Aims To compare energy and protein intake with recommendations1 in a sample of preterm infants for 28 days after birth and to study the impact this intake has on short term growth.
Methods 28 days of data on energy and protein intake from both parental and enteral fluids were recorded retrospectively from the nursing charts of 30 infants born <32 weeks.
Results By 28 days 43% met recommendations for energy and 20% for protein. Data are medians and range. Infants accumulated an energy deficit of 349 kcal/kg (915–203) and a protein deficit of 20 g/kg (34–6.8). No significant associations were found between energy intake and weight gain (r=0.29; p=0.120) or protein intake and weight gain (r=0.325; p=0.076). At day 21 infants given breast milk fortifier (BMF) had an energy intake of 121 kcal/kg (102–132) compared to infants not on BMF who had an intake of 105 kcal/kg (87–125) (p<0.01). Significant differences were also observed with regard to protein intakes between these two groups and those were respectively 3 g/kg (2–3.5) and 2.2 g/kg (2–3.1) (p<0.05).
Conclusions: The audit confirmed that achieving recommended nutrients intake in preterm infants still an issue. Whether this truly compromises growth needs to be further explored on a larger sample. However, it was demonstrated that important factors such as late introduction of BMF can impact on the achievement of recommended intakes, particularly in the smallest babies.