Aim: To evaluate the plasma glucose levels in normal, term infants who were appropriate size for gestational age (AGA) and exclusively breast fed, and to assess the influence of parity of the mother, mode of delivery, and time of feed on the glucose levels.
Method: A total of 200 healthy, term, AGA infants were longitudinally evaluated at 3, 6, 24, and 72 hours of life. Plasma glucose was estimated from heel prick capillary samples. The influence of mode of delivery, parity, and interval between feeds on plasma glucose was analysed.
Results: There was no significant difference between the plasma glucose levels of the cohorts at any of the sampling time points. Parity, mode of delivery, and time since the last feed did not affect plasma glucose. Satisfactory glucose levels were maintained even when infants remained unfed up to 6 hours of age. Infants with plasma glucose concentrations less than 2.2 mmol/l at 3 hours of age were more likely to have low sugar concentration (< 2.5 mmol/l) at 72 hours (RR = 6.55, 95% confidence interval 3.93 to 10.92).
Conclusions: A term, breast fed infant may have its own distinct plasma glucose levels, showing no significant variation between 3 and 72 hours of age. Plasma glucose levels are satisfactorily maintained in normal term infants without resort to prelacteal feeds. Mode of delivery, parity of the mother, and interval between feeds did not influence plasma glucose. Biochemical thresholds for hypoglycaemia do not seem to be of practical importance in asymptomatic, normal, term, breast fed infants.
- breast feeding
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