THE FEEDING of premature infants in the hospital nursery will be discussed under three headings: (a) problems during the first week of life, (b) problems after the first week and (c) problems on discharge to the home.
PROBLEMS DURING THE FIRST WEEK OF LIFE
During the first week, while the infant is making numerous physiologic adjustments incident to birth, the problem is to meet his minimum maintenance food requirements without exceeding his ability to ingest and retain the foodstuffs offered. There are, then, two considerations: technic of feeding and a correct estimate of maintenance requirements.Technic of Feeding.—Major emphasis must be placed, during this period, on the proper choice of the method of feeding, i. e., from nipple, medicine dropper or gavage, whichever is indicated by the individual infant's strength. The quality and the quantity of nursing care will also help determine the choice of the method of feeding,