State of the Art: Precision Nutrition in Preterm Infants
Unique from term infants, preterm infants’ enteral nutrition is not self-regulated. Feeding occurs according to a timed schedule with nutrient intake and feeding volume determined by the neonatal staff, while baby is required to metabolize what is fed. Christoph Fusch, MD, PhD, discusses evidence that reveals how to measure and strategically determine micro- and macronutrient needs for preterm neonates. He reviews the impact of balanced nutrient intake and nutritional research studies in preterm infants on clinical outcomes, as well as the significance of applying postnatal growth trajectories and optimal nutrition needs of preterm infants. Although the gold standard, mother’s breast milk can vary, and may not provide adequate nutrients for essential growth and neurodevelopment needed in preterm infants. Precision nutrition allows the neonatal staff to adjust nutritional content—including the appropriate amount of proteins, carbohydrates, and fat to result in optimal growth and development—according to individual preterm needs.