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Resources & Frequently Asked Questions

What is the supporting evidence for dietitian follow up for preterm infants?

“Nutrition is a key determinant for neonatal survival, growth, and neurodevelopment in infants born extremely preterm. [...] Growth, feed intake, and quality of feeding should be assessed at discharge, then closely monitored at expected term and every two - four weeks after discharge until a trend on an appropriate growth curve is established.”

 

From: Follow-up care of the extremely preterm infant after discharge from the neonatal intensive care unit Pediatric Child Health 2022 27(6):359–364.

“Dietitians are highly trained professionals skilled at assessing, diagnosing and managing the nutritional care needs of neonates. Consideration should be given to provision of enhanced nutritional support for at risk infants after discharge.”

From: The British Association of Perinatal Medicine Service and Quality Standards for the Provision of Neonatal Care in the UK.  November 2022.  www.bapm.org

2

How common are feeding problems in preterm infants? 

“Our results demonstrate higher rates of oromotor difficulties and behavioral eating challenges during late infancy and early childhood among children born preterm than among their term-born peers.” 

From: Walton K et al. Eating Behaviors, Caregiver Feeding Interactions, and Dietary Patterns of Children Born Preterm: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Adv Nutr. 2022 May; 13(3): 875–912

"Problematic feeding is highly prevalent in prematurely-born children in the first 4 years of life regardless of degree of prematurity. Healthcare providers of children born preterm should consider screening for problematic feeding throughout early childhood as a potential complication of preterm birth"

From: Prevalence of problematic feeding in young children born prematurily: A metanalysis. BMC Pediatr 2021 Mar 6; 21(1):110

3

Some very preterm infants are recommended to continue special recipes after discharge, what is the evidence to support this?

“Adding a multinutrient foritifer to approximately one half of the milk provided to predominantly human milk fed infants for 12 weeks after hospital discharge may be an effective strategy in addressing early discharge nutrient deficits and poor growth.”

From: O'Connor D et al.  Growth and nutrient intakes of human milk-fed preterm infants provided with extra energy and nutrients after hospital discharge. Pediatrics. 2008 Apr;121(4):766-76.

4

Why is it a good idea to add a private practice pediatric dietitian to your health care team? 

  • There is a growing body of literature connecting adequate growth after discharge with improved neurodevelopmental outcomes. Proactive interventions can help mitigate the development of disordered eating and parental feeding relationships

  • Continued support post discharge improves ongoing provision of breast milk and/ or breast feeding. 

  • Virtual service supports families not having to leave home to access care

  • Varying level of preterm infant nutrition expertise among community health partners 

  • Not all hospitals with neonatal intensive care units have capacity or access to a dietitian for nutrition follow up post discharge

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