Enteral feeding practices in preterm infants in South Africa

  • MS Raban
  • Y Joolay
  • AR Horn
  • MC Harrison


Background. Optimal feeding regimens in babies weighing <1000 g have not been established, and wide variations occur. In South Africa (SA) this situation is complicated by varied resource constraints.
Objective. To determine the preterm enteral feeding practices of paediatricians in SA.
Methods. We invited 288 paediatricians to participate in a crosssectional
webbased survey.
Results. We received responses from 31.2% of the paediatricians; 43.6% were from the state sector and 56.4% from the private sector. Most
participants worked in mediumsized neonatal units with 6 10 beds. .e proportions commencing feeds within the .rst 24 hours were 24% in infants of <25 weeks’ gestational age, 36% in infants 25 27 weeks, and 65% in infants 28 31 weeks. Feed volumes were routinely advanced daily in 47% of infants <25 weeks, 68% of infants 25 27 weeks, and 90% of infants 28 31 weeks. Forty .ve per cent of infants <25 weeks received continuous intragastric feeds, while 50% of those in the 28 31 weeks group were on 3hourly bolus feeds. .e majority of the participants targeted full enteral feeds of 161 180 ml/kg/d, 66.7% had access to donor milk, and 77% used breastmilk forti.er.

Conclusion. .is is the .rst study to survey feeding practices in SA. .e survey did not highlight di.erences in feeding practices among paediatricians. .ese data could be valuable in the design of local collaborative trials to determine optimal feeding strategies.


Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 1999-7671
print ISSN: 1994-3032