No body weight curves are available for preterm infants < 1000 g birth weight receiving early enteral and parenteral nutrition. Postnatal weight changes of 136 infants with a birth weight < 1000 g were analysed retrospectively. Body weight curves for the first 30 days of life were generated for five separate birth weight groups (430-599 g, 600-699 g, 700-799 g, 800-899 g, 900-999 g). All infants had received intravenous glucose and amino acids from day 1 and intravenous lipids from day 2. Enteral feeding was started on day 1. Thus caloric intake (+/-SD) was advanced to 384+/-46 kJ/kg per day (92+/-11 kcal/kg/day) in the 1st week of life. In 136 preterm infants mean postnatal weight loss was 10.1%+/-4.6% of birth weight, birth weight was regained at a mean postnatal age of 11+/-3.7 days, but significantly earlier (7.8+/-3.5 days) in the lowest compared to the highest weight group. Mean subsequent weight gain was 15.7+/-7.2 g/ kg per day. This was accomplished by exclusive enteral nutrition from day 20 (median).
Conclusion: Our body weight curves are more adequate to evaluate growth of preterm infants than older published reference values because they are based on infants treated according to current nutritional standards.