The late preterm infant is at increased risk of problems, including poor transition, hypothermia, hypoglycemia, immature feeding behavior, hyperbilirubinemia, and hospital readmission. Recent evidence indicates that there may be long-term complications of a slightly early birth, including increased morbidity and mortality, cerebral palsy and even poor school performance. We also know that the benefits of human milk in this population are so important that we have based our protocol and care guidelines on supporting breastfeeding/human milk feeding.
Protocol for Late Preterm Infants
We have had a Late Preterm Infant Protocol at UC San Diego Health System for many years, and have found that our babies do much better with transition and feeding, and have fewer readmissions. We described our experience and protocol in the recent Contemporary Pediatrics article, “A Little Baby With Big Needs” and are happy to share some of our materials with other institutions.
Feeding Guidelines and Draft Medical Policy
Our medical policy draft and feeding guidelines are what has worked with our population. Feel free to share or alter for your institution. The crib card has been a successful simple way of keeping parents, nurses and doctors on the same page with these babies and their special needs. The parent handout was developed to help educate the families about the protocol and prepare them for their hospital stay.
Educational Resources for Parents