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Dextrose gel treatment does not impair subsequent feeding
  1. Philip J Weston1,
  2. Deborah L Harris1,
  3. Jane E Harding2
  1. 1Department of Paediatrics, Waikato Hospital, Hamilton, New Zealand
  2. 2Liggins Institute, University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand
  1. Correspondence to Dr Philip J Weston, Department of Paediatrics, Waikato Hospital, Pembroke St, Hamilton 3200, New Zealand; Phil.Weston{at}


Background Dextrose gel is increasingly used as first-line treatment for neonatal hypoglycaemia. Treatment with 400 mg/kg previously has been reported to impair subsequent feeding. We sought to determine if the recommended dose of 200 mg/kg altered feeding.

Methods Hypoglycaemic babies were randomised to 200 mg/kg dextrose gel or placebo and fed. Prefeed alertness, quality and duration of breast feeding, and the volume of formula taken were assessed on the next feeding.

Results Prefeed alertness scores were similar in babies (n=211) treated with dextrose or placebo gel (124 episodes, OR=1.30 (95% CI 0.62 to 2.77), p=0.49). Breastfed babies were more likely to have good feeding scores after dextrose gel (160 episodes, OR=3.54 (95% CI 1.30 to 9.67), p=0.01) but similar breastfeeding duration (57 episodes, median (range) 20 (3–90) vs 25 (2–80) min, p=0.62). Formula volumes taken were also similar (24 episodes, median (range) 4.6 (2.2–11.3) vs 6.4 (2.0–8.9) mL/kg, p=0.30).

Conclusions Treating hypoglycaemic babies with dextrose gel 200 mg/kg does not depress subsequent feeding and may improve breastfeeding quality.

Trial registration number ACTRN 12608000623392.

  • Infant Feeding
  • Metabolic
  • Neonatology

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  • Contributors PJW wrote the first draft of the manuscript and contributed to the subsequent revisions. He also contributed to the study design, data collection, data analysis and interpretation.

    DLH contributed to the literature search, study design, data collection, analysis, interpretation and writing the manuscript.

    JEH contributed to the study design, data analysis, interpretation and writing the manuscript, in addition to having overall responsibility for the Sugar Babies Study.

  • Funding The Sugar Babies Study was funded by the Waikato Medical Research Foundation, the Auckland Medical Research Foundation, the Maurice and Phyllis Paykel Trust, the Health Research Council of New Zealand, and the Rebecca Roberts Scholarship.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Ethics approval Northern Y Ethics Committee, Ministry of Health, New Zealand.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Data sharing statement Additional data may be available to researchers on application to the chair of the Steering Group, Professor Jane Harding.