A premature infant is a baby born before 37 completed weeks of gestation (more than 3 weeks before the “due date”).
At birth, a baby is classified as one of the following:
Premature (less than 37 weeks gestation)
Full term (37 to 42 weeks gestation)
Post term (born after 42 weeks gestation)
For premature infants, adequate growth while in the neonatal intensive care unit is an indicator of better long-term health and developmental outcomes. Researchers at the USDA/ARS Children's Nutrition Research Center at Baylor College of Medicine and Texas Children's Hospital have now successfully incorporated a cream supplement into premature infants' diets that improved their growth outcomes in the NICU. The report appears today in the Journal of Pediatrics.
“For premature babies who weigh less than 1,000 grams (about 2 pounds, 2 ounces), one of the problems is that their lungs and other organs are still developing when they are born. If the infant gains weight and increases in length at a good rate while in the NICU, this helps improve their outcomes,” said Dr. Amy Hair, assistant professor of pediatrics at Baylor, neonatologist at Texas Children's Hospital and first author of the study.
Previous research has shown that an exclusive human milk diet …
Researchers have now successfully incorporated a cream supplement into premature infants’ diets that improved their growth outcomes in the NICU, which includes human milk fat. Texas Children's has significantly reduced its rates of necrotizing enterocolitis, one of the most devastating and potentially fatal diseases a neonate can face, by implementing a human milk feeding protocol for all infants weighing less than 3.3 pounds.
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