Logo of archdischArchives of Disease in ChildhoodVisit this articleSubmit a manuscriptReceive email alertsContact usBMJ
Arch Dis Child. Aug 1984; 59(8): 722–730.
PMCID: PMC1628628

Multicentre trial on feeding low birthweight infants: effects of diet on early growth.


A large multicentre study on the short and long term clinical and developmental outcome of infants randomised to different diets is being undertaken. This report represents an interim analysis of the early postnatal growth performance of an unselected population of 194 preterm infants (gestation, mean (SD) 31 . 0 (2 . 9) weeks; birthweight, mean (SD) 1364 (294) g), both ill and well, examined in two (of four) parallel trials. One trial compared banked breast milk with a new preterm formula (primary trial); the other compared these diets as supplements to maternal milk (supplement trial). A major dietary effect on the number of days taken to regain birthweight and subsequent gains in weight, length, and head circumference was observed in the primary trial. Infants fed banked breast milk and weighing less than 1200 g at birth took a calculated additional three weeks to reach 2000 g compared with those fed on the preterm formula. A significant influence of diet on body proportions was seen in the relation between body weight, head circumference, and length. Similar though smaller differences in growth patterns were seen in the supplement trial. By the time they reach 2000 g, infants of birthweights 1200 to 1849 g fed on banked breast milk and infants below 1200 g fed on either banked breast milk or maternal milk supplemented (as necessary) with banked breast milk, fulfilled stringent criteria for failure to thrive (weight less than 2 SD below the mean for age). Only infants fed the preterm formula as their sole diet had maintained their birth centile by discharge from hospital. The misleading nature of comparisons between extrauterine and intrauterine steady state weight gains is emphasised.

Full text

Full text is available as a scanned copy of the original print version. Get a printable copy (PDF file) of the complete article (1.1M), or click on a page image below to browse page by page. Links to PubMed are also available for Selected References.

Selected References

These references are in PubMed. This may not be the complete list of references from this article.
  • Davies DP, Holding RE. Neonatometer: a new infant length measurer. Arch Dis Child. 1972 Dec;47(256):938–940. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Cole TJ. A method for assessing age-standardized weight-for-height in children seen cross-sectionally. Ann Hum Biol. 1979 May-Jun;6(3):249–268. [PubMed]
  • Brooke OG, Wood C, Barley J. Energy balance, nitrogen balance, and growth in preterm infants fed expressed breast milk, a premature infant formula, and two low-solute adapted formulae. Arch Dis Child. 1982 Dec;57(12):898–904. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Atkinson SA, Bryan MH, Anderson GH. Human milk feeding in premature infants: protein, fat, and carbohydrate balances in the first two weeks of life. J Pediatr. 1981 Oct;99(4):617–624. [PubMed]
  • Gross SJ. Growth and biochemical response of preterm infants fed human milk or modified infant formula. N Engl J Med. 1983 Feb 3;308(5):237–241. [PubMed]
  • Atkinson SA, Bryan MH, Anderson GH. Human milk: difference in nitrogen concentration in milk from mothers of term and premature infants. J Pediatr. 1978 Jul;93(1):67–69. [PubMed]
  • Hibberd CM, Brooke OG, Carter ND, Haug M, Harzer G. Variation in the composition of breast milk during the first 5 weeks of lactation: implications for the feeding of preterm infants. Arch Dis Child. 1982 Sep;57(9):658–662. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Lucas A. Availability of preterm milk. Lancet. 1983 May 7;1(8332):1045–1046. [PubMed]
  • Jackson AA, Shaw JC, Barber A, Golden MH. Nitrogen metabolism in preterm infants fed human donor breast milk: the possible essentiality of glycine. Pediatr Res. 1981 Nov;15(11):1454–1461. [PubMed]
  • Reichman B, Chessex P, Putet G, Verellen G, Smith JM, Heim T, Swyer PR. Diet, fat accretion, and growth in premature infants. N Engl J Med. 1981 Dec 17;305(25):1495–1500. [PubMed]
  • Davies DP. Adequacy of expressed breast milk for early growth of preterm infants. Arch Dis Child. 1977 Apr;52(4):296–301. [PMC free article] [PubMed]

Articles from Archives of Disease in Childhood are provided here courtesy of BMJ Group


Related citations in PubMed

See reviews...See all...

Cited by other articles in PMC

See all...


  • Cited in Books
    Cited in Books
    PubMed Central articles cited in books
  • PubMed
    PubMed citations for these articles

Recent Activity

Your browsing activity is empty.

Activity recording is turned off.

Turn recording back on

See more...