Background In premature infants optimal nutrition should be maintained and weight loss limited. Guidelines recommend incremental fluid/calorie intake to achieve 150mls/kg/day of fluid; 90kcal/kg/day calorie intake and 3.54g/kg/day of protein intake by 5 days age.
Aim To assess whether nutrition needs of very preterm infants are met with the current evidence based nutritional policy.
Methods A retrospective study was undertaken for 6 months at neonatal unit of North Tees hospital, UK. The daily intake of protein, calorie and fluid was calculated in the group of babies born < 32 weeks gestation. Unit guidelines recommend commencing TPN in < 24 hrs and early feeding. Babies who died before 14 days and those who were transferred to another unit within the same time period were excluded from the study.
Results Complete data was obtained from 20 consecutive babies over 6 month period. Median gestation was 29 weeks (range 27+5 to 31+6 weeks), birth weight 1300g (840 to 1890g).
Although babies had weight loss < 10% of their birth weight, nutritional intake varied significantly. The total intake was adequate but could achieve an average of 55 kcal/kg/day at by day 5 and not the recommended 90 Kcal/kg/day.
Conclusion Feeding policies are sub-optimal despite best efforts. The impact of this change should be assessed on long term outcomes.