Guidelines for Feeding Very Low Birth Weight Infants
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Despite the fact that feeding a very low birth weight (VLBW) neonate is a fundamental and inevitable part of its management, this is a field which is beset with controversies. Optimal nutrition improves growth and neurological outcomes, and reduces the incidence of sepsis and possibly even retinopathy of prematurity. There is a great deal of heterogeneity of practice among neonatologists and pediatricians regarding feeding VLBW infants. A working group on feeding guidelines for VLBW infants was constituted in McMaster University, Canada. The group listed a number of important questions that had to be answered with respect to feeding VLBW infants, systematically reviewed the literature, critically appraised the level of evidence, and generated a comprehensive set of guidelines. These guidelines form the basis of this state-of-art review. The review touches upon trophic feeding, nutritional feeding, fortification, feeding in special circumstances, assessment of feed tolerance, and management of gastric residuals, gastro-esophageal reflux, and glycerin enemas.
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