New Diet Recommendations for Preterm Babies
Friday, May 17, 2013
The American Academy of Pediatrics released new dietary recommendations
for preterm babies while they are in intensive care units and after they go home.
The new recommendations focus on enhancing bone health and include:
- Provide 200 to 400 IU of vitamin D during hospitalizations and after discharge from the hospital
- Preterm babies who weigh less than 3.5 pounds should be given calcium and phosphorus supplements to strengthen bones
"These are standardized recommendations, but the things they’re asking us to do have been available for years," said Children’s National Health System neonatologist Mary Revenis, MD. "The practice at Children’s is already in compliance with what they recommend and Children’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit has a program in place to assess the bone health of preterm babies to follow bone health status and bone health abnormalities that could develop."
Dr. Revenis added that Children’s National, along with the calcium and vitamin D requirements, offers physical therapy to preterm infants to help their bones move and become stronger.
The most important changes in these new requirements are what parents should know when they take their preterm baby home:
- Preterm babies may be required to be on transitional formula and not full-term baby formula
- Vitamin D supplementation is recommended for preterm, and very low birth weight infants (less than 3.3 pounds)
- For babies on a breast milk diet, a doctor may recommend some feedings during the day include transitional formula
Consult your child’s pediatrician for any questions or more dietary tips.
About the Expert
Mary Revenis, MD, is an attending neonatologist in the Division of Neonatology at Children's National Health System. Her areas of expertise include nutrition and bone health of newborns and newborn immunizations.