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Suzanne asked...

Tags: baby , food , nutrition

My sister's 3 day old baby (born two weeks early by emergency c section), is being taken into special care as he won't feed. Breast or bottle. What possible reasons could there be for him not feeding? They mentioned energy shots? None of us have heard of this?

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The Answer

We are sorry to read of the difficulties your new nephew is having so early on in life. You don’t mention if the baby has any other complications following birth.  There are several reasons that may lead to feeding difficulties in premature babies including jaundice (where the baby’s skin becomes yellow), infection, an inability to maintain adequate blood sugars, altered oral anatomy or even basic problems with latching on to the nipple or a teat.   Babies born prematurely are known to require higher levels of nutrients than babies born at term, especially if they weigh less than 1500g. 

These small babies often require parenteral nutrition whereby they are fed intravenously rather than by mouth to begin with so that they receive an adequate dietary formula containing all the vital nutrients and energy.  This may include a combination of glucose, amino acids, fats, vitamins and minerals.  Parenteral nutrition may be their only source of nutrition or used as a supplementary source of nutrients to boost the baby’s energy levels until they are able to feed independently from the breast or a bottle.

Answered by the Health at Hand nurses  

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