4 Must-Know Nutrition Tips for Premature Infants
[US News, 12/28/18] PREMATURE INFANTS HAVE a lot of special nutrition needs. Combined with their tiny bodies and tinier stomachs, making sure these babies get what they need is a big concern for parents.
At birth, premature infants’ brains, organs, bones and other tissues have not yet fully developed, explains registered dietitian Michelle Johnson, a pediatric nutrition scientist at Abbot Nutrition and neonatal intensive care unit clinical nutritionist. The roughly 1 in 10 U.S. babies who are born before 37 weeks of gestation each year have an increased risk of infant death, developmental delays, neurological and behavioral disorders, vision loss, asthma and other complications that can extend into adulthood, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Nutrition is critical to giving these babies the best start possible, Johnson says. She explains that the nutrients they consume serve as building blocks to help them grow and develop.
Exactly how the nutritional needs of preemies vary from those of full-term infants is based on how prematurely the baby was born. That’s why, for parents of premature infants, it’s important to partner with health care providers, including any NICU staff, to establish the best nutritional plan for your individual baby’s needs, says Nicole Avena, assistant professor of neuroscience at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine and author of “What to Feed Your Baby and Toddler.”…………..
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