Author(s): Svenningsen NW
In a prospective longitudinal study of 48 very low birth weight and preterm infants with mean birth weight 1385 +/- 343 g and gestational age 30.8 +/- 2.9 weeks an assessment was made of the impact of varying the protein intake in the postnatal period from the 3rd to 7th week of life. The infants were randomly allocated to one of three dietary groups with isocaloric energy supply but different protein content, i.e. human milk (1.6 g/100 kcal), formula 1 (2.3 g/100 kcal) and formula 2 (3.0 g/100 kcal). In the human milk group 12 of 18 infants were fed their own mother's breastmilk. During the study period the mean weight gain was slight higher in the infants fed formula. There were no group differences in S-albumin but B-urea-N and B-base deficit were significantly higher in formula-fed infants compared to infants fed human milk. After the study period that lasted to about 20 weeks of age the slope in weight gain remained slightly higher for formula fed infants, whereas the gain in body length and hear circumference was equal in all three groups. After around 8 months of age there was no difference in any growth parameter. Neurodevelopmental examinations showed no group differences during the follow-up period to 2 years of age. With few exceptions breastmilk-preferably from their own mothers-was adequate for both early and longterm growth and development of the very low birth weight infants in this population.