Dietary Protein Intake, Breast Feeding and Growth in Human Milk Fed Preterm Infants
McPhee, Andrew J
Morris, Scott A
Gibson, Robert Alan
Collins, Carmel T
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Protein intakes of preterm infants are frequently below recommendations, but few studies report accurate intakes due to the difficulty of analysing human milk clinically. This observational analysis from a randomised trial of infants born <31 weeks’ gestation, investigating two levels of protein fortification, reports protein intakes compared with requirements and determines the association of direct breastfeeding on growth. Ninety-two infants (median gestational age 28 weeks, Interquartile range (IQR) 26–29; mean birth weight 1040 g, SD 300 g) were studied. Infants born weighing <1000 g were underfed protein compared with recommendations (median (IQR) intake of 3.0 (2.0–3.7) g/kg/day in week 2 versus recommendation of 4–4.5 g/kg/day), while those born weighing ≥1000 g met recommended protein intakes after the first week of life (median (IQR) intake of 3.7 (3.0–4.0) g/kg/day in week 2 versus recommendation of 3.5–4.5 g/kg/day). A moderate, negative correlation between the mean number of breast feeds and change in rate of weight gain (r = −0.37, p = 0.001) was found. Protein intakes of infants <1000 g did not meet recommendations and all infants were underfed protein and energy in the first week of life. Current protein fortification is inadequate for infants born <1000 g. Exploratory analysis showed faltering rate weight gain associated with increasing number of breast feeds and these results warrant confirmation
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