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Nutritional Support for the Preterm Baby

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All babies require proper care to support their growth and development. But preterm babies who are born before 37 completed weeks of pregnancy require special care.

Monday, March 6th, 2017

Why do Preterm Babies Require Special Care?

During last weeks of pregnancy, important growth and development occur in a human baby. Preterm babies are born early, so they miss this growth phase in the womb. They weigh less than full term babies and their organs are not fully developed. Special care is taken in neonatal intensive care unit till their organ system works on their own.

Feeding Your Preterm Baby

Feed your preterm baby 8–10 times a day and keep no longer than 4 hours gap between feeds. This will prevent dehydration in your baby. Your baby should seem satisfied after each feed.

The Best Nutrition

Breast milk is the best food for your preterm baby. Most preterm babies have not developed the sucking and swallowing coordination. They can be fed
mother’s expressed breast milk by spoon and cup.

Initiating Complimentary Feeding

It takes longer time for preterm babies to develop swallowing ability. So, it is advised to start complimentary feeding at 6 months after the baby’s original due
date and not the birth date.

Passing up to 6–8 stools and wetting 6–8 diapers daily, ensure that the baby is getting enough nutrition. With proper nutrition support, preterm babies can catch
up in growth with the full term babies in time.

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