low birth weight infant

Providing sufficient nutrition for a newly born child’s low birth weight is critical to accumulate the needed outcome like changes in weight, height, and head area. Proper nutrition also helps in treating adverse effects such as necrotising enterocolitis.

Proper feeding impacts the overall growth of an infant. The World Health Organization defines low-weight neonates as infants born below 2.5kgs, making it essential to optimise their preterm low birth weight by feeding nutrition.

Preterm Infant Treatment in Coimbatore

Top-notch neonatal care hospitals provide better assistance to each low birth infant. From ventilator to needed nutrition, medical care is given so the baby can gain an adequate amount of body weight and avoid any major disabilities.

Neonatal physicians proclaim that it is challenging to provide a sufficient amount of nutrition to newborn baby weight. The GI or gastrointestinal tract of a newly born baby is unable to accept feeding, which necessitates prenatal nutrition.

Moreover, inadequate intake of nutrients in infants have also resulted in postnatal growth restriction, which is why most hospitals throughout Coimbatore have taken initiatives to focus more on feeding to reduce the chances of postnatal growth restriction.

The trophic and anti-infectious effects that human milk has on the gastrointestinal tract is incredible, which is why this is the strongly preferred form of nutrition and an early feeding choice for premature infants.

Nutrient Requirements for Low-Birth-Weight Neonates

Two methods have determined nutrient requirements:

  • The factorial method
  • The empirical method

The earlier fetal method that was used helps in the intake of energy, protein, and other essential nutrients.

The factorial method is ideally suited for a premature fetus, where it uses the fetal method. In contrast, the empirical method uses feeding methods like human milk and formula.

Some NICU hospitals have data showing that preterm low-weight birth survivors are at higher risk of growth disabilities than their equivalents. Early administration of proper nutrition for low weight neonates is essential to reduce the risk of negative health outcomes.

A group of paediatricians, neonatologists, and nutritionists assembled to develop recommendations for managing the health of low birth neonates:

  • Expressed breast milk (EBM) is the prominent choice of nutritional feeding for low birth infants.
  • EBM has several benefits on neurological, cardiovascular, bone health, and other development factors.
  • Another choice of nutrition is donor’s sterilised human milk.
  • Enteral feeding is one of the safest options. Moreover, it is ideal for parenteral nutrition.
  • Early, rapid, or constant enteral feeding provides better outcomes than slow or intermittent feeding.
  • Regular or constant use of nasogastric tubes is not sensible.
  • Low weight infants can easily be nursed while on a ventilator.
  • The fetus can be fed with continuous positive airway pressure.

Nutrition for Low-Birth-Weight Infants

Developed or developing preterm labour and low birth weight infants are highly common. And in several developing countries, low birth weight remains a massive health problem. Moreover, several preterm baby hospitals in Coimbatore have observed that poor nutrition before and during pregnancy has been recognised as the primary reason behind low birth weight.

Recommendations by WHO for Feeding Low-Weight Neonates

  • Whether it is a low birth weight neonate or extremely low weight neonate, feeding them with their mother’s own milk is the optimum choice.
  • Both low birth weight infants and very low birth weight infants can be fed with donor mother milk if their own mother’s milk isn’t available.
  • Another measure for low birth weight and very low birth weight neonate is formula milk, which cannot be fed with their mother’s milk.
  • Very low birth weight infants who cannot get their mother’s milk or donor mother milk or are unable to gain weight with regular formula milk could be fed with preterm infant formula.
  • Both low birth and very low birth weight infants being fed with standard formula should be fed with the same up to 6 months starting from the day of discharge.
  • It is important to remember that low-birth infants fed with mothers’ milk or donor milk should not be provided with bovine, human milk fortifiers.
  • The very low birth weight infants who cannot gain weight even after adequate breastfeeding can be given human milk fortifiers.

Why is Adequate Nutrition Feeding Critical?

When an infant is born at preterm labour and has low birth weight, the rich supply of nutrition, which helps in the growth and development, is severely interrupted. Every neonatal and pediatric practitioner agrees that it is essential to provide a sufficient supply of nutrients that allow the low birth weight infant to grow like other fetuses in both velocity and structure.

Conclusion

The low birth weight infant is dependent on the intake of nutrients for proper growth. Thus, depending on the feeding possibilities, provide your newborn baby with an ample amount of milk to help him/her develop better growth and development possibilities.

Remember, the low birth weight infant, who is about to be fed breast milk, should be immediately provided with it once clinically stable.

By Sweta mehra

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