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How to feed a premature child

Here is an increase that we would have done well without.

In the space of 15 years, the number of children born prematurely has continued to grow. Between 250,000 and 300,000 women give birth before the due date each year.

The precariousness, but also the increase in the number of multiple pregnancies are partly responsible for this rise. But when can we talk about a premature baby?

The latter is considered as such when he is born before the 37th week of amenorrhea. Simply put, a child born 4 weeks before the expected date of delivery will be considered premature.

The earlier the child is born, the greater the risks and the consequences. Hyperactivity, learning difficulties and stunted growth are all complications that a premature child may suffer during his life. What care is needed for babies born prematurely? What is the best way to feed them?

Premature babies: when to start food diversification

Premature babies require special pediatric monitoring. When it comes to food, when to start diversification? What the corrected age for a preterm baby? As food diversification of a preterm baby will start based on their corrected age.

The more the child is born prematurely, the more the delay in his acquisitions will be accentuated. As with full-term infants, breast milk is the best source of food for toddlers in the first months of life.

Moms can provide their milk. We then adapt to the baby’s digestion capacity according to his maturity. For the little ones, the quantities are very limited – 1 ml eight times a day at the start – and increase with development.

They are then fed via a nasogastric tube placed in their stomach until they are able to feed themselves independently in the breast or in the bottle, with infant preparations for premature babies, “according to pediatricians.

The corrected age corresponds to the actual age of the child from which the missing pregnancy time is subtracted.

A baby born at term whose diversification starts between 4 and 6 months will not have the same level of tone and psychomotor development as a premature.

To diversify his diet, it is therefore necessary to wait until the baby born premature has, at least, reached the corrected age of 3 months. And we will also have to make sure that we adapt to his abilities. Once the pediatrician considers that diversification can start, it then takes place under the conditions of normal diversification.

Food diversification: instructions for use

Introducing new flavors into your little one’s diet is an important step.

Food diversification begins with the discovery of cooked vegetables and fruits. Among the sweet and digestible vegetables: carrots, pumpkin and zucchini offer a first discovery.

On the fruit side: apples, pears and, in a few weeks, bananas, will be appreciated by babies. Of course, it is essential to grind them well before offering them to your little one.

The right quantities: start with 2 teaspoons of puree then gradually increase the quantities. From 6 months (5 months minimum corrected age), you can introduce starches and proteins (about 10 g). For raw vegetables: wait until your little one is over a year old so that his digestive system is mature enough to tolerate them.

Diversification of premature infants: precautions

When the newborn has undergone operations, severe digestive disorders during his hospitalization in intensive care, the pediatrician will be more attentive to the digestive tolerance of the child.

Its solid diet will therefore be adapted to the sensitivity of its intestines. Then, once diversification has started well, and when there are no complications, its meals will be the same as for full-term infants.

The recovery of weight-gain growth is generally carried out in the first year of life of the premature infant, provided that care is taken to ensure adequate nutritional intake.

This is why it is essential to establish a very regular follow-up with the pediatrician of your premature child.

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