The postnatal weight pattern up to 14 weeks after birth was determined in 184 singleton survivors born at 23 to 29 weeks' gestation in whom routine parenteral nutrition was used before milk feeding was established. A mean postnatal weight loss of 14% of birth weight occurred at a mean of 6 days. The more immature infants had significantly higher postnatal weight loss and longer time to regain birth weight despite a higher volume intake in the first week. From the fourth postnatal week all gestational subgroups had a mean weight gain at above intrauterine growth rate. As a result of the initial period of weight loss, however, the mean body weight remained below the 10th percentile of the intrauterine growth curve. The early growth rate in infants small for gestational age was higher than those who were appropriate weight for gestation, although the mean body weight of the former group remained significantly lower at 2 years.
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