breastfeeding, preterm infant, test weighing



  1. Funkquist, Eva-Lotta


PURPOSE: Swedish hospitals apply various regimens for preterm infants' nutrition in connection with their mothers' establishment of breastfeeding. Milk intake is assessed either by test weighing before and after breastfeeding or by observing the infant's suckling behavior (ie, clinical indices). These differing policies may lead to differences in infants' feeding progress. The purpose of this study was to compare effects on breastfeeding and weight gain of preterm infants, depending on whether the volume of breast milk intake when suckled in the hospital was estimated by "clinical indices" or determined by test weighing.


SUBJECTS: Sixty-four infants treated at a unit applying test weighing were compared with 59 infants treated at a unit assessing milk intake by "clinical indices."


DESIGN AND METHODS: A retrospective, descriptive, and comparative design was used to explore the consequences of different nutrition regimens. Data were obtained from a review of hospital medical records.


PRINCIPAL RESULTS: The infants treated at the hospital where test weighing was practiced attained exclusive breastfeeding at an earlier postmenstrual age (PMA) and were also discharged at an earlier PMA. However, the 2 study units were alike regarding the proportion of infants attaining exclusive breastfeeding, the postnatal age when this occurred, and the weight pattern in hospital.


CONCLUSION: To establish breastfeeding in preterm infants, test weighing before and after breastfeeding and gradual reduction of supplementation are both applicable regimens. Mothers can be encouraged to choose either of them, although test weighing may help infants attain exclusive breastfeeding at an earlier PMA.