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J Pediatr. 2005 Jul;147(1):43-9.

Continuous feeding promotes gastrointestinal tolerance and growth in very low birth weight infants.

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  • 1Division of Reproductive and Perinatal Health Care and Neonatal Research Unit, Department of Women and Child Health, Karolinska Institute, Stockholm, Sweden.



To compare the effects of continuous versus intermittent feeding on gastrointestinal tolerance and growth in very low birth weight (VLBW) infants.


In a randomized, controlled trial conducted at 3 neonatal units, 70 premature infants with a gestational age 24 to 29 weeks and birth weight < 1200 g were assigned to 1 of 3 feeding methods: continuous nasogastric feeding, intermittent nasogastric feeding, or intermittent orogastric feeding. Feeding was initiated within 30 hours of birth. Daily enteral and parenteral volumes, caloric and protein intakes, growth, enteral intolerance, and clinical complications were recorded. Cox regression analysis was used to determine primary outcome, the time to achieve full enteral feeding.


The continuously fed infants achieved full enteral feeding significantly faster than the intermittently fed infants (hazard ratio [HR] = 1.86; 95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.07 to 3.22). In stratified analysis according to birth weight, the improvement was even more pronounced in the smallest infants, those with birth weight < or = 850 g (adjusted HR = 4.13; 95% CI = 1.48 to 11.53). Growth rate was significantly faster in the continuously fed infants ( P = .002).


In VLBW infants, continuous feeding seems to be better than intermittent feeding with regard to gastrointestinal tolerance and growth.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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