EVIDENCE-BASED FEEDING GUIDELINES FOR VERY LOW-BIRTH-WEIGHT INFANTS
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Clinical practice guidelines (CPG) for the nutritional management of premature infants are limited. This project focused on the development of a research-based enteral feeding CPG for infants of < 1,500 g. The CPG was based on an extensive literature review and developed through a process of consensus decision making by a team of clinical researchers. Infants that weigh < 1,000 g initiate minimal enteral nutrition (MEN) at 48 hours; nutritional feedings begin on day 5 to 6 of life. For infants between 1,000 and 1,500 g, nutritional feedings begin at 48 hours and are advanced at a rate of less than 30 mL/kg per day. The benefits and risks of continuous versus intermittent nasogastric tube feeding were inconclusive; therefore, the CPG does not stipulate a feeding method. Breast milk is used preferentially, and specific guidelines for the definition and management of feeding intolerance are provided. A follow-up study testing this CPG has been completed and is published in the original research section of this issue.
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