Objectives To verify feasibility and impact on breast feeding at discharge of two different strategies for transferring preterm infants from incubator to open cot and discharging them.
Methods This study includes all preterm infants with gestational age <35 weeks and birth weight <1800 g admitted between 1 Jan 2006 and 31 Dec 2007. In 2006 we transferred babies from incubator to open cot at 1800 g and discharged them at 2000 g. In 2007 transition to open cot was allowed at 1700 g and discharge at 1800 g. A short term follow up was made 8 days after discharge.
Results 39 newborns admitted in 2006 (GA: 32.3 + 1.5 w.; BW: 1495 + 185 g) were compared with 41 admitted in 2007 (GA: 32.5 + 1.4 w; BW: 1554 + 212 g). The two groups had similar baseline characteristics. Postconceptional age at discharge was 36 weeks and 6 days in 2006 vs 36 weeks and 2 days in 2007. Mean weight at discharge was lower in 2007 than in 2006 ((2041 + 195 g vs 2136 + 185 g; p<0.05) and length of stay was also shorter in 2007 (22 days vs 27 days; p<0.007). Breast feeding at discharge increased from 59% to 70%. No problems were detected at the follow-up.
Conclusions Our 2007 criteria for transition from incubators to open cot and early discharge allowed us to reduce the length of stay and to increase the breast feeding at discharge without any significant adverse effect.