Celiac Disease In InfantsBabies born more than 3 weeks before their due date are considered premature. Babies normally are born 40 weeks after they're conceived, so that means a baby under 37 weeks is premature and under-developed, needing more support and extra attention. The earlier they are born, the more premature, the smaller and more underdeveloped they are and the more needs they have.

That applies to their nutrition as well. They are at risk of remaining small if they don't catch up by 3 years of age. And their brains have an even tighter window, needing to grow and develop into their expected size by a year of age. But the odd thing is that they can't be overfed either, because that puts them at greater risk for high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, and osteoporosis later in life.

Even getting their feedings started can be tricky. For some of premature infants, small amounts must be given in the beginning (we're talking 1 milliliter over an hour-that's 1 /5 of a teaspoon) because they have such poor immune systems and such vulnerability that they can easily develop an intestinal perforation (a hole in their intestine).

So while nutrition is a critical piece of their growing into healthier kids, nutrition also remains a real threat. For that reason, Nutrition4Kids.com reviews the premature infant's

  • Special needs for protein, calcium and other nutrients
  • Vulnerable intestine
  • IV nutrition
  • Tube feedings
  • Potential for reflux and aspiration
  • Formulas and fortifiers

In addition to putting in your baby's profile, you can add pictures and comments, and even ask for help from other parents and caregivers or from our staff

As horrible as it sounds, necrotizing enterocolitis, often just called NEC, is where part of the intestinal is injured or dies.  It seems to develop when feedings are introduced into a vulnerable intestine with an area of diminished blood supply.  That vulnerability seems to be increased by bacteria in the intestine and any increase in the thickness or calories of the feedings.  The lining loses its blood flow or develops an infection and babies who are ill or premature don't have the immune systems and capability to fight this off on their own.  Their feedings need to be stopped, antibioti

Once a baby is brought into the world, he or she is suddenly without the source of nutrition that has been providing what is needed to build tissues and organs and to create the enzymes and structures that must begin functioning almost immediately. Healthy full-term infants can usually function well. Their organs are already at a capacity that's ready to do what they must. They can feed on a mother's breast milk or infant formula and obtain what they need to gain and grow.

To feed from breast or bottle, it takes an ordered, coordinated pattern of sucking, swallowing, and breathing. Without that pattern, babies can aspirate breast milk or formula into their lungs. Most infants can manage that by 34 weeks of age, some slightly sooner.

Early premature babies (those born before 36 weeks) need a formula that is higher in protein and most vitamins and minerals. It has 20 percent more calories than routine formulas (it has 24 calories per ounce) to assist growth. These are sterile liquids and only available in hospital nurseries and intensive-care units.