Objectives: To study the incidence of feed intolerance, apnea and hypoglycemia in neonates weighing <or=1750 g given 3 hourly feeds as against 2 hourly feeds.
Methods: Ninety-two neonates, weighing <or=1750 g and medically fit to receive feeds, were randomised to receive feeds either at 3 hourly or 2 hourly intervals.
Results: The incidence of feed intolerance was not different between 3 hourly and 2 hourly feeding groups [13%vs. 19%, OR 0.69 (95% CI 0.19-2.49)]. The incidence of apnea was 25 and 28%[OR 0.86 (95% CI 0.3-2.48)] and that of hypoglycemia was 21 and 26%[OR 0.75 (95% CI 0.24-2.3)] in 3 hourly and 2 hourly feeding groups, respectively. The incidence of necrotising enterocolitis was also similar (7%) in both the feeding groups. The total nursing time spent on feeding per day was significantly less in 3 hourly group.
Conclusions: In comparison to a 2 hourly schedule, a 3 hourly feeding schedule did not decrease the incidence of feed intolerance; it, however, did not increase the incidence of hypoglycemia or apnea. For practical convenience, a 3 hourly feeding schedule may be preferred over 2 hourly schedule in neonates weighing <or=1750 g.