Aim: To evaluate whether preterm neonates weighing 1000-1499 g at birth receiving rapid enteral feeding advancement at 30 mL/kg/day attain full feedings (180 mL/kg/day) earlier than those receiving slow enteral feeding advancement at 20 mL/kg/day without increase in the incidence of feeding intolerance or necrotizing enterocolitis.
Methods: A total of 100 stable intramural neonates weighing between 1000 and 1499 g and gestational age less than 34 weeks were randomly allocated to enteral feeding (expressed human milk or formula) advancement of 20 mL/kg/day (n = 50) or 30 mL/kg/day (n = 50).
Results: Neonates in the rapid feeding advancement group achieved full volume feedings before the slow advancement group (median 7 days vs. 9 days) (p < 0.001), had significantly fewer days of intravenous fluids (median 2 days vs. 3.4 days) (p < 0.001), shorter length of stay in hospital (median 9.5 days vs. 11 days) (p = 0.003) and regained birth weight earlier (median 16 days vs. 22 days) (p < 0.001). There were no statistical differences in the proportion of infants with apnea, feed interruption or feed intolerance.
Conclusion: Rapid enteral feeding advancements of 30 mL/kg/day are well tolerated by stable preterm neonates weighing 1000-1499 g.