Aim: In 2002, the composition of the breast milk fortifier used in our hospital changed, giving increased protein and energy. We therefore decided to prospectively audit nutritional management in our unit and to compare nutritional intake and growth in our babies with published data.
Methods: Data were prospectively collected over a 3-month period on infants<1200 g or 30 weeks gestation. Prescribed and delivered volumes of all parenteral and enteral fluids were recorded. Babies were weighed as per unit protocol.
Results: Thirty-four infants met the audit criteria. Data are median (range). After the first week of life, energy and protein intakes were 147 (78-174) kcal/kg/day and 3.9 (2.1-4.8) g/kg/day respectively. Daily weight gain was 17 (-3.2-35.4) g/kg and was significantly associated with both energy and protein intakes (P<0.001). However, standard deviation scores for weight fell from 0.15 (-1.9-2.0) at birth to -1.0 (-2.9-0.8) by 36 weeks corrected age. Time to commencing enteral feeds was 1 (1-3) day and to full enteral feeds was 8 (5-28) days. One infant was diagnosed with necrotising enterocolitis and eight with chronic lung disease. Mean protein intake was significantly lower in babies with chronic lung disease (P=0.005).
Conclusion: Overall, nutritional intakes and weight gain in this cohort of babies lie within the recommended ranges, although protein intakes in the smallest babies are at the lower end of the range. Enteral feeds are introduced early and advanced rapidly, but we have a low incidence of necrotising enterocolitis. However, babies still fell across weight centiles, suggesting that actual intakes for these tiny babies may be inadequate.