Background and Aims Readmission of neonates due to weight loss and feeding difficulties to hospital following discharge continues to be a concern. This audit was done to study the incidence, clinical characteristics and laboratory markers of neonates admitted with feeding difficulties and weight loss.
Methods Clinical notes and discharge summaries of babies ≤ 28 days old admitted to hospital over a period of ten months from June 2011 to March 2012 were reviewed. Information was recorded regarding age at admission, weight loss, final diagnosis and feeding method.
Results A total of 114 neonates were re-admitted to hospital during this period. Of these 34 (30%) were due to feeding difficulties ± jaundice. 29/34 of these were due to weight loss related to breastfeeding. Other 5 neonates were bottle fed and needed treatment for jaundice ± supervision of feeding in hospital. Among the 29 breast fed babies, 19 (65%) had significant weight loss of >10%, 9 had 10–14% and 10 had ≥ 15%. The median age at presentation was 5 days (2–12 days), median sodium level with >15% weight loss babies was 152 (143–162).
Conclusions A significant number of neonatal re-admissions were due to abnormal weight loss of ≥10% and majority were due to failure to establish breastfeeding. An earlier audit in 2009 had identified need for more breast feeding support. Although systems to support breast feeding mothers in community are in place, more support needs to be established including regular assessment of weight to avoid hospital re-admissions.