Use of enteral nutritional supplementation: a survey of level II and III neonatal units in England
Enteral nutritional supplementation is widely used in preterm babies on Neonatal Units (NNUs). There is little published evidence on appraising their long-term efficacy. We evaluated the current practice of enteral nutritional supplementation in 96 level II and III NNUs in England. 96%, 98%, 98% and 56% units use breast milk fortification (BMF), iron, multivitamins and folic acid supplementation respectively. Iron, multivitamins and folic acid supplements are routinely commenced in babies < 35 weeks gestation by 73%, 68% and 39% NNUs respectively. Seventy eight percent NNUs only use BMF for babies that are not gaining weight. Continuing variable practice of enteral nutritional supplementation and current use of anecdotal evidence and best guess recommendations highlights the need for a unified approach and collaborative multinational research to produce standardised guidelines.