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J Pediatr Gastroenterol Nutr. 2005 Oct;41(4):430-7.

Influence of feeding patterns and other factors on early somatic growth of healthy, preterm infants in home-based kangaroo mother care: a cohort study.

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Kangaroo Foundation, Bogota, Colombia.



Breast-milk fortifiers recommended for premature infants are seldom available in developing countries. We describe the characteristics of growth in preterm infants under ambulatory Kangaroo Mother Care (KMC) who eventually required supplemental formula because of failure to thrive with exclusive breast feeding. We evaluated the relationship between growth indices at term, nutritional status of the infant at birth, and feeding pattern.


Prospective cohort study conducted in the Neonatal Unit at Clínica San Pedro Claver and the KMC program, an ambulatory clinic from the Clínica del Niño tertiary care clinics in Bogotá, Colombia. Included were 115 mothers and their 129 healthy, preterm infants. One hundred twenty-six (98.4%) infants were available for evaluation at term. Infant weights were monitored daily until they achieved 15 g/kg per day for 2 days and then weekly until term. Formula was offered only to infants who did not gain 15 g per kg per day for 3 consecutive days.


Sixty (47.6%) infants gained weight adequately with exclusive breast feeding. In 14 of those who needed supplements, adequate weight gain was achieved before reaching term and supplements could be stopped. The more immature infants required supplementation more frequently. With or without supplementation, infants with lower weight for gestational age at birth were less likely to achieve adequate weight by term.


Growth indices at term in premature infants were close to those expected for term infants born in Bogotá (between percentile 10 to percentile 25). Decision on formula supplementation of breast milk should be made not only based on birth weight or gestational age but on a careful monitoring of weight gain while the mother is receiving continuous support to enhance and maintain successful breast-feeding. Small-for-date premature infants thrive less well than other infants even with supplementation.

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