Dr Ann Dsilna and colleagues from Sweden compared the effects of continuous versus intermittent feeding on gastrointestinal tolerance and growth in very low birth weight infants.
The research team conducted a randomized, controlled trial at 3 neonatal units.
The team randomly assigned 70 premature infants with a gestational age 24 to 29 weeks and birth weight less than 1200 g to 1 of 3 feeding methods.
The infants received either continuous nasogastric feeding, intermittent nasogastric feeding, or intermittent orogastric feeding.
|Improvement was more pronounced in the smallest infants, with 850g birth weight|
|Journal of Pediatrics|
Feeding was initiated within 30 hours of birth.
The researchers recorded daily enteral and parenteral volumes, caloric and protein intakes, growth, enteral intolerance, and clinical complications.
Cox regression analysis was used to determine primary outcome, the time to achieve full enteral feeding.
The researchers found that continuously fed infants achieved full enteral feeding significantly faster than the intermittently fed infants.
In stratified analysis according to birth weight, the improvement was even more pronounced in the smallest infants, those with a birth weight of 850 g .
The research team observed that growth rate was significantly faster in the continuously fed infants.
Dr Dsilna's team concluded, “In very low birth weight infants, continuous feeding seems to be better than intermittent feeding with regard to gastrointestinal tolerance and growth.”