously fed VLBW infants achieved full enteral feeding significantly faster than the intermittently fed infants (adjusted hazard ratio [HR] 1.13. On the other hand. A meta-analysis of four US trials (Level I evidence) also reported that infants took significantly longer to reach full enteral feeds when fed by the continuous tube feeding method compared to bolus feeding (262). conclusions and implications The findings of this section are based on metaanalyses or large RCTs performed in the US or the UK in infants who weighed <1500 g at birth.22).07 to 3. the clinical risks and benefits of continuous and bolus nasogastric tube feeding of milk cannot be reliably discerned from the current available evidence because of the small sample sizes and inconsistencies in controlling the variables that affect the outcomes. results  . 266). These infants do not routinely require intragastric feeding. All studies were conducted in developed countries. Infants reached full enteral feeds sooner when fed by intermittent bolus tube feeding. and Dsilna et al reported no differences between the two groups on the need for mechanical ventilatory or continuous positive airway pressure support (258). bolus feeding requires only a gastric tube and monitoring of individual feeds which may be more feasible in these settings.48 to 11. However. Term LBW infants (or birth weights >2000 g if gestation is not available) There are no data for this group of infants comparing continuous with bolus intragastric feeding. which is often not possible in many maternity wards or neonatal units. 95%CI 1. No studies reporting outcomes in infants >1500 g were located. No difference was reported in the one trial that was designed to detect outcome on the number of days to full oral feeds (264). However. The findings from this review support these recommendations. Nutrient losses from human milk during tube feeding have been determined from laboratory models. recommendations No consensus statements or expert committee reports were located which examined the role of bolus or continuous feeding in LBW infants. Infants 32–36 weeks gestation (or birth weights 1500–2000 g if gestation is not available) There are no data for this group of infants comparing continuous with bolus intragastric feeding. Fat and protein losses can occur and continuous feeding has been reported to result in significantly greater losses than bolus feeding (267–269). There is some evidence that continuous feeding could result in loss of some nutrients that stick to the syringe pump and tube. no conclusions can be made about other advantages or disadvantages.86. the improvement was even more pronounced in the smallest infants. those with birth weights ≤850 g (adjusted HR 4.53). In a stratified analysis according to birth weight. Standard practice in many neonatal units is to use bolus feeding in infants (<1500 g at birth) with a gastric tube. An additional issue in developing countries is that continuous feeding requires a syringe pump and frequent monitoring. 265. 95%CI 1. Infants <32 weeks gestation (or birth weights <1500 g if gestation is not available) Impacts were variable in these infants but there is some evidence that bolus feeding can reduce the time to full enteral feeding. and no difference was reported in three RCTs on rates of feeding tolerance (263.

1.96 [0. 0. those weighing 1501–2000 g to be 32–36 wk gestation. 1.1 [0.49.SuMMARy TABLE 3.3 Effects of continuous feeding compared with bolus feeding on necrotising enterocolitis in LBW infants Study.2. and those weighing 2001–2500 g to have a gestation of 37 weeks or more. 0.03] WMD -0.7] If gestational age was not available in the publication.4 Effects of continuous feeding compared with bolus feeding on growth outcomes in LBW infants Study.18 [0. SuMMARy TABLE 3. infants with birth weight <1500 g are assumed to be <32 wk gestation. from birth to 36 weeks postmenstrual age (mm/day) WMD -0. those weighing 1501–2000 g to be 32–36 wk gestation.08 [0. from birth to 32 weeks postmenstrual age (mm/day) Growth rate of the lower leg.  Optimal feeding Of lOw-birth-weight infants: technical review .13] a If gestational age was not available in the publication.6] WMD -1.1 [-2. 0. infants with birth weight <1500 g are assumed to be <32 wk gestation. Design (Level of evidence) Inclusion criteria Approximate proportion of participants with gestation agea <32 wk 32–36 wk ≥37 wk Effect measure [95% CI] Comparison groups outcome measure Premji et al Birth weight (262) <1500 g Meta-analysis of 4 RCTs (LI) Dsilna et al (258) RCT (LII) a 100% None None Continuous feeding (n=192) compared with bolus feeding (n=192) Continuous feeding (n=22) compared with bolus feeding (n=46) Proven necrotising enterocolitis Bell’s stage II or greater Proven necrotising enterocolitis Bell’s stage II or greater RR 0.03.04. 43.78.1 [-2.3.15. gestation 24-29 weeks 100% None None Continuous feeding (n=192) compared with bolus feeding (n=192) Continuous feeding (n=22) compared with bolus feeding (n=46 Days to regain birth weight Weight gain g/kg/day Time to regain birth weight (days) Growth rate of the lower leg. and those weighing 2001–2500 g to have a gestation of 37 weeks or more. gestation 24–29 weeks 100% None None RR 4.6 [-1.500 g Meta-analysis of 4 RCTs (LI) Dsilna et al (258) RCT (LII) Birth weight <1200 g.16] 100% None None WMD 0. 0. Design (Level of evidence) Inclusion criteria Approximate proportion of participants with gestation agea <32 wk 32–36 wk ≥37 wk Effect measure [95% CI] Comparison groups outcome measure Premji et al Birth weight (262) <1.40.2.90] Birth weight <1200 g.95] WMD 0.

results  . 1. However. infants with birth weight <1500 g are assumed to be <32 wk gestation. However.5 Effects of continuous compared with bolus feeding on respiratory complications in LBW infants Study. 1.11 [0. and one trial which compared trophic feedings with advanced feedings. those weighing 1501–2000 g to be 32–36 wk gestation. trOPhic FeedinG Or MiniMal enteral nutritiOn results A recently updated systematic review and meta-analysis (271) summarized 10 trials of trophic feedings compared with no feedings in pre-term infants <33 weeks gestation.44] RR 0.85. with parenteral nutrition providing the remainder of the infant’s nutrient needs. and early hypocaloric feeding) is utilized commonly in developed countries and is defined as any enteral milk feed in the first few days of life in subnutritional quantities (e.2. and those weighing 2001–2500 g to have a gestation of 37 weeks or more.2.2] WMD -0. Practice differs considerably in developed and developing countries. 28.0 [-0.99.g. 5–10 ml/kg/day on the first day). beginning on day 1 with volumes of 5–10 ml/kg/day. In developing countries. It has been suggested that trophic feeding can promote gut development and reduce the time to enteral and breastfeeding without the potential complications of high-volume feeding (270). 0. oral feeding and direct breastfeeding are also considered. the optimal timing of initiation of enteral feeding in infants <32 weeks gestation has been disputed.68.79] RR 1. Trophic feeding or minimal enteral nutrition (also known as low-volume enteral feeding. This section reviews the evidence for: • trophic feeding or minimal enteral nutrition. other health practitioners commence enteral feeding on day 2. FEEDIng SCHEDuLES 4. Intragastric feeding. Design (Level of evidence) Inclusion criteria Approximate proportion of participants with gestation agea <32 wk 32–36 wk ≥37 wk outcome measure Effect measure [95% CI] Comparison groups Schanler et al (264) RCT (LII) Toce et al (266) RCT (LII) Dsilna et al (258) RCT (LII) Birth weight <1500 g Birth weight <1500 g Birth weight <1200 g.SuMMARy TABLE 3. gut priming. • initiation of ‘maintenance’ enteral feeding on day 1 with volumes >40ml/kg/ day.6 [-1. after the infants have been assessed to be stable and not developing respiratory distress syndrome.33] 100% None None Continuous feeding (n=30) Mean episodes compared with bolus feeding of apnoea/day (n=23) Continuous feeding (n=22) Respiratory compared with bolus feeding distress (n=46) syndrome Need for mechanical ventilatory support 100% None None a If gestational age was not available in the publication.1 Initiation of enteral feeding Milk feeding is generally initiated in stable infants >32 weeks gestation in the first 24 hours of life. 4.95 [0. gestation 24–29 weeks 100% None None Continuous feeding (n=86) compared with bolus feeding (n=85) Mean episodes of apnoea/day WMD 14. total parenteral nutrition (TPN) has limited application and many clinicians put LBW infants on maintenance enteral feeds as quickly as possible on day 1.

Effects on malnutrition interval does not exclude an important increase in the risk of necrotising enterocolitis which could potentially outweigh any short. All infants received supplemental intravenous fluids or parenteral feeds.Effects on mortality and neurodevelopment No studies were located which examined the impact on mortality or neurodevelopment. but this group also had a higher incidence of necrotising enterocolitis although the difference was not statistically significant. initiatiOn OF ‘Maintenance’ enteral FeedinG results Effects on mortality conclusions and implications The findings of this section are based on metaanalyses of RCTs from developed countries.7). No study examined the impact on standard deviation scores or malnutrition rates.44).12). A number of trials were conducted at this time to compare the effects of initiation of maintenance nasogastric feeds with no feeding on day 1 of life.44 days among infants in the trophic-feeding group (95%CI 5. the pooled effect on the number of days to regain birth weight was not significantly different in the trophicfeeding and no-feeding groups (WMD –0.75 to 1. Nine studies (617 participants) included in the meta-analysis by Tyson et al (271) examined the role of trophic feeding on the number of days to reach full enteral feeding. intravenous infusions were technologically not feasible for newborn infants and there was disagreement regarding the best time to administer full maintenance enteral fluids.or longterm benefits of trophic feedings. Other important outcomes recommendations No consensus statements or expert committee reports were located which examined the role of trophic feedings in LBW infants. the results are thus difficult to extrapolate to developing country settings where administration of intravenous fluids may not be available.1 (Level III-3 evidence and above) (272–274). Key studies include three trials from the US and UK in LBW infants. This review was unable to provide additional recommendations due to insufficient evidence. 95%CI 0. The intravenous group received 65 ml/kg of 10% glucose intravenously for the first 24 hours of life and 75–85 ml/kg of 5% Optimal feeding Of lOw-birth-weight infants: technical review . However.99 to 4.1.7 to 17.32 to 0.79) (271). The duration of hospital stay was shorter by 11. The WMD in number of days to reach full enteral feeding was lower by 2. Effects on severe morbidity – necrotising enterocolitis A meta-analysis of nine studies with 650 participants showed no significant difference in the incidence of necrotising enterocolitis among infants given trophic feedings or no feedings. In eight studies with 590 participants. Trophic feeding resulted in significant benefits in both these outcomes. the 95% confidence 0 In the early 1960s. which are summarized in Table 4.16. Standard practice in some neonatal units is to provide trophic feedings in infants weighing <1500 g at birth in addition to total parenteral nutrition.44 days. The studies included in the meta-analyses were heterogeneous and subject to observer and diagnostic surveillance bias. 95%CI –1. Significantly less time to reach full enteral feeding was reported by the meta-analysis in the trophic-feeding group.55 days in the trophic feeding group (95%CI 0. and six studies (370 participants) examined the duration of hospital stay. although the findings do not exclude an important effect (RR 1. Cornblath et al randomized pre-term <1500 g infants into three groups who received different feeding regimens for the first 72 hours of life (272). All studies were performed in pre-term infants <33 weeks gestation and even the meta-analysis had a limited sample size.

glucose in 0.22% saline from 48 to 72 hours. The second group received nasogastric feeds of 60 ml/kg of 10% glucose in 12 equal feedings on day 1 and 80 ml/kg of 5% glucose in 0.22% saline in 8 equal feedings from 48 to 72 hours. The third group received no food or fluids on day 1 of life and enteral feedings (nasogastric glucose and half-strength formula) from 48 to 72 hours with ‘the timing depending on the condition of the infant’. Wharton and Bower randomized all infants <2250 g at birth to receive either early enteral feeds (starting within 4 hours of birth at 30 ml/kg on day 1 and progressing to 45 ml/ kg on day 2, 60 ml/kg on day 3, and 75 ml/ kg on day 4) or small-volume later enteral feeds (starting at 12–16 hours after birth at 8 ml/kg on day 1 and progressing to 16 ml/kg on day 2, 24 ml/kg on day 3, and 30 ml/kg on day 4) (273). The enteral feeds were undiluted breastmilk for infants <2000 g and half-cream evaporated milk for infants >2000 g. No intravenous fluids were provided and infants were fed 1–3 hourly depending on tolerance. Smallpeice and Davies examined the impact of early feeding of human milk in 111 infants from 1000–2000 g admitted to the Radcliffe Infirmary in Oxford (274). These infants were fed within 2 hours of birth with 60 ml/kg on day 1 and progressed to 90 ml/kg on day 2, 120 ml/kg on day 3 and 150 ml/kg on day 4. Infants were fed 1–3 hourly depending on tolerance. Smallpeice and Davies also included ‘comparison observations’ made during the same 17-month period in infants who were born in the Churchill Hospital, Oxford. These infants were not fed until 4–32 hours after birth. While the majority of these infants had some feed during the first 24 hours, the amount and rate of increase over the 4 days was considerably less than in the Radcliffe group. No additional details were provided. Cornblath et al reported lower mortality in the infants given IV fluids but no difference in death rates between the enterally fed infants and those given no food or fluids on the first day of life. Smallpeice and Davies also reported no significant difference between early and late enterally fed groups. However, Wharton and

Bower reported a significant increase in mortality in the early enteral feeding group, compared to those fed smaller volumes from 12 to 16 hours. It is important to note that all these studies had major design flaws, including small sample sizes in all studies (272–274) and use of controls from a different hospital in one study (274) . Infants who became unwell during the study by Wharton and Bower were excluded. No studies were located which examined the impacts of early initiation of oral feeding in term LBW infants.
Effects on malnutrition

Only two studies reported on the impact of early nasogastric feeding on growth parameters in LBW infants (Level III-3 evidence and above) (see summary Table 4.1.2) (272, 274). Smallpeice and Davies indicated that there was a significant improvement in the time to regain birth weight in the early feeding group among infants 1000–2000 g at birth, but Cornbath reported no significant difference in mean weight gain. No study reported on malnutrition rates or standard deviation scores and no studies were located which examined the impacts of early initiation of oral feeding or breastfeeding in term LBW infants.
Effects on other important outcomes

Three studies reported on the impact of early nasogastric feeding on hypoglycaemia and hyperbilirubinaemia in LBW infants (Level III-3 evidence and above) (see summary Table 4.1.3) (272–274). Mixed results were reported. No studies were located which examined the impacts of early initiation of oral feeding or breastfeeding in LBW infants, compared with delayed feeding.

conclusions and implications
Limited data are available from small trials during the 1960s in developed countries which examined the impact of early nasogastric feeding in pre-term infants. No study examined the role of early initiation of oral feeding or breastfeeding in infants with birth weights >2000 g. All studies had important design

results 

flaws. The available results indicate that very pre-term infants may benefit from administration of intravenous fluids and avoidance of full enteral feeds on the first day of life. There are no studies from developing country settings, where administration of intravenous fluids in all health facilities is less feasible and could be associated with higher risks.

recommendations
No policy statements from international or national organizations were located which

examined the role of early initiation of ‘maintenance’ enteral feeding in the first 24 hours of life in infants <1500 g. Many neonatal units withhold enteral feeds in the first 24 hours of life in all infants <1500 g and give them intravenous fluids. Other units provide small enteral feeds to stable pre-term infants >1200 g on day 1 and monitor them closely. This review was unable to provide additional recommendations due to insufficient evidence.

SuMMARy TABLE 4.1.1 Effects of initiation of maintenance enteral feeds in the first 24 hours of life on mortality rates
Study, Design (Level of evidence) Inclusion criteria Approximate proportion of participants with gestation agea <32 wk 32–36 wk ≥37 wk outcome measure Effect measure [95% CI]

Comparison groups

Cornblath et al (272) RCT (LII)

Birth weight <1500 g

100%

None

None

60 ml/kg enteral glucose in the first 24 hours (n=30) compared with no food or fluids for the first 24 hours (n=30) 60 ml/kg enteral glucose in the first 24 hours (n=30) compared with intravenous 10% glucose 65 ml/kg in the first 24 hours (n=30)

Mortality rate by day 14

RR 1.00 [0.60, 1.66]

Mortality rate by day 14

RR 1.67 [0.87, 3.2]

Wharton & Bower (273) RCT (LII)

Birth weight <2250 g

22%

56%

22%

Enteral milk feeds from 2–4 hours of birth, 30 ml/kg on day 1, increased to 75 ml/kg/day by day 4 (n=108) compared with enteral feeds started after 12–16 hours, 8 ml/kg/day increased to 30 ml/kg/day by day 4 (n = 116) Enteral milk feeds 60 ml/kg on the first day started from 2 hours of birth (n=111) compared to lower volume enteral feeds started after 4–32 hours of birth (n=45)

Mortality rate at hospital discharge

RR 2.93 [1.29, 6.67]

Smallpeice Birth weight & Davies between 1000 (274) and 2000 g Double cohort (LIII-3)
a

34%

66%

None

Mortality rate by day 28

RR 0.91 [0.51, 1.64]

If gestational age was not available in the publication, infants with birth weight <1500 g are assumed to have <32 wk gestation, those weighing 1501–2000 g to have 32–36 wk gestation, and those weighing 2001–2500 g to have a gestation of 37 weeks or more. 

Optimal feeding Of lOw-birth-weight infants: technical review

SuMMARy TABLE 4.1.2 Effects of initiation of maintenance enteral feeds in the first 24 hours of life on growth outcomes in LBW infants
Study, Design (Level of evidence) Inclusion criteria Approximate proportion of participants with gestation agea <32 wk 32–36 wk ≥37 wk Effect measure [95% CI]

Comparison groups

outcome measure

Cornblath et al (272) (LII)

Birth weight <1500 g

100%

None

None

60 ml/kg enteral Mean weight loss glucose in the first from 72–87 hours 24 hours (n=30) compared with no food or fluids for the first 24 hours (n=30)

MD 0.2 [sd not available]

a

If gestational age was not available in the publication, infants with birth weight <1500 g are assumed to be <32 wk gestation, those weighing 1501–2000 g to be 32–36 wk gestation, and those weighing 2001–2500 g to have a gestation of 37 weeks or more.

SuMMARy TABLE 4.1.3 Key studies which examine the effects of initiation of maintenance enteral feeds in the first 24 hours of life on biochemical measures in LBW infants
Study, Design (Level of evidence) Inclusion criteria Approximate proportion of participants with gestation agea <32 wk 32–36 wk ≥37 wk Effect measure [95% CI]

Comparison groups

outcome measure

Cornblath et al (272) RCT (LII)

Birth weight <1500 g

100%

None

None

60 ml/kg enteral glucose in the first 24 hours (n=30) compared with no food or fluids for the first 24 hours (n=30) Enteral milk feeds from 2–4 hours of birth, 30 ml/kg on day 1, increased to 75 ml/kg/day by day 4 (n=108) compared with enteral feeds started after 12–16 hours, 8 ml/kg/day increased to 30 ml/ kg/day by day 4 (n=116) Enteral milk feeds 60 ml/kg on the first day started from 2 hours of birth (n=111) compared to lower volume enteral feeds started after 4–32 hours of birth (n=45)

Bilirubin concenMD -1.8 tration (mg/100 ml) [-2.6, -1.0] at 72–87 hours of age Bilirubin concenMD -7.0 tration (mg/100 ml) [-10.3, -3.68] at 72–87 hours of age Hyperbilirubinaemia by hospital discharge (bilirubin concentration >15 mg/100ml) Hypoglycaemia by hospital discharge (blood glucose <20 mg/100 ml) RR 0.23 [0.03, 1.96]

Wharton & Bower (273) RCT (LIII-1)

Birth weight <2500 g

22%

56%

22%

RR 0.11 [0.01, 2.09]

Smallpeice & Davies (274) RCT (LIII-3)

Birth weight 1000– 2000 g

34%

66%

None

Hyperbilirubinaemia by hospital discharge (bilirubin concentration >15 mg/100ml)

RR 0.23 [0.13, 0.40]

a

If gestational age was not available in the publication, infants with birth weight <1500 g are assumed to be <32 wk gestation, those weighing 1501–2000 g to be 32–36 wk gestation, and those weighing 2001–2500 g to have a gestation of 37 weeks or more.

results 

The impact on rates of malnutrition was not reported.2). • feeding frequencies and intervals.2. We then consider feeding in the second week of life.03) (relative risk 7. One trial in VLBW infants (mean gestational age 28 weeks). while others increase the feeds slowly to reduce the risk of aspiration and feed intolerance.1. • demand or scheduled feeding. when to change from 1. who were given TPN for the first 10 days of life. Effects on malnutrition results Effects on mortality and neurodevelopment No studies were located which examined the impact of enteral feeding progression on mortality rates or neurodevelopment in LBW infants. risk difference 8.  Optimal feeding Of lOw-birth-weight infants: technical review .2. Effects on serious morbidity – necrotising enterocolitis A meta-analysis (275) of all available RCTs till year 2003 examined the impacts on necrotising enterocolitis (Level I evidence). All trials provided infants with intravenous fluids in addition to enteral feeds.2 Progression and scheduling of enteral feeding Scheduling of feeds is also a matter of some controversy.2. raPid verSuS SlOw PrOGreSSiOn OF enteral FeedinG durinG the FirSt week OF liFe This section examines the trials that compared the clinical impacts of different enteral fluid volume advancement rates in the first week of life (slow versus fast enteral feeding progression).9 to 56. No trial was located that examined the impact in infants who did not receive intravenous fluids. In these trials there were no differences between groups in the incidence of proven necrotising enterocolitis. In three US trials (276–278). Another trial in 2004 randomized infants of birth weight 1000–2000 g to receive 30 ml/kg/day (rapid) or 20 ml/kg/day (slow advancement) (see summary Table 4. one-sided Fischer exact test value 0. The trial was stopped early because of the larger number of cases of necrotising enterocolitis in the group assigned to advancing feeding volumes (7 vs. but the difference was not statistically significant.6%. compared trophic feedings (20 ml/kg/day for 10 days after initiation of feeds) with advancing the feeds (starting with 20 ml/kg/day and increasing every day by 20 ml/kg/day until 140 ml/kg/day)(280). 95%CI 1% to 16. This section examines how much and how frequently to feed LBW infants. The following issues are considered below: • rapid versus slow progression of enteral feeding. Caple et al reported in a later trial that infants in the 30 ml/kg/day rapid advancement group regained the birth weight faster (Table 4. the infants were provided This meta-analysis (275) examined the impacts on growth rates (Level I evidence) of the above three US trials (276–278). but the confidence intervals were wide. • volume of enteral feeds in the second week of life. A significantly lower number of days to regain birth weight was detected in those infants who received rapid feeding progression (see summary Table 4. 3 and 4-hourly feeding regimens).2) (279). 95%CI 0. We first review how feeds from day 1 to day 7 should be managed and if the daily feeding volumes should be increased rapidly or slowly. 1.1). This trial reported that three infants in the intervention group and two in the control group developed necrotising enterocolitis.1%). 2. Some clinicians advocate rapid progression. with supplemental intravenous glucose or total parenteral nutrition (TPN). and when an infant should be given demand feeding. The meta-analysis demonstrated no significant effect of varying the rate (10–35 ml/kg/day) of feed advancement in infants <2000 g from day 2 to 7 on proven necrotising enterocolitis (Bell’s stage II or greater) (see summary Table 4.4.2.e. examining the evidence on frequencies and intervals (i.2.1) (279).

2) (279). In infants 1000–1500 g. This review supports these recommendations. Caple et al also reported that infants in the 30 ml/kg/day rapid advancement group had a reduced time to reach full enteral feeds (see summary Table 4.Effects on other important outcomes This meta-analysis (275) also examined the impacts on time to reach full enteral feeds (Level I evidence) of the same three US trials (276–278) (see Table 4. The results show that fast rates of advancement of feeding (up to 35 ml/ kg/day) may shorten the time to reach full enteral feeds and may increase weight gain but may increase the risk of necrotizing enterocolitis in infants of <32 weeks gestation. Fluids are commonly provided at 60 ml/kg/day on day 1. recommendations No policy statements from international or national organizations were located which examined the role of rapid progression of enteral feeding in LBW infants or enteral fluid rates or feeding regimens in LBW infants. Berseth et al reported that advancing the feeds reduced the time to reach full enteral feeding (shorter by 13.2.2. these infants are more robust and should accept rapid feeding regimens better than the more immature infants. However. with daily stepwise increments of up to 20 ml/kg/day for pre-term infants.4 days. The studies included in the meta-analyses were heterogeneous and subject to observer and diagnostic surveillance bias. One RCT in pre-term infants results  . Term LBW infants (or birth weights >2000 g if gestation is not available) conclusions and implications The findings of this section are based on metaanalyses of RCTs from developed countries and two subsequently published RCTs. Infants 32–36 weeks gestation (or birth weights 1500–2000 g if gestation is not available) Only 20% of infants in the studies included in the meta-analyses were of this gestation period and thus it is difficult to draw any conclusions for this group. Many units use developmental and clinical cues and gastric aspirates to decide on progression of feeds. However. Infants <32 weeks gestation (or birth weights <1500 g if gestation is not available) No data were available for this subgroup.3) and concluded that rapid progression of feed advancement significantly reduced the time to reach full enteral feeds. All the infants received supplemental intravenous fluids or parenteral feeds so that the results are difficult to extrapolate to developing country settings where administration of intravenous fluids may not be feasible. but the wide confidence intervals do not exclude an important effect on necrotising enterocolitis. 95%CI 8. Some units use a slower feeding progression (≤10 ml/kg/ day for the first few days) for pre-term infants with birth weights <1200 g. The limited information on safety suggests that rapid progression may be safe. these infants are developmentally mature and should tolerate full demand feeding from day 1 or 2.2 to 18. rapid progression of enteral feeding decreases the time to regain birth weight and may reduce the time till full enteral feeding. There is limited information regarding safety (broad confidence intervals for incidence of necrotising enterocolitis) and the effect on length of hospital stay. with mean birth weight about 1000 g showed a higher risk of necrotizing enterocolitis even with “slow” progression of feeding (20 ml/kg/ day) as compared to trophic feedings.6) (280).

73 enterocolitis [0. and those weighing 2001–2500 g to have a gestation of 37 weeks or more.2. -3. and those weighing 2001–2500 g to have a gestation of 37 weeks or more.1 birth weight [-1. those weighing 1501–2000 g to be 32–36 wk gestation.1 [0. 0.  Optimal feeding Of lOw-birth-weight infants: technical review . 1. 56.77] enterocolitis (Bell’s stage II or greater) Necrotising RR 1. infants with birth weight <1500 g are assumed to be <32 wk gestation.1 Effects of rapid compared with slow fluid progression on necrotising enterocolitis in LBW infants Study.SuMMARy TABLE 4. SuMMARy TABLE 4.9. those weighing 1501–2000 g to be 32–36 wk gestation. Design (Level of evidence) Inclusion criteria Approximate proportion of participants with gestation agea <32 wk 32–36 wk ≥37 wk outcome measure Effect measure [95% CI] Comparison groups Kennedy & Birth weight Tyson (275) <2000 g Meta-analysis of 3 RCTs (LI) Caple et al (279 ) RCT (LII) Birth weight 1000-2000 g 80% 20% None Feeding volumes increased by 20–35 ml/kg/day (n=171) compared with feeding volumes increased by 10–20 ml/kg/day (n=191) Feeding volumes increased by 30ml/kg/day (n=72) compared with feeding volumes increased by 20ml/ kg/day (n=83) Feeding volumes increased by 20 ml/kg/day (n=72) compared with feeding volumes not increased for 10 days (n=77) Proven RR 0.0] 80% 20% None Days to regain MD -5 birth weight [-8.0. given total parenteral nutrition for irst 10 days of life None None a If gestational age was not available in the publication.46.2] 80% 20% None Berseth et al (280 ) RCT (LII) Birth weight 100% <1500 g.90 necrotising [0. 10.3.5. infants with birth weight <1500 g are assumed to be <32 wk gestation.0] a If gestational age was not available in the publication.2.06] (Bell’s stage IIA or greater) Necrotizing enterocolitis RR 7.2 Effects of rapid compared with slow fluid progression on growth outcomes in LBW infants Study. Design (Level of evidence) Inclusion criteria Approximate proportion of participants with gestation agea <32 wk 32–36 wk ≥37 wk outcome measure Effect measure [95% CI] Comparison groups Kennedy & Birth weight Tyson (275) <2000 g Meta-analysis of 3 RCTs (LI) Caple et al RCT (LII) Birth weight 1000–2000 g 78% 22% None Feeding volumes increased by 20–35 ml/kg/day (n=156) compared with feeding volumes increased by 10–20 ml/kg/day (n=179) Feeding volumes increased by 30 ml/kg/day (n=72) compared with feeding volumes increased by 20 ml/kg/day (n=83) Days to regain WMD -2.

This trial reported variable short-term impacts on different outcomes and no long-term impact on growth parameters at 1 year of age. However.0] a If gestational age was not available in the publication. serious morbidity. Overall. Feed FrequencieS and intervalS results Effects on mortality.SuMMARy TABLE 4.1. Effects on malnutrition One Australian RCT (Level II evidence) was located which compared the impacts of two different feeding regimens (150 ml/kg/day compared to 200 ml/kg/day) from the time full enteral feeds were tolerated at day 7–14 in infants <30 weeks gestation (281). No studies were located which examined the impact of feeding in the second week of life on mortality. or neurodevelopment in LBW infants. serious morbidity. -1. recommendations No policy statements from international or national organizations were located which provided recommendations for feeding beyond the first week of life in LBW infants. neurodevelopment or malnutrition No RCTs or observational studies were located which examined the impact of feeding frequencies or intervals on mortality.4] feeds 80% 20% None Time to reach Difference in full enteral medians feeds -3. and those weighing 2001–2500 g to have a gestation of 37 weeks or more. Feeds are commonly provided in neonatal units in the second week of life in increments until 180– 200 ml/kg/day of fluid intake is reached. -2. no implications can be drawn for infants of particular gestational ages or birth weights. infants with birth weight <1500 g are assumed to be <32 wk gestation. those weighing 1501–2000 g to be 32–36 wk gestation.2 days full enteral [-4. No information regarding the timing of initiation of demand feeding or hospital discharge was reported in this study.0.0 days [-3. Daily weight gains and weights and arm fat area at 35 weeks were significantly higher in the high volume compared to the low volume group.2. vOluMe OF enteral FeedS in the SecOnd week OF liFe results Effects on mortality. It was not possible to provide additional recommendations due to insufficient evidence. serious results  . serious morbidity or neurodevelopment conclusions and implications Only one small RCT was located which compared the administration of different daily fluid volumes in the second week of life in infants who were <30 weeks gestation at birth (Level II evidence). Impacts on malnutrition or weight-for-age standard deviation scores were not reported. there was no difference in length or head circumference at 35 weeks and no difference in any growth parameter at 1 year of age.3 Effects of rapid compared with slow fluid progression on time to reach full enteral feeds in LBW infants Study. Design (Level of evidence) Inclusion criteria Approximate proportion of participants with gestation agea <32 wk 32–36 wk ≥37 wk outcome measure Effect measure [95% CI] Comparison groups Kennedy & Birth weight Tyson (275) <2000 g Meta-analysis of 3 RCTs (LI) Caple et al RCT (LII) Birth weight 1000–2000 g 78% 22% None Feeding volumes increased by 20–35 ml/kg/day (n=156) compared with feeding volumes increased by 10–20 ml/kg/day (n=179) Feeding volumes increased by 30 ml/kg/day (n=72) compared with feeding volumes increased by 20 ml/kg/day (n=83) Time to reach WMD -3.

Trials from the 1980s and early 1990s were better described.morbidity. demand feeding initially requires more monitoring and training as feeding and hunger cues in LBW infants must be detected by health professionals and care is needed with weight monitoring. The studies employed a variety of research methods including non-experimental. Feeding intervals are then extended on an individual basis depending on feed tolerance. recommendations No policy statements from international or national organizations were located which examined the timing of demand feeding in  Optimal feeding Of lOw-birth-weight infants: technical review . gastric aspirates and physiological stability. Effects on other important outcomes deMand Or Scheduled FeedinG results Effects on mortality. Only one case series was located and demonstrated that increasing the feed interval on a weekly basis can be well tolerated in LBW infants (270). No studies were located which examined the influence that the timing of demand feeding may have on mortality. 3-hourly for infants 1500– 2000 g. All studies had methodologic weaknesses and most analyses also suffered from a significant lack of statistical power. 3-hourly for infants 1500– 2000 g. and experimental designs. Standard practice in many neonatal units is to commence feeding 4-hourly for infants >2000 g. Overall. and hourly in infants <1000 g. and hourly in infants <1000 g were well tolerated. An integrated review of eight studies evaluated the impact of demand feeding in pre-term infants (283–290). It was not possible to provide additional recommendations due to insufficient evidence. however. It may be advantageous to start demand feeding as early as possible in developing countries because of the costs and risks of prolonged hospitalization. no comparative studies were available to allow decisions to be made about the safest or most effective regimens. These describe the safe implementation of standard regimens as monitored by biochemical and physiological outcomes. Evidence for increasing feed intervals is even less well documented. promoted biochemical stability. or malnutrition in LBW infants. neurodevelopment or malnutrition Only case series and descriptive studies were located which examined outcomes such as feed tolerance and biochemical measures (Level IV evidence) (270. However. the integrated review indicated that pre-term infants who were fed on demand had a shorter duration of hospitalization and had weight gains that were equivalent to or greater than non-demand-fed infants. 282). quasi-experimental. no implications can be drawn for infants of particular gestational ages or birth weights. The earliest studies are difficult to interpret due to inadequate sample sizes and incomplete descriptions of methodology. serious morbidity. conclusions and implications There is limited evidence that demand feeding of LBW infants reduces the duration of hospitalization. 2-hourly for infants 1000–1500 g. 2-hourly for infants 1000–1500 g. Overall. and produced minimal gastric aspirates. However. serious morbidity. recommendations No policy statements from international or national organizations were located which examined the frequency of feeding in LBW infants. their interventions were facilitator-dependent and difficult to replicate. No implications can be drawn for infants of particular gestational ages or birth weights. neurodevelopment or malnutrition in LBW infants. Effects on other important outcomes conclusions and implications Only case series and descriptive studies were located in this section. These studies indicated that feeding regimens such as 4-hourly feeds for infants >2000 g.

one was a multi-centre study from Ethiopia. Kangaroo mother care (KMC) was first described in the late 1970s as an alternative to the conventional contemporary method of care for LBW infants. and the other was a larger trial from Colombia. frequent and exclusive breastfeeding. Standard practice in many neonatal units is to progress to demand feed- ing when infants can tolerate 3–4 hourly feeds. interrelated needs for the LBW infant.1 (291–293).LBW infants. Kangaroo mother care (KMC) guidelines include rousing LBW infants for feeding if the baby sleeps longer than 2–3 hours in order to prevent hypoglycaemia.e. Interventions that reduce hypothermia and promote development are integral to the nutritional status and health outcomes of all LBW infants.1.04). compared with the conventional method of care group (RR 0. The major components of KMC are: skin-to-skin contact (i. developmental care and food are basic. (2) Non-nutritive sucking. in stabilized LBW infants on the risk of mortality (Level II evidence). while hypothermic infants have feeding difficulties and may utilize calories to produce heat. and early discharge from hospital regardless of weight or gestational age. between the mother’s breasts firmly attached to the chest in an upright position). SuPPORT 5. infants are kept.34 to 1. Mexico and Indonesia. while Charpak et al completed follow-up till 12 months of age.59. results Effects on mortality (1) kanGarOO MOther care Or OnlY Skin-tO-Skin cOntact Skin-to-skin contact is defined as any contact between the mother’s and the infant’s skin over any period of time. No studies were located which examined the impact of only skin-to-skin contact on mortality rates. The following interventions are reviewed in this section: (1) Kangaroo mother care or only skin-toskin contact. A little less than half of all babies born in the hospital with birth weights <2000 g during the study period were included in the study. Infants who are not nurtured and stimulated grow poorly. day and night. and have no problems with hypoglycaemia. these are summarized in Table 5. Most of the mortality in this group occurred before the infants became eligible for KMC. (3) Maternal participation in caring for LBW infants in hospital. Cattaneo et al followed up infants till hospital discharge only. Both studies randomized infants of birth weight 1500–2000 g and were conducted in developing countries. Cues include conscious state and the ability of the infant to wake spontaneously for feeds and respond to hunger by crying. 5. It was not possible to provide additional recommendations due to insufficient evidence. are stable and alert. usually commencing immediately after birth. Lower mortality rates were reported in the KMC group. These results are consistent with two previous observational studies from Zimbabwe (295) and Mozambique (296). Definitive conclusions cannot be made because of the wide confidence intervals.1 Supportive care for the LBW infant Warmth. Decisions about when a LBW infant should begin demand feeding are currently made on the basis of an individual infant’s developmental maturity. The findings from these studies suggest that KMC may be at least as effective as conventional care in reducing mortality rates in eligible infants. which initiated KMC results  . It should be noted that less than half of the <2000 g infants were eligible for KMC according to the inclusion criteria. compared to conventional care. Two RCTs were located that examined the effect of KMC. 95%CI 0. A recently published RCT from Ethiopia enrolled babies <2000 g before stabilization around 10 hours after birth (294). (4) Timing and criteria for hospital discharge.

01).1.2. Effects on other important outcomes Three RCTs. full-term infants showed that skin-to-skin contact with the mother starting 15–20 minutes after birth for one hour was associated with sleeping longer.23) (298). Improvements in exclusive breastfeeding (EBF) at the time of hospital discharge and in any breastfeeding up to 3 months of corrected age were reported in two of the trials in KMC infants (291–293).3).57) (291). the study by Bergman et al compared the outcomes to a historical control group with insufficient adjustment for confounding factors. In the Zimbabwean cohort study.34 cm. 95%CI 0. compared to conventional care. 302). Effects on neurodevelopment Only Charpak et al evaluated the impacts on neurodevelopment (Level II evidence) (see Table 5. and the third was implemented in Ecuador (297).4.49 to 1.2 (291– 293. 95%CI 0.22) (299). A meta-analysis of studies in healthy fullterm babies has shown that early skin-to-skin contact is associated with higher breastfeeding rates at 1–3 months. mortality among 126 KMC babies was lower than historical controls (improvement from 50–10%).15. were reported on any growth parameters except for one trial which reported that KMC infants gained slightly more weight per day by the time of discharge. 297) showed no significant difference in EBF at 1 month follow-up (RR 0.42). 95%CI 1.for all babies <1800 g without any stabilization in incubators.77. In the study by Whitelaw et al. One of the studies showed a significant reduction in nosocomial infections and the other a significant reduction in episodes of severe illness during the first 6 months of life (292. two were the studies discussed above. 297). Both studies detected a significant impact on breastfeeding rates.3) (292. two small studies in LBW infants (one RCT and one cohort study) (Level III-3 evidence and above) examined the impact of skin-to-skin contact alone in LBW infants on breastfeeding patterns (301. 95%CI 0.1. are summarized in Table 5. No studies were located which examined the impact of skin-to-skin contact only on neurodevelopmental outcomes. compared with 10 babies who could not be provided KMC because the mother was not available or there was no room in the KMC ward (mortality 20% in KMC infants. No studies were located which examined the impact of skin-to-skin contact only on serious morbidity. There was no longer-term follow-up (see summary Table 5. compared with the controls (WMD 3. which examined the impact of KMC on serious illness or infection (Level II evidence). 297). A subsequent study in healthy. No significant differences. mortality was reported to be lower in 22 KMC babies. 0 Three RCTs were located which evaluated the impact of KMC on breastfeeding rates (Level II evidence) (291–293. Effects on serious morbidity – serious illness/infection Effects on malnutrition All three RCTs described above evaluated the differences on growth rates (Level II evidence). A meta-analysis of two studies (291. In addition.78 to 6. He reported that there was no significant difference between KMC and conventional care in mean Griffith’s quotient at 6 and 12 months of corrected age. These trials have been described above and are summarized in Table 5. and had a larger head circumference at 6 months corrected age (0.6 g/d.1.10 to 4. 297). mothers randomized to a skin-to-skin contact group lactated for 4 weeks longer on average than the control Optimal feeding Of lOw-birth-weight infants: technical review . p <0.11 to 0. In addition. 293). more flexor movements and postures and less extensor movements in observations starting four hours after birth (300). compared to 73% in non-KMC infants. compared with standard contact (OR 2. 297). In the cross-sectional study from Mozambique. All three trials were of moderate to poor methodological quality (with a large proportion of drop-outs and loss to follow-up). No longer-term impacts after hospital discharge were reported. but none evaluated the impacts on standard deviation scores or malnutrition (291–293. It is important to note that both of these studies had small sample sizes and methodological flaws (including insufficient blinding and losses to follow-up).

mean difference 2. No data were available for term SGA infants.11 and 74. and at 6 months of age the skin-to–skin contact group of infants was reported to cry significantly less than the control group. compared with 12/13 in the conventional care group. Infants 32–36 weeks gestation (or birth weights 1500–2000 g if gestation is not available) In stable infants between 32 and 36 weeks gestation.031).group.001). results  . Term LBW infants (or birth weights >2000 g if gestation is not available) There are no data regarding the effect of KMC in these infants. Community-based KMC has been tried successfully in some settings. especially in environments without access to any other forms of thermal care. It may have benefits over conventional care in reducing infections. and 45% during the first week. Of the 35 post-partum women who were taught KMC in the community. there is evidence that KMC is at least as effective as conventional care in reducing mortality. There seems to be no evidence to suggest that KMC or skin-toskin contact is unsafe and should not be used.88 (P = 0. Thirty-five LBW infants (12002199 g) from two secondary-level referral hospitals in South Africa were included in the study over a period of 8 months. Many of them were excluded due to instability. There is some evidence that KMC can also be used in unstabilized infants in resource-poor settings. compared with 6/13 incubated infants. 66% provided skin-to-skin contact most of the time during the first two days. The available evidence suggests that KMC is at least as effective as conventional care in eligible infants in reducing mortality. A pilot test of a community-based feasibility of KMC has been reported from Bangladesh (304). the study by Hurst et al compared the outcomes to a historical control group with insufficient adjustment for confounding factors. It is important to note that both these studies had small sample sizes and methodological flaws (including insufficient blinding and losses to follow-up). 77% initiated skin-to-skin contact and 85% of them with LBW babies did so (37% were LBW infants). Limited data on its efficacy are available. Infants <32 weeks gestation (or birth weights <1500 g if gestation is not available) There was no clear evidence regarding the effect of KMC in these infants. In the study of Hurst et al. Most studies only included stabilized LBW infants. KMC was quickly adopted by the community. These mothers delayed bathing the newborn but few slept upright with the newborn. stabilization scores in the two groups respectively were 77. Of the infants included in the analysis. 3/18 in the skin-toskin contact group. Effective KMC requires appropriate skills and support but could be very useful in resource-poor settings. conclusions and implications Most of the available studies are from developing countries. skin-to-skin contact infants were reported to have a strong linear increase in milk volume in contrast to no indicative change in the control group’s milk volume. the impact among unstable infants of these gestational ages is unclear. 17% of the babies were taken to a health facility due to illness. but more data are needed on its efficacy. exceeded the pre-determined parameters of stability (P <0.23. Another RCT compared skin-to-skin contact from birth with conventional incubator care on physiological parameters during the first 6 hours of life in babies weighing 1200– 2199 g (303). There may be benefits in terms of reducing infections and in improving exclusive breastfeeding rates and weight gain. No longer-term impacts after hospital discharge were reported. In addition. and in improving weight gain and exclusive breastfeeding during hospital stay. All 18 babies in the skinto-skin contact group were stable in 6 hours. However.

especially those without access to incubators and radiant heaters.04] a If gestational age was not available in the publication. SuMMARy TABLE 5. The findings of this review support these recommendations. 14% 86% None Kangaroo mother care (n=149) compared with conventional care (n=136) Kangaroo mother care (n=364) compared with conventional care (n=345) Kangaroo mother care (n=350) compared with conventional care (n=343) Kangaroo mother care (n=62) compared with conventional care (n=61) Mortality before hospital discharge Mortality at 40–41 wks gestational age Mortality at 12 months chronological age Mortality before hospital discharge RR 0. and those weighing 2001–2500 g to have a gestation of 37 weeks or more. infants with birth weight <1500 g are assumed to be <32 wk gestation.55] 12% 88% None RR 0. KMC and skinto-skin contact are standard practice in many neonatal units and health facilities in resource-poor areas.17] RR 0.21. Birth weight <2000 g. Stable infants only.1. Birth weight <2000 g.59 [0. Stable infants only.27. 1.34.recommendations A recent publication from WHO (305) promotes the role of KMC in stable LBW infants in resource-poor countries.  Optimal feeding Of lOw-birth-weight infants: technical review .1 Effects of Kangaroo mother care compared with conventional care on mortality in LBW infants Study.19. Stable infants only. 4. those weighing 1501–2000 g to be 32–36 wk gestation.57 [0. 1. 1.91 [0.59 [0.45] 12% 88% None RR 0. Stable or unstable infants starting around 10 hours of birth. Design (Level of evidence) Inclusion criteria Approximate proportion of participants with gestation agea <32 wk 32–36 wk ≥37 wk outcome measure Effect measure [95% CI] Comparison groups Cattaneo et al (291) RCT (LII) Charpak et al (292) RCT (LII) Charpak et et al (293) RCT (LII) Worku & Kassie (294) RCT (LII) Birth weight 1000–2000 g. Birth weight <2000 g.

and those weighing 2001–2500 g to have a gestation of 37 weeks or more. infants with birth weight <1500 g are assumed to be <32 wk gestation.05 [-0. Birth weight <2000 g.75. and those weighing 2001–2500 g to have a gestation of 37 weeks or more. 2. Stable infants only. of infectious episodes requiring hospital treatment up to 40–41 weeks gestational age RR 0.33. SuMMARy TABLE 5.1. 12% 88% None Kangaroo mother care (n=325) compared with conventional care (n=305) No. Design (Level of evidence) Inclusion criteria Approximate proportion of participants with gestation agea <32 wk 32–36 wk ≥37 wk Effect measure [95% CI] Comparison groups outcome measure Charpak et al (293). 14% 86% None Kangaroo mother care Episodes of severe (n=149) compared infection up to with conventional care hospital discharge (n=136) Kangaroo mother care (n=343) compared with conventional care (n=320) No. 1.25.85] a If gestational age was not available in the publication.2 Effects of Kangaroo mother care compared with conventional care on severe morbidity in LBW infants Study. those weighing 1501–2000 g to be 32–36 wk gestation.61] with conventional age care (n=152) a If gestational age was not available in the publication. Stable infants only.SuMMARy TABLE 5. RCT (LII) Birth weight <2000 g.30 (n=131) compared illness up to 6 months [0. 1. Design (Level of evidence) Inclusion criteria Approximate proportion of participants with gestation agea <32 wk 32–36 wk ≥37 wk Effect measure [95% CI] Comparison groups outcome measure Cattaneo et al (291) RCT (LII) Charpak et al (292) RCT (LII) Birth weight 1000– 2000 g. 1. Stable infants only.21] 12% 88% None RR 0. 0. Stable infants only. Stable infants only.86 [0. results  .63 [0.12] Nosocomial infections 0.93] gestational age Charpak et al (293) RCT (LII) Sloan et al (297) RCT (LII) Birth weight <2000 g.71.03] 20% 80% None Kangaroo mother care Episodes of severe RR 0.67] with conventional weeks gestational age care (n=160) Kangaroo mother care Episodes of severe RR 0.1. 12% 88% None Kangaroo mother care (n=308) compared with conventional care (n=271) Psychomotor development (Griffith quotients) at 12 months corrected age WMD 1. of infectious episodes requiring hospital treatment at up to 12 months age RR 0. 0.69 [0. Birth weight <2000 g.14.3 Effects of Kangaroo mother care compared with conventional care on neurodevelopment in LBW infants Study.43.49 up to 40–41 weeks [0.30 (n=140) compared illness up to 40–41 [0.14. infants with birth weight <1500 g are assumed to be <32 wk gestation. 0. those weighing 1501–2000 g to be 32–36 wk gestation.

80 [0. demonstrated a significant advantage in providing infants <1800 g with non-nutritive sucking on duration of hospital stay (306).29] RR 0.15] RR 1.18] corrected age No EBF at 1 month follow-up RR 0.85.77 [0.6) were included (307.13] Kangaroo mother care (n=93) No EBF at compared with conventional 1 month care (n=82) follow-up Charpak et al (292) RCT (LII) Charpak et al (293) RCT (LII) Sloan et al (294) RCT (LII) Birth weight <2000 g. Birth weight <2000 g.1. 310).SuMMARy TABLE 5. Non-nutritive sucking has been postulated to improve breastfeeding and to shorten the time to oral feeding in pre-term infants. Design (Level of evidence) Inclusion criteria Approximate proportion of participants with gestation agea <32 wk 32–36 wk ≥37 wk Comparison groups Effect measure [95% CI] outcome measure Cattaneo et al (291) RCT (LII) Birth weight 1000–2000 g.41 [0.90.1.5) demonstrated no significant advantage from non-nutritive sucking among infants <1800 g in terms of weight gain per day until hospital discharge (306). results Effects on mortality. Stable infants only. However. 309). 1.01. The results are difficult to interpret as all the studies were of poor methodological quality with small sample sizes. No impacts on standard deviation scores or malnutrition were identified. (2) nOn-nutritive SuckinG Non-nutritive sucking refers to sucking without oral fluid intake.4 Effects of Kangaroo mother care compared with conventional care on breastfeeding patterns in LBW infants Study. e.25.g.68] RR 0. 0.13] 20% 80% None Kangaroo mother care (n=66) No EBF at compared with conventional 6 month care (n=80) follow-up a If gestational age was not available in the publication. Effects on malnutrition In a meta-analysis of all available RCTs till the year 2003 (Level I evidence). 1.46. 12% 88% None Kangaroo mother care (n=343) compared with conventional care (n=320) Kangaroo mother care (n=320) compared with conventional care (n=305) Kangaroo mother care (n=93) compared with conventional care (n=111) No EBF at 40–41 weeks gestational age 12% 88% None Any BF at RR 1. Stable infants only. the indi- Optimal feeding Of lOw-birth-weight infants: technical review . infants with birth weight <1500 g are assumed to be <32 wk gestation. serious morbidity and neurodevelopment in LBW infants. 14% 86% None Kangaroo mother care (n=146) compared with conventional care (n=133) No EBF at discharge RR 0.08 3 months [1. when a ‘dummy’ or ‘pacifier’ is used. but the other two showed no difference between the groups (308.29. 1. Stable infants only.01 [0. and those weighing 2001–2500 g to have a gestation of 37 weeks or more. in which two trials in the US (see Table 5. serious morbidity and neurodevelopment the US (see Table 5.1. Birth weight < 2000 g. three trials in  Another meta-analysis (Level I evidence).98 [0. 2. Field’s trial demonstrated a trend favouring the control group (307). 1. those weighing 1501–2000 g to be 32–36 wk gestation. Effects on other important outcomes No studies were located which examined the influence of non-nutritive sucking on mortality. Stable infants only. Another reported method is sucking on the ‘emptied’ breast.

those weighing 1501–2000 g to be 32–36 wk gestation. The infants in the intervention group had longer durations of exclusive breastfeeding (WMD 1. 3. A small study in 32 babies with an average gestation of 33 weeks examined the effect of suckling at the breast (after as much milk as possible had been expressed) on breastfeeding rates after discharge from the hospital. 1. those weighing 1501–2000 g to be 32–36 wk gestation.6.57 [-0. SuMMARy TABLE 5.1 to 2.37. Design (Level of evidence) Inclusion criteria Approximate proportion of participants with gestation agea <32 wk 32–36 wk ≥37 wk outcome measure Effect measure [95% CI] Comparison groups Pinelli et al Birth weight (306) <1800 g Meta-analysis of 3 RCTs (LI) 58% 42% None Non-nutritive sucking (n=59) compared with conventional care (n=58) Weight gain (grams per day) WMD 1. Three studies from south Asia were identified. but has no effect on growth outcomes in pre-term infants who weigh <1800 g at birth.1.8 months.3). Karan and Rao studied the effects of a change in nursery policy towards results  .7] If gestational age was not available in the publication. conclusions and implications The results indicate that non-nutritive sucking may decrease the length of hospital stay in pre-term infants.SuMMARy TABLE 5.3 to 3.50] * If gestational age was not available in the publication. 95%CI 0. infants with birth weight <1500 g are assumed to be <32 wk gestation. Sucking on the emptied breast might provide sucking experience for LBW infants without interfering with their nutritional intake and without increased risk of infection. the effects of maternal participation in caring for LBW babies in hospital are summarized. It was not possible to provide recommendations due to insufficient evidence.5 Effects of non-nutritive sucking compared with conventional care on growth outcomes in LBW infants Study. There is lack of (3) Maternal ParticiPatiOn in carinG FOr lBw inFantS in hOSPital results In this section. and those weighing 2001–2500 g to have a gestation of 37 weeks or more.8 months. and those weighing 2001–2500 g to have a gestation of 37 weeks or more.6 Effects of non-nutritive sucking compared with conventional care on hospitalization rates in LBW infants Study. The results are difficult to interpret owing to the small sample sizes and other methodological flaws. recommendations No consensus statements or expert committee reports were located which examined the role of non-nutritive sucking in LBW infants. vidual trials reported conflicting results and were of poor methodological quality (small sample sizes and inadequate allocation concealment). Field found no difference between the groups.1. infants with birth weight <1500 g are assumed to be <32 wk gestation. data on safety with regard to an increased risk of infections with pacifiers and dummies in resource-poor settings. but Bernbaum et al demonstrated a significant reduction in length of hospital stay. Design (Level of evidence) Inclusion criteria Approximate proportion of participants with gestation agea <32 wk 32–36 wk ≥37 wk Comparison groups Effect measure [95% CI] outcome measure Pinelli et al Birth weight (306) <1800 g Meta-analysis of 2 RCTs (LI) a 58% 42% None Non-nutritive sucking (n=44) Length of compared with conventional hospital stay care (n=43) in days WMD -7.5) and total breastfeeding (WMD 1. 95%CI 1. In particular.1 [-12.

no weight loss. It is standard practice in many neonatal units in developed and developing countries to involve mothers in the care and feeding of their LBW infants. The mortality up to 3 months postnatal age was similar in the  Optimal feeding Of lOw-birth-weight infants: technical review .5 months postnatal age. morbidity. Effect on mortality. Narayanan et al reported that the group of infants whose mothers had participated in caring and feeding during hospitalization had a significantly higher breastfeeding rate at 2.increased maternal participation in the care and feeding of infants <1800 g. neurodevelopment or growth. re-hospitalization. delays in mother-child bonding.05) (312). Narayanan et al followed up two groups with 25 LBW infants in each. earlier discharge from hospital. Bhutta et al reported that maternal participation in a step-down unit resulted in earlier discharge of VLBW infants (hospital stay before and after the establishment of the step-down unit was 34 ± 18 days and 16 ±14 days. Bhutta et al reported the effects of establishment of a step-down unit where the mothers provided all basic nursing care for their infants (<1500 g at birth) before being discharged under supervision. crossed birth weight. Effect on mortality None of the identified studies reported the effect of maternal participation on mortality rates. conclusions and implications The results indicate that maternal participation in the care and feeding of hospitalized LBW infants led to improved mother’s confidence in providing care. compared with the group whose mothers had been separated from them (80% vs. n = 39) (314). the traditional policy was to delay the discharge of pre-term infants until a pre-determined weight (2000 g or more) had been achieved. For many VLBW babies this implied several weeks of hospital stay. and adequate physical environment for home care of the infant. Eight RCTs were located which examined the effect of early discharge of LBW infants on outcomes such as mortality. p <0. compared with conventional discharge (when gaining weight. Only one RCT (Level II evidence) reported the effect of early discharge (when no weight loss. neurodevelopment or growth recommendations No consensus statements or expert committee reports were located which examined the role of maternal participation in the care of LBW infants. and breastfeeding rates after discharge (314–321). weight gain. the mothers of the first group of infants stayed in the neonatal care unit. However. n = 28). baby able to maintain body temperature in an open crib. morbidity. The criteria for early discharge used in these studies included: baby able to breastfeed or bottle-feed (full oral feeds). using a beforeafter comparison (313). no evidence of clinical illness or serious apnoea. and higher costs. partial or full oral feeds. and fully accepting oral feeds. Other important outcomes Maternal participation in the care of pre-term infants in hospital-based newborn care units was reported to lead to early discharge in all three studies (311–313). The findings from this review support these recommendations. (4) tiMinG and criteria FOr hOSPital diScharGe results This section summarizes the evidence related to the optimal duration of stay in the hospital for pre-term babies. respectively) without any increase in short-term complications or readmissions (313). Until about 1980. prolonged hospitalization is associated with an increased risk of contracting infections. and improved breastfeeding rates. 20%. Early discharge is a component of KMC (described above) and is not discussed in this section. mother demonstrated satisfactory care-taking skills. using a beforeafter comparison (311). while those in the second group were separated from their infants (312).

Bhutta et al. 2. 321). summarized in Table 5. The high risk of nosocomial infections in developing countries may make it even more important to discharge infants early.69).75 to 1. Effect on other important outcomes The RCT by Gunn et al also compared the effect of early discharge (full oral feeds but not yet gaining weight.33) after discharge was not significantly different in the two groups.. It is standard practice in many neonatal units in developed and developing countries to discharge pre-term infants when they are stable and on full oral feeds. Most of the studies were from developed countries.80. Effect on serious morbidity control group (RR 0. No studies reported on malnutrition rates. examined the effect of early discharge on subsequent re-hospitalizations (315–320).8.26. 316. It reported a lower risk of infection during the home intragastric feeding period. 313) suggests that the findings are generally applicable to these settings also. and re-admission within 12 months post-discharge. are competent at suckle feeding and physiologically mature. 95%CI 0. Effect on neurodevelopment conclusions and implications The results indicate that early discharge of LBW infants (on full oral feeds. 95%CI 0. A meta-analysis examined the effects of a policy of early discharge of stable pre-term infants with home support of intragastric feeding. No conclusions can be drawn about the safety of discharging pre-term infants still on intragastric feeds.two groups (RR 0. The findings of this review support these recommendations. and with family and community readiness to provide the necessary support for their home care (11). compared with the corresponding time in hospital for the recommendations International groups recommend early discharge of pre-term infants when the babies are gaining weight. able to maintain body temperature in an open crib. There was no significant difference between groups in the duration and extent of breastfeeding. Only one quasi-randomized trial with 88 infants was identified (323).46). Six RCTs. results  .1.1.11) or 6 months (RR 0. 95%CI 0. There were no studies that examined the effect of early discharge on neurodevelopment.7. maintaining temperature. Experience from some developing countries (e. summarized in Table 5. examined the effect of early discharge on subsequent weight gain (315.g. weight gain. most reported relative risks below 1 or close to 1. no clinical illness or serious apnoea or weight loss.73 to 1.99. compared with a policy of discharge of such infants when they had reached full oral feeds (322). None of the studies reported any significant difference between early and conventional discharge groups. Pakistan. 95%CI 0. 318. Effect on malnutrition Five RCTs.35. There were no consensus statements or expert committee reports located which examined the role of maternal participation in the care of LBW infants. None of the studies reported any significant difference between early and conventional discharge groups. The rate of any breastfeeding at 6 weeks (RR 0. n =160) on breastfeeding rates at 6 weeks and 6 months after discharge (Table 5. but the wide confidence intervals do not allow any firm conclusions.9) (319). However. 320. and the mothers have satisfactory care-giving skills) is not associated with adverse outcomes and may have advantages in terms of cost savings.17 to 0. n = 148) with routine discharge (full oral feeds and also gaining weight.1. Although the confidence intervals of all the individual studies were wide. the lack of health facilities and follow-up support in the community is a significant challenge in most countries.91.

2. full oral feeding.83) within 14 days of discharge Hospital re-admission within 18 months of discharge RR 1. infants with birth weight <1500 g are assumed to be <32 wk gestation.1.62 re-admission (0.34. maintains body temperature and mother able to care for the baby (n=50) compared with conventional discharge at discretion of the attending physician (n=50) Early discharge: full oral feeds but not yet gaining weight (n=148) compared with routine discharge when on full oral feeds and also gaining wt (n=160) Early discharge (n=27) compared with conventional discharge (n=16) Hospital RR 1.24. those weighing 1501–2000 g to be 32–36 wk gestation.35. 7. weight gain and absence of acute illness (n=183) compared with conventional discharge: weight at least 2268 g.91) within the first year of life Gunn et al (319 ) RCT (LII) Pre-term infants 40% 60% None Hospital RR 0.8) from discharge to term Brooten et al (317) RCT (LII) Birth weight <1500 g 66% 34% None Hospital RR 0.38.15) within 4 weeks of discharge Lefebvre Birth weight et al (316) <2000 g Double cohort (LIII-3) 50% 45% 5% Hospital RR 1.44) within 6 weeks after discharge Cruz et al (320 ) RCT (LII) a Very low birth weight infants 100% None None Infection rates No significant difference If gestational age was not available in the publication. 1.14 re-admission (0.19) Casiro et al (318) RCT (LII) Birth weight <2000 g 50% 30% 20% Early discharge: clinically well with no serious apnoea. mother capable of caring for the infant (n=21) compared with conventional discharge at weight 2200–2400 g Early discharge when full oral feeding.SuMMARy TABLE 5.45.  Optimal feeding Of lOw-birth-weight infants: technical review .74 re-admission (0. maintenance of temperature. outgrown their birth weight.03 (0. weight gain and absence of acute illness (n=198) Early discharge: clinically well. 2.82 re-admission (0. 2.7 Effects of early compared with conventional discharge of LBW infants on hospital re-admission rates after discharge Study. 2. and those weighing 2001–2500 g to have a gestation of 37 weeks or more. no serious apnoea and mother able to care for the baby (n=39) compared with conventional discharge at 2200 g weight (n = 40) Hospital RR 0.48. full oral feeds.87 re-admission (0. Design (Level of evidence) Inclusion criteria Approximate proportion of participants with gestation agea <32 wk 32–36 wk ≥37 wk outcome measure Effect measure [95% CI] Comparison groups Dillard et al (315) RCT (LII) Birth weight <2268 g 15% UK UK Early discharge: at least 2000 g. maintain body temperature.

SuMMARy TABLE 5.1.8 Effect of early discharge compared with conventional discharge of LBW infants on growth outcomes after discharge
Study, Design (Level of evidence) Inclusion criteria Approximate proportion of participants with gestation agea <32 wk 32–36 wk ≥37 wk outcome measure Effect measure [95% CI]

Comparison groups

Dillard et al (315) RCT (LII)

Birth weight <2268 g

15%

UK

UK

Early discharge: at least Weight gain MD -0.04 kg 2000 g, weight gain and at 4 weeks (p>0.1) b absence of acute illness from discharge (n=183) compared with conventional discharge: weight at least 2268 g, weight gain and absence of acute illness (n=198) Early discharge (n=20) compared with conventional discharge (n=20) Weight at MD term Weight at 3 months beyond term -0.07 kg (-0.37, 0.23) MD -0.24 kg (-0.86, 0.37) MD -0.05 kg (-0.33, 0.23)

Davies et al (321) RCT (LII)

Gestation <33 weeks

95%

5%

None

Lefebvre Birth weight et al (316) <2000 g Double cohort (LIII-3)

50%

45%

5%

Early discharge: clinically Weight at well, outgrown their birth term weight, full oral feeding, maintain body temperature, mother capable of caring for the infant (n=21) compared with conventional discharge at weight 2200–2400 g Early discharge: clinically well Weight at with no serious apnoea, full 1 year oral feeds, maintains body temperature and mother able to care for the baby (n=50) compared with conventional discharge at discretion of the attending physician (n=50) Early discharge (n=27) compared with conventional discharge (n=16) Weight gain

Casiro et al (318) RCT (LII)

Birth weight <2000 g

50%

30%

20%

MD 0.1 kg (-0.34, 0.54)

Cruz et al (320 ) RCT (LII)
a b

Very low birth weight infants

100%

None

None

No significant difference

If gestational age was not available in the publication, infants with birth weight <1500 g are assumed to be <32 wk gestation, those weighing 1501–2000 g to be 32–36 wk gestation, and those weighing 2001–2500 g to have a gestation of 37 weeks or more. Standard deviations not provided, thus confidence intervals not calculated.

results 

5.2 Support for the breastfeeding mother
The importance of providing mother’s own milk to LBW infants has been described in previous sections. The following interventions to improve breastfeeding rates in mothers of pre-term and term LBW infants have been reviewed: • Breastfeeding counselling • Drug therapy • Breast milk supplementer.

BreaStFeedinG cOunSellinG
A meta-analysis of 20 randomized or quasirandomized trials involving 23,712 motherinfant pairs (infants with any birth weight, four trials specifically excluded LBW), showed that professional support was effective in increasing the rates of any breastfeeding at 6 months (RR0.89, 95%CI 0.81 to 0.97), but its effect on EBF was not significant. Lay support was effective in increasing EBF rates (RR0.66, 95%CI 0.49 to 0.69), but its effect on any breastfeeding was not significant (324). The few studies among LBW infants that were located are summarized below.

meetings, and home visits) with routine care. Rates of EBF at 3 months of age increased (see below) and no significant disadvantages were detected in mean weight, mean length, heightfor-age (<2 z scores) or weight-for-height (<2 z scores) in the intervention, compared to the control group of infants. In a hospital-based RCT in Manila the efficacy of postnatal peer counselling was examined in a group of 204 term LBW infants (Level II evidence, see summary Table 5.1.1) (325). A total of 204 mothers were randomized into three groups; two intervention groups received home-based counselling visits (one by counsellors trained in breastfeeding counselling, the other by counsellors trained in general childcare), and a control group where the mothers did not receive counselling. No growth disadvantages were detected in the counselled group in this trial; all groups had improved mean weightfor-age standard deviation scores (z-scores) at 6 months, with no significant differences between the groups.
Effects on other important outcomes

results
Effects on mortality and neurodevelopment

No studies were identified which examined the influence of breastfeeding counselling on mortality and neurodevelopment in LBW infants.
Effects on malnutrition

Two RCTs were located that examined the impacts of breastfeeding counselling in LBW infants (187). One large RCT was located which examined the impacts of breastfeeding on malnutrition rates in a subset of predominantly SGA LBW Indian infants (Level II evidence, see summary Table 5.2.1) (187, 325). The trial by Bhandari et al compared the impact of counselling mothers in EBF at multiple opportunities (including immunization sessions, illness contacts, women’s group

One US RCT (Level II evidence, see summary Table 5.2.2) examined the impact of an intensive breastfeeding counselling package pre- and post-discharge to mothers of pre-term infants on the mean duration of breastfeeding (326). This package included individual counselling by a lactation consultant, weekly in-hospital contact, and frequent post-discharge contact. This was compared to standard breastfeeding support during the hospitalization period with no specialized lactation consultant available. In this study the mean breastfeeding duration increased from 24.2 weeks in the control group to 26.2 weeks in the intervention group, but the mean difference was not statistically significant. Exclusive breastfeeding at 1, 3, 6, and 12 months post-discharge was also not statistically different between the two groups. However, these results may be explained by the high motivation to breastfeed in both groups, a relatively advantaged population, and the availability of community breastfeeding resources, which may have diminished any significant differences that could have resulted 

0

Optimal feeding Of lOw-birth-weight infants: technical review

from a breastfeeding intervention. In contrast, the two RCTs described above detected significant improvements in EBF rates at 6 months (187, 325) (Table 5.2.2); breastfeeding counselling by skilled peers or professionals increased the breastfeeding rates in mothers of term infants (327–329), and case series of breastfeeding counselling interventions in developed countries reported increases in the incidence and mean duration of breastfeeding (330–332).

and SGA infants from developing and developed countries. A large effect of counselling on improving the rates of EBF in mothers of LBW infants was demonstrated with no apparent disadvantage in growth rates or malnutrition prevalence.

recommendations
No consensus statements or expert committee reports that examined the role of breastfeeding counselling in LBW infants were identified. Standard practice in many neonatal units is to provide breastfeeding counselling to mothers of LBW infants. The findings from this review support these recommendations.

conclusions and implications
The findings of this section are based on the results of a number of RCTs in term, pre-term

SuMMARy TABLE 5.2.1 Effect of breastfeeding counselling on growth outcomes in LBW infants
Study, Design (Level of evidence) Inclusion criteria Approximate proportion of participants with gestation agea <32 wk 32–36 wk ≥37 wk outcome measure Effect measure [95% CI] Difference in proportions

Comparison groups

Bhandari et al Mothers of LBW (187) infants (<2500 g Cluster at birth) RCT (LII) Subgroup analysis

<1%

15%

85%

Subgroup of LBW infants in: Intervention group (community promotion of EBF for 6 mo) [n=159] compared with control group [n=124]

Height-for-age 9% <–2 z-score [-2%, 20%] Weight-forheight <–2 z- score -2% [-6%, 1%]

Agrasada et al Mothers of term None (325) LBW infants RCT (LII) <2500 g who were admitted to hospital

None

100%

Home-based breastfeeding Weight-for-age MD -0.18 counselling (n=60) compared z-score at (-0.50, 0.14) with home- based counselling 6 mo in general child care (n=59) Home-based in breastfeeding Weight-for-age MD -0.18 counselling (n=60) compared z-score at (-0.48, 0.12) with no counselling at home 6 mo (n=71)

a

If gestational age was not available in the publication, infants with birth weight <1500 g are assumed to be <32 wk gestation, those weighing 1501–2000 g to be 32–36 wk gestation, and those weighing 2001–2500 g to have a gestation of 37 weeks or more.

results 

10 package (n=64) compared duration of [-5. Hansen et al also reported no significant difference between the groups in duration of breastfeeding. druG theraPY results Effects on mortality rates.0 weeks for the metoclopramide  Optimal feeding Of lOw-birth-weight infants: technical review . In the study by de Silva et al. daily milk production doubled between the first and seventh day of therapy. Design (Level of evidence) Inclusion criteria Approximate proportion of participants with gestation agea <32 wk 32–36 wk ≥37 wk outcome measure Effect measure [95% CI] Comparison groups Pinelli et al (326) RCT (LII) Parents of infants 100% with birth weight <1500 g who intended to breastfeed <1% None None Breastfeeding counselling Mean MD 2.3] RR 6.39 [2.67 [4. neurodevelopment and malnutrition No studies were located which examined the impact of lactogogues on mortality rates.32] with standard package (n=64) breastfeeding (weeks) Subgroup of LBW infants in: Intervention group (community EBF at promotion of EBF for 6 mo) 3 months (n=159) compared with control group (n=124) EBF at 6 months Home-based breastfeeding EBF at counselling (n=60) compared 6 months with home-based counselling in general child care (n=59) Home-based in breastfeeding EBF at counselling (n=60) compared 6 months with no counselling at home (n=71) Bhandari et al Mothers of LBW (187) infants (<2500 g Cluster at birth) RCT (LII) Subgroup analysis Agrasada et al (325) RCT (LII) Mothers of term LBW infants <2500 g who were admitted to hospital 15% 85% RR 1. serious morbidity. 9. de Silva et al randomized the women who were having difficulty maintaining milk production by milk expression to receive either domperidone or placebo for 7 days (334). 188.38. Hansen et al reported no significant differences between breastmilk volumes in the metoclopramide and placebo groups on each of the 17 days of the study (335).58. while Hansen et al randomized women to receive either metoclopramide 10 mg or a placebo three times per day for 7 days (335). However. infants with birth weight <1500 g are assumed to be <32 wk gestation. which was associated with significantly increased basal serum prolactin levels (333).4 [3. with a median of 8. 23. serious morbidity.2 Effects of breastfeeding counselling on breastfeeding patterns in LBW infants Study. and those weighing 2001–2500 g to have a gestation of 37 weeks or more. Ehrenkranz et al and de Silva et al reported large increases in milk production.70. 2.SuMMARy TABLE 5.4 to 12. 17. In contrast.2. those weighing 1501–2000 g to be 32–36 wk gestation.7] a If gestational age was not available in the publication.2] None None 100% RR 26. In the comparative cohort study by Ehrenkranz et al.99 [1. the women received metoclopramide 10 mg three times per day for 7 days (333). Effects on other important outcomes Three small studies from the US and Canada (Level III-3 evidence and above) evaluated the effects of metoclopramide or domperidone therapy on daily breastmilk volume in women who delivered infants <34 weeks gestation (333–335).8 weeks. In the study by Ehrenkranz et al. neurodevelopment and malnutrition in mothers of LBW infants.51] RR 9. an interquartile range of 3.01. milk volume also doubled in the intervention compared to the control group (334).12.

6 to 16. making it difficult to draw any conclusions. serious morbidity.9 weeks for the placebo group (P = . serious morbidity. support. It was not possible to provide additional recommendations due to insufficient evidence. current recommendations No consensus statements or expert committee reports were located which examined the role of breastfeeding supplementer in LBW infants. Standard practice in many neonatal units is to use metclopramide 10 mg three times per day as part of a package which includes counselling. especially if he has become used to sucking from a bottle. the methodological quality of the studies was poor. neurodevelopment and malnutrition in LBW infants.6 weeks and an interquartile range of 5. However. making it difficult to draw any conclusions. A hungry infant may suckle at an ‘empty’ breast a few times. A breastfeeding supplementer helps to sustain the infant in suckling at the breast. Both studies selected pre-term infants with birth weights <2500 g and showed that the supplementer could result in re-establishment of EBF. Effects on other important outcomes conclusions and implications The findings of this section are based on three small trials which reported conflicting effects on increasing milk volume in mothers of infants under 34 weeks gestation. neurodevelopment and malnutrition No studies were located which examined the influence of breastfeeding supplementer on mortality. 338).09). Standard practice in many neonatal units is to use the breastfeeding supplementer with mothers who have difficulties in breastfeeding LBW infants. and repeated suckling (336). It was not possible to provide additional recommendations due to insufficient evidence. while another study reported on the safety and efficacy of metclopramide therapy (337). and a median of 8. No information was presented on safety and no information was available concerning mothers of larger LBW infants. but he may become frustrated and refuse to suckle any more. recommendations No consensus statements or expert committee reports which examined the role of lactogogues in LBW infants were identified. motivation. results  . Two case series were located which described the impact of the breastfeeding supplementer on exclusive breastfeeding rates (337. BreaStMilk SuPPleMenter A breastfeeding supplementer is a device for giving an infant a supplement while he is suckling at a breast which is not producing enough milk. and one trial which reported no impact on the duration of breastfeeding.group. results Effects on mortality. support and education to improve lactation in mothers of LBW infants. Other studies in mothers of term infants reported no effect of supplemental metoclopramide in women who received a package of counselling. conclusions and implications The only studies located in this section were small case series that were likely to suffer from selection and observer bias.

recommendations Guidelines from WHO and other international groups recommend monitoring blood glucose in healthy LBW infants at 4-hourly intervals. prevention by early enteral feeding (or provision of intravenous glucose for those unable to feed) is Optimal feeding Of lOw-birth-weight infants: technical review . mean birth weight 1400 g) who were exposed and not exposed to ‘moderate neonatal hypoglycaemia’ (defined as plasma glucose concentration <2.6 mmol/l on at least 5 occasions) was strongly associated with abnormal neuromotor and intellectual performance at 18 months (340).e.6 mmol/l) was associated with developmental deficit at the time of hospital discharge (342). growth or neurodevelopment.1 mmol/l (343). 1 case series) were located which examined the impact of low blood glucose measurements on neurodevelopmental outcomes in LBW infants. respiratory rate and blood pressure). social class and other important confounding factors.6 mmol/ l and developmental delay at 5 years of age (341).6. blood glucose monitoring and growth monitoring are reviewed.6 mmol/l on ≥5 separate days) (342). heart rate.1 Blood glucose monitoring results Effects on mortality. Pildes et al compared the outcomes in a cohort of 57 pre-term US infants with birth weights <2000 g (mean gestation 33 weeks. Duvanel et al compared the outcomes in a cohort of 85 Swiss SGA infants (mean gestational age 32 weeks (range 27–34 weeks). However.6 mmol/l on ≥5 separate days) (340). for the first 48 hours or until two measurements are >2. Brown et al described a case series of 15 infants of preterm and SGA infants weighing <1500 g at birth with blood glucose levels of <1. serious morbidity and malnutrition No studies were identified which examined the influence of blood glucose monitoring on mortality. All four studies reported that blood glucose levels <2. Brown et al reported that 95% of the LBW infants in his case series with blood glucose levels <1. oxygen saturation. Lucas et al compared the outcomes in a cohort of 661 UK infants with birth weights <1800 g (mean gestation 31 weeks.1 mmol/l had convulsions and abnormal neurological signs (343).6 mmol/l on ≥5 separate days) (341). MOnITORIng Monitoring of LBW infants includes regular measurements of vital signs (i. 6. However. Effects on neurodevelopment Four studies (3 comparative cohort studies. gastric residual volumes. no studies were found that examined the impact of such monitoring on improved survival. temperature. blood tests. Duvanel et al reported that there was also an association between plasma glucose measurements of <2. Lucas et al reported that frequent “moderate” hypoglycaemia (plasma glucose <2. but the effect on the overall intelligence quotient was not significant (344). mean birth weight 1200 g (range 580–1680 g) who were exposed and not exposed to ‘moderate neonatal hypoglycaemia’ (plasma glucose concentration <2. each time before giving a feed.6 mmol/l that occurred repeatedly were likely to be associated with poorer clinical outcomes in LBW infants. Pildes et al demonstrated that frequent “moderate” hypoglycaemia (plasma glucose <2. In this section.  conclusions and implications Studies in pre-term and term LBW infants indicate the need for avoiding prolonged and recurrent hypoglycaemia. and the monitoring of growth and neurodevelopment. Longer-term follow-up to 7½–8 years of age demonstrated persistent associations between moderate hypoglycaemia and developmental deficits in arithmetic and motor test scores after controlling for mother’s education. serious morbidity and malnutrition in LBW infants. mean birth weight 1600 g) who were exposed and not exposed to ‘moderate neonatal hypoglycaemia’ (plasma glucose concentration <2.6 mmol/l and then daily until the infant is established on full enteral feeds (345).

WHO and other international groups also recommend treating any asymptomatic LBW infants when the blood glucose concentration is <1.1 mmol/l (346.2. Figure 6. They should be sufficient in most cases to tailor feeding regimens to the individual infant’s requirement. The variability in four of these growth references is shown in Figure 6. WHO recommendations also include treating symptomatic infants with blood glucose levels <2.0 mmol/l and there are no symptoms (346). Most of these were cross-sectional population-based studies reviewing routinelycollected hospital separation data.2 growth monitoring results No studies were located which examined the impact of growth monitoring on mortality rates. vital registration data and death certificates (349– 356). 1963 50 10 4000 Birthweight (g) 3000 2000 1000 24 26 28 30 32 34 36 38 40 42 Gestation (weeks) results  . It is recommended that the decisions for treatment should be based on clinical signs and laboratory values and not on reagent strip values only.6 mmol/l. such as the crosssectional nature of the data collection. Many of the references have problems. and treating asymptomatic LBW infants if the blood glucose level remains below this level or does not increase after a feed.1 Comparison of growth references for preterm infants (from reference 359 ) 5000 90 Williams et al. Intrauterine growth references 6. Several intrauterine growth references have been published for assessing size at birth according to gestational age.6 mmol/ l closely. elective delivery for intrauterine growth failure). serious clinical disease.1.2.1) (9). This can cause significant misclassification of infants as SGA and LBW and growth faltering (354. neurodevelopment or growth in LBW infants. 1974 50 10 90 Lubchenco.g. 358).2. Others recommend close surveillance in term LBW infants if the plasma glucose concentration is <2.2. monitoring asymptomatic infants with blood glucose levels <2. Some of these references for pre-term infants are summarized in Box 6. and secular change (e.g. No study fulfilled all of these criteria. or abnormal clinical signs develop (345). 1982 50 10 90 Thomas et al. WHO criteria were used to assess the pre-term anthropometric data sets and growth curves (Box 6. rounding and inaccurate dating. selection bias (e. The red lines represent the 90th.more important than frequent blood glucose testing. Daily or twice daily laboratory measurements are preferable to frequent but inaccurate reagent strip measurements.1. 2000 10 90 Milner & Richards. change in infant feeding patterns and improvement in socioeconomic status over time). 348). Many growth references such as the National Centres for Health Statistics (NCHS)/WHO chart do not provide data for pre-term infants (347. 50th and 10th centiles of the Williams 1982 reference (9). 347). There was one cross-sectional hospitalbased study (357).

806 1970–1976 . USA Cross sectional hospital based study reviewing hospital separation and admission data 5.1% other) Births included regardless of socio-economic status Stratified Best obstetric Multiracial but Births included estimate and last groups not stated regardless of normal menstrual socio-economic period (LNMP) status Excluded Excluded Excluded Routinely collected hospital data Some sites Included Included Birth registration certificate Wide Box 6.1 Reference data for size at birth (Format adapted from reference 9) Location Author year Design Sample size Duration of data collection Lubencho et al (357) Denver.2% Non-Hispanic whites.9% Black. 59. UK Cross sectional population based based study reviewing hospital discharge data routinely collected by the Department of Health and Social Security 271.Validity of ness gestational age Ethnicity Socioeconomic status Births included regardless of socio-economic status Not discussed Excluded gross pathological conditions which affected birth weight (anencephaly.635 1948–1961 Optimal feeding Of lOw-birth-weight infants: technical review Milner and Richards (349 ) Multicentre. 25. 5. US Cross sectional population based study reviewing routinely collected hospital data 31.8% Hispanic whites. USA Cross sectional population based study reviewing vital registration data 2.268 1962–1975 Williams et al (351) California.2.288. Representative.519 1967–1971 Brenner et al (350 ) Multicentre. Not stated Not stated Births included regardless of socio-economic status Excluded Appears to be limited Large multicentre study of 30. hydrops fetalis. maternal diabetes) Included Included Hospital discharge data Not discussed Hospital separation and admission data Wide Multiple births Congenital malformations Maternal pathologies and intrauterine infections Quality of data source Level of current use Hospital based study of infants born at 24–42 weeks gestation LMP 70% Caucasian 30% Spanish. hydrocephaly. Mexican and Indian Hospital based study of infants born at 28–44 weeks gestation.772 liveborn infants delivered at 21–44 weeks gestation and 430 fetus aborted at 8–20 weeks gestation aborted with prostaglandins Population based Infants born at 22–44 weeks gestation LMP and clinical estimation Multiracial (9.

UK Pooled data from a number of multicentre research studies of birth weight and subsequent growth 13. Canada Cross sectional population based study reviewing vital statistics and health department birth registrations 1. 2.312 (from birth to < 2 years of age) 1984–1994 Through out UK Alexander et al (354) Multisite. 19.879 population based 1991 study reviewing vital registration data Birth registration certificate Included Direct measurement and recording by hospital staff Appears to be limited Thomas et al (355) Multicentre.729 population based 1996–1998 study reviewing data inputted into database directly by health care provider Appears to be limited Kramer et al (356) All provinces and territories of Canada excluding Ontario Cross sectional population based study reviewing vital registration data 676. Population based Infants born at 22–43 weeks gestation Early ultrasound measurement (majority) but also LMP No information available No information available Singletons only Best estimate of the neonatologist based on obstetric history. USA Cross sectional 3.605 1994–1996 No information available No information available Linked file of live births and infant deaths New reference results  .1% Black.093 1986–1988 Freeman et al (353) ‘UK90” chart Multicentre. Only infants who were admitted to the NICU were included. prenatal ultrasound.Location Author year Large multicentre Not stated study of vital registration data of infants born at > 22 weeks gestation Hospital based Early obstetric studies of infants ultrasound born at >22 weeks gestation Population based study of infants born at 22–44 weeks gestation Hospital based study of infants born at >22 weeks gestation. USA Cross sectional 27.8% Hispanic.Validity of ness gestational age Ethnicity Socioeconomic status Multiple births Congenital malformations Maternal pathologies and intrauterine infections Quality of data source Level of current use Arbuckle et al (352) Multicentre. obstetric examination.5% Asian.9% White. Births included regardless of socio-economic status Included Excluded Early ultrasound measurement (majority) but also LMP No information available Births included regardless of socio-economic status No Included No information Whites only Births included regardless of socio-economic status Included Included Included Prospective measurement by research staff Insufficient data provided Births included regardless of socio-economic status Stratified Included Included Hospital vital registration data Some sites Design Sample size Duration of data collection Representative.110.7% Native American. 0.134. 58. and postnatal physical examination 18.

2 (282. No other information Births included regardless of socio-economic status No information Excluded No information Prospective measurement by hospital staff New reference Pauls et al (282) Berlin. Figure 6.4th.2 has been drawn using 1500 a cross-sectional reference from 1996 which displays birth weight compared to gestational age (solid lines) 1000 (354). 64.4% Non White. each band width being 0.6% White. USA Prospective hospital based study of live births with optimal nutritional management Prospective hospital based study of live births with optimal nutritional management 1660 Hospital 1994–1995 based study of Infants born at 500–1500 g birth weight Best obstetric estimate or LMP Weight (grams) 35.2.66SD.2. Ehrenkranz et al (360). Multicentre. Germany 136 Hospital 1991–1997 based study of Infants born at <1000 g birth weight Best obstetric estimate or LMP No information Births included regardless of socio-economic status Included Included Included Prospective measurement by hospital staff Appears to be limited  Optimal feeding Of lOw-birth-weight infants: technical review . Postnatal growth curves of infants weighing 500–1500 g at birth in some neonatal care centres in the US show that infants at about the 50th centile for gestation lose about 10% of birth weight during the first week of life and regain birth weight by about 2 weeks of age. The lowest centiles on these charts are 2nd and 0. ending up at about the 10th Figure 6.2.2. Subsequent growth until term 2000 10th 50th continues to diverge further from the 10th centile (see Figure 6. 360). which are very useful for plotting growth of babies <1500 g at birth. Longitudinal growth Intrauterine growth (10th and 50th) data from infants hospital24–25 weeks ized in neonatal intensive 26–27 weeks care units in the US were 28–29 weeks 500 used to draw the dashed lines (360). 28 32 36 24 Postmenstrual age (weeks) The UK 1990 intrauterBox 6.2 Average body weight versus postmenstrual age in weeks centile of the intrauterine (From reference 360 ) reference at this stage.2 Reference data for postnatal growth with optimal nutritional management (Format adapted from reference 9) Location Author year Design Sample size RepresentDuration of ativeness data collection Validity of Ethnicity gestational age Socioeconomic status Multiple births Congenital malformations Maternal pathologies and intrauterine infections Quality of data source Level of current use ine growth reference chart provides a 9-centile format (Child Growth Foundation 1990) which allows the approximation of changes in growth in terms of z-score.2) (360).Early postnatal growth references Postnatal growth references from two prospective cohort studies of pre-term infants who received optimal nutritional management in neonatal care units in developed countries are summarized in Box 6.2. These charts should not be considered to be a prescriptive depiction of optimal growth but to be an indicator of a baby’s position relative to a term-born counterpart.

the NCHS/WHO growth reference was commonly used (347). The risk of MTCT through human milk may be higher in LBW than non-LBW infants as the mother may have additional risk factors for transmission (e. The risk of delivering a LBW infant is higher in HIV-positive women than in HIVnegative women (365). Infants with birth weights <1500 g who are at the 50th centile of weight for gestation at birth lose about 10% of birth weight during the first week of life. recommendations Standard practice is to weigh the LBW infant daily for the first week of life or until discharge from hospital. 348. this reference was based on predominately formula-fed infants (9. born to mothers who are known to be HIV-positive and who have not taken antiretroviral medication. Norway. Ghana. 362). Many centres also use the Ehrenkranz postnatal growth reference to assess the adequacy of postnatal growth. then twice a week or weekly until term. Standard practice is also to use the WHO Road to Health charts from term to 12 months of chronological age. who were born to mothers who are known to be HIV-positive and who have not taken antiretroviral medication. However. 364). a sexually transmitted infection. 361. Standard practice in many neonatal units is to plot early growth on an intrauterine growth reference chart. A new international growth reference has been developed (348). well-resourced neonatal care units in developed countries. Corrected age should be used at least during the first year of life. It was not possible to provide additional recommendations from this review. Early postnatal growth should be plotted against an intrauterine growth reference. However.g. and particularly if the weight at discharge is <1500 g. Intrauterine growth can be assessed using references for size at birth such as the Williams 1982 or the UK 1990 references. The risk of MTCT through human milk in term newborn infants.Later postnatal growth of pre-term infants Post-term growth in premature infants can be assessed using growth references created for term infants after correcting for gestation. has been described as 20–30% (363. India. especially if they are given IV fluids or if discharged early from the hospital. regain the birth weight by about 2 weeks of age. 361) and many studies have demonstrated that breastfed infants grow less rapidly and deviate significantly from this reference (9. 364). masti- results  . whether achieving fetal growth during postnatal life is optimum remains a hypothesis. Postnatal growth after premature infants have reached term should be assessed using the new WHO Growth Reference. USA). is 10–15% (363. FEEDIng InFAnTS OF HIV-POSITIVE MOTHERS The risk of intrauterine and intrapartum mother-to-child transmission (MTCT) of HIV in term newborn infants. Babies who are unwell are weighed more frequently. exact mimicry of intrauterine growth in the postnatal period is not possible. Prior to 2006. conclusions and implications No studies were located that studied the impact of growth monitoring in LBW infants on clinical outcomes. and end up well below the 10th centile of the intrauterine reference by the time they reach term. Achieving a postnatal growth that approximates the in utero growth of a normal fetus at the same post-conception age is considered to be the logical approach by some experts. it must be recognized that even in 7. However. Oman. which is based on predominately breastfed infants living in favourable socioeconomic conditions in six developing and developed countries (Brazil. and then monthly until 12 months of chronological age.

Further. affordable. HIV-infected mothers of LBW infants may not know their HIV status at the time of birth. lactoferrin or lysozyme. There are no data on the risks of HIV transmission in infants who moved from formula/mixed feeding to EBF early in life. even if the mother knows her HIV status she may not have received HIV and infant feeding counselling. the balance of benefits and risks of breastfeeding in LBW infants may be similar to that in non-LBW infants. heat treatment by flash and Pretoria pasteurization methods inactivates HIV (76–79).3). Both methods have been shown to reduce HIV-1 by >3 logs and eliminate bacterial contaminants.tis or cracked nipples). or EBF for the first few months of life and cessation of breastfeeding as early as possible. and 10. Neither method was reported to cause significant decrease in any vitamin. There is evidence from observational studies in South Africa that the risk of HIV transmission is lower if infants are exclusively breastfed 00 Optimal feeding Of lOw-birth-weight infants: technical review . Thus. neurodevelopment and malnutrition/growth in LBW infants born to HIV-positive mothers. feasible. No data were located that examined the impacts of heat treatment of mother’s own milk in HIV-positive mothers of LBW infants. Effects on serious morbidity – HIV transmission recommendations The current UN recommendations on feeding infants of HIV-positive women are replacement feeding when this is acceptable. some studies have questioned a causal link and have provided data suggesting the potential for reverse causality. while flash treatment resulted in undetectable reverse transcriptase activity (76–79). but studies have shown that acceptability is variable (371. HIV transmission rates/100 child-years at 6 months were 5. sustainable and safe.7 for predominant breastfeeding. No studies were located which examined the impact of choice of milk or counselling on HIV and infant feeding on mortality rates.1 and 2. results Effects on mortality.e. We looked for published studies on the following issues: • Choice of milk in infants born to HIVpositive mothers. These methods could be implemented by a mother in a developing country.5 for mixed feeding. 6. The risks of infection from replacement feeding are also likely to be higher in LBW than non-LBW infants as the former have a higher risk of impaired immunity and of infection (see sections 2. in the first months of life (367). there is a twofold higher risk of becoming HIV-infected during intrapartum and early breastfeeding periods in pre-term infants than in infants born after 37 weeks (366–368). neurodevelopment and malnutrition (EBF). especially if this is earlier than expected. infants who are HIV-positive and unwell are more likely not to be exclusively breastfed (370). i. 372). • Counselling on infant feeding for HIVpositive mothers of LBW infants. It was not possible to provide additional recommendations due to insufficient evidence. compared with mixed feeding. However. severe morbidity. A recent study from Zimbabwe supports this observation (369). In non-LBW infants. There is no difference in the recommendations for normal and LBW infants. Among infants born to HIV-positive mothers.1 for exclusive breastfeeding.

The calories may be provided as protein. Very low birth weight infant (VLBW) = infant with birth weight less than 1500 g. fat or carbohydrate and the balance between calories and protein may be critical in determining the type of growth. Compared to unsupplemented human milk or ‘standard infant formula’. ‘Post-discharge formulas’ are intermediate in composition between ‘pre-term’ and ‘term’ formulas. based on the composition of mature breastmilk. phosphorus. Term infant = infant born between 37 and 42 weeks of gestational age. calcium. Nutrient-enriched post-discharge formula = formula especially designed for LBW infants after they have reached term gestational age.annex 1 Definitions Low birth weight infant (LBW) = infant with birth weight less than 2500 g. phospho0 . Most have an energy content of about 80 kcal/100ml. Stable growing period = the period beginning when the infant is metabolically and clinically stable and ending when the infant reaches 37 weeks of post-conception age. Pre-term formulas are enriched in calories (approximately 80 kcal/100ml) and variably in protein and minerals to support intra-uterine nutrient accretion rates. Post-term birth = birth occurring after 42 weeks of gestational age. corrected for prematurity) = the age of the infant in weeks from the date of birth minus the number of weeks that the infant was born early. ‘Pre-term formulas’ also contain at least 2 g/100ml of protein so that the premature infant will receive 3 g/ kg/d of protein when fed at 150 ml/kg/day. often in a form that is more easily absorbed and metabolised. Pre-term birth = birth occurring before 37 weeks of gestational age. The concentration of protein is approximately 1. Corrected age (i. zinc. In spite of the higher carbohydrate and mineral content. Pre-term infant = infant born before 37 weeks of gestational age. Term birth = birth occurring between 37 and 42 weeks of gestational age. Kangaroo mother care (KMC) = early continuous and prolonged skin-to-skin contact between the mother and infant combined with exclusive breastfeeding. the osmolality of ‘preterm formulas’ remains low at around 250– 320 mOsm/kg H2O. The typical energy content is 68 kcal/100ml. Chronological age = the age of the infant in weeks from the date of birth without correcting for prematurity. sodium. copper and vitamins. Compared to unsupplemented human milk or ‘standard infant formula’. Standard infant formula = formula designed for term infants.e. Appropriate for gestational age (AGA) = an infant whose birth weight is between the 10th centile and the 90th centile for gestational age at birth. Small for gestational age (SGA) = an infant whose birth weight is less than the 10th centile for gestational age at birth. pre-term formulas contain more protein. Transition period = the period from birth to 7 days when infants are likely to be clinically and metabolically unstable and to lose weight. ‘post-discharge formulas’ contain more protein.5 g/100ml and the calcium and phosphorus content 50 mg/100ml and 30 mg/100ml respectively. Pre-term infant formula = formula especially designed for premature infants. sodium. calcium.

Rooting = the response of a baby when the side of the cheek is touched. often in a form that is easily absorbed and metabolised. Early initiation of ‘maintenance’ enteral feeds = enteral feeding of at least 40 ml/kg/ day for the first 24 hours of life Trophic feeding or minimal enteral nutrition = any enteral milk feed in the first 24 hours of life in sub-nutritional quantities (e. ‘Post-discharge formulas’ also contain at least 2 g/100ml of protein so that the infant will receive 3 g/kg/d of protein when fed at 150 ml/kg/day. regardless of intercurrent disease. zinc. and do not depend on continuous medical monitoring and support (e. the osmolality of ‘post-discharge formula’ remains low at around 250–320 mOsm/kg H2O. In spite of the higher carbohydrate and mineral content. juice or tea) but no solids. which makes him turn to the breast with the mouth wide open Feasibility = the practicability of implementing an intervention in a first referral healthcare facility in a developing country. Enteral feeding = administration of any feed into the gastrointestinal tract. a low bone mineral content or peak alkaline phosphatase of >1200 IU. direct expression. use of a mechanical ventilator). Partial breastfeeding = breastfeeding plus water-based fluids.g. bottle and breastfeeding but not gastric tube feeding. Oral feeding = administration of any feed into the oral cavity. it includes intragastric feeding and cup. Non-breastfed = no breastmilk given. and “early hypo-caloric feeding”).g. Most have an energy content of about 70 kcal/100ml (22 kcal/oz). Early catch-up is defined as fast growth in infancy among small newborns and late catch-up is defined as improvement in growth from 1 year of age until adulthood. Unstable infant = an infant who has danger signs and is subject to rapid and unexpected worsening. bottle and breastfeeding. given intermittently. Predominant breastfeeding = breastfeeding plus water-based fluids (e. Stable infant = an infant whose vital functions (particularly the respiration and heart rate) are not subject to rapid and unexpected worsening. solids. spoon. Bolus feeding = a calculated amount of fluid. “gut priming”. Catch-up growth = any improvement in centiles or z scores. copper and vitamins. 0 Optimal feeding Of lOw-birth-weight infants: technical review . paladai. every 1–4 hours depending on weight and gestational age. syringe. water. Paladai = a traditional feeding device used in some South Indian communities. milks or gruels. it includes cup. milks or gruels. whose vital functions depend on continuous medical monitoring and support.rus.g. Exclusive breastfeeding (EBF) = breastfeeding with no supplemental liquid or solid foods other than medications or vitamins. 5– 10 ml/kg/day on the first day) (also called “minimal enteral feeding”. It is shaped like a small cup (30 ml capacity) with an open spout for pouring the milk gently into the infant’s mouth. Metabolic bone disease or osteopenia of prematurity = characteristic osteopenic radiological appearance.

case control studies. Evidence obtained from a systematic review of all relevant randomized controlled trials II Evidence obtained from at least one properly designed randomized controlled trial III-1 Evidence obtained from well-designed pseudo-randomized controlled trials (alternate allocation or some other method) III-2 Evidence obtained from comparative studies with concurrent controls and allocation not randomized (cohort studies).annex 2 Levels of evidence Levels of evidence were rated according to the following scale (US Preventative Services Task Force 1989). or interrupted time series without a parallel control group IV Evidence obtained from case series. two or more single-arm studies. or interrupted time series with a control group III-3 Evidence obtained from comparative studies with historical control. I. either post-test or pre-test and post-test 0 .

most studies were initiated over 20 years ago and used standard infant formula milk as the comparison. A meta-analysis of cohort studies. The 3 RCTs identified did not measure effect of EBF duration on mortality and morbidity and only one trial reported effects on neurodevelopment. The sample sizes of two of these studies were small. one with adequate sample size) examined the mortality effect of a large dose (50. The studies examining the effects on mortality and necrotising enterocolitis were too small to get precise estimates. SGA infants. which is predominantly fore milk. Zinc Findings are based on RCTs. In most studies. Most of these studies used donor drip milk. Iron The findings are based on observational studies examining iron status of breastfed LBW infants and two RCTs that examined effects of iron supplementation on iron status in LBW infants. Calcium and phosphorus The findings are based on two small RCTs. One of the three observational studies did not adjust for confounding.annex 3 Sources and quality of evidence ToPIC nuTRITIOn Breastfeeding or mother’s own expressed milk SouRCES AND QuALITy oF EVIDENCE Three of the five studies that examined the effects on infection were observational. Findings are largely based on RCTs and their meta-analysis. which adjusted for appropriate confounders. most studies were conducted in term. Further. The findings are based on 5 RCTs and their meta-analyses.000 IU in one or two divided doses) of vitamin A during the first days of life. There are limited data available. There was a large amount of missing data in the studies Vitamin A There are no data examining the effect of usually recommended dose of 700–1500 IU/kg body weight daily. Contrary to other issues. Vitamin D The findings are from case series and a single RCT that compared a high dose of vitamin D (2000 IU per day) with the usual dose of 400 IU per day. Most of these RCTs had smaller than appropriate sample sizes. was the basis of findings related to neurodevelopment. Three RCTs (2 small. Donor human milk Optimal duration of exclusive breastfeeding Human milk supplementation with multicomponent fortifier Human milk supplementation with single nutrients 0 . comparison group was infants fed standard infant formula. The trials were small and unblinded.

The findings are largely based on 3 RCTs examining the effect of nutrient-enriched post-discharge formula compared with standard formula on neurodevelopment and growth. The studies included in the meta-analyses were heterogeneous and subject to observer and diagnostic surveillance bias. standard formula FEEDIng METHODS Cup feeding vs. orogastric tubes Bolus vs. continuous feeding FEEDIng SCHEDuLES Trophic feeding or minimal enteral nutrition Initiation of ‘maintenance’ No studies examined the role of early initiation of breastfeeding enteral feeding in LBW infants. A systematic review and meta-analysis of 10 RCTs was located. The only available studies were from the 1960s which examined impacts of nasogastric feeding on day 1 in pre-term infants. Nutrient-enriched postdischarge formula vs.ToPIC SouRCES AND QuALITy oF EVIDENCE Pre-term vs. There are no data for other outcomes None of the available studies examined the effects of different oral feeding methods on key clinical outcomes. One study compared cup. The trials were of intermediate methodological quality. 80% of study participants were <1500 g at birth. well designed RCT comparing pre-term infant formula with standard term infant formula in pre-term infants. Two RCTs and 6 observational studies examined the effect of cup feeding compared to bottle feeding on breastfeeding rates at hospital discharge. Volume of enteral feeds in the second week of life annex 3 0 . Progression of enteral feeding The findings are based on meta-analyses of RCTs from developed countries. Only one small descriptive study was located. Most studies were of poor quality and longer-term outcomes (post hospital discharge) were not assessed. Many studies did not mention how randomization was concealed. All had design flaws and two of the 4 studies did not provide results stratified by birth weight or gestation. ‘paladai’ and bottle feeding. standard infant formula The findings are largely based on one large. bottle feeding Use of nasogastric vs. Only 1 small RCT was located which compared the administration of different daily fluid volumes in the second week of life in infants who were <30 weeks gestation at birth. The findings are based on meta-analyses of RCTs or large RCTS performed in developed country infants <1500 g at birth. The studies had small sample sizes and inconsistencies in controlling variables that affect outcomes. did not attempt blind assessments and did not include results for all infants randomized.

An intervention study that examined the effect of sucking on ‘emptied breast’ was also identified Eight RCTs in infants <2000 g were located which examined the effect of early discharge of low birth weight infants after they were clinically stable. Three studies were located which described the effects of maternal participation in care of their LBW infants The findings are based on results of two RCTs in pre-term and SGA infants. but no information on safety is available. One RCT and two observational studies which examined the effects of KMC in un-stabilized LBW infants were identified Findings are based on a meta-analysis of 3 small RCTs. No information was available in mothers of larger LBW infants. The studies were of moderate to poor methodological quality (unblinded. No studies were located which examined the impact of HIV and infant feeding counselling of HIV-positive mothers of LBW infants or the choice of milk on key clinical outcomes. One was a small study in infants <1500 g and the other was a subgroup analysis of a community-based intervention trial of EBF promotion. No implications can be drawn for infants of particular gestational ages or birth weights. Four observational studies were located that examined the association of low blood glucose with subsequent outcomes. on full oral feeds and mother demonstrated satisfactory care-taking skills. No studies were located which examined the impact of growth monitoring on key clinical outcomes. The findings of this section are based on 2 small trials in mothers of infants <32 weeks gestation. Results are difficult to interpret due to small sample sizes and other methodological flaws. No studies were found that examined the impact of such monitoring on improved survival. no comparative studies were available to allow decisions to be made about the safest or most effective regimes. The 3 available RCTs only included stabilized LBW infants. Demand or scheduled feeding SuPPORT Kangaroo mother care Non-nutritive sucking Early discharge from hospital Involvement of mothers in care and feeding of their LBW infants Breastfeeding counselling Drug therapy MOnITORIng Blood glucose monitoring Growth monitoring HIV AnD InFAnT FEEDIng 0 Optimal feeding Of lOw-birth-weight infants: technical review . large proportion of drop-outs and loss to follow-up).ToPIC SouRCES AND QuALITy oF EVIDENCE Feed frequencies and intervals Only case series and descriptive studies were located in this section. growth or neurodevelopment. Only 1 small study was located which examined impacts of demand feeding of pre-term infants by the time they had reached 1800 g. However.

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