Two-hourly versus 3-hourly feeding for very low birthweight infants: A randomised controlled trial

Nor Rosidah Ibrahim, Tan Hooi Kheng, Ariffin Nasir, Noraida Ramli, Jimmy Lee Kok Foo, Sharifah Huda Syed Alwi, Hans Van Rostenberghe

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Objective: To determine whether feeding with 2-hourly or 3-hourly feeding interval reduces the time to achieve full enteral feeding and to compare their outcome in very low birthweight preterm infants. Design: Parallel-group randomised controlled trial with a 1:1 allocation ratio. Setting: Two regional tertiary neonatal intensive care units. Patients: 150 preterm infants less than 35 weeks gestation with birth weight between 1.0 and 1.5 kg were recruited. Interventions: Infants were enrolled to either 2-hourly or 3-hourly interval feeding after randomisation. Blinding was not possible due to the nature of the intervention. Main outcome measures: The primary outcome was time to achieve full enteral feeding (≥100 mL/kg/day). Secondary outcomes include time to regain birth weight, episode of feeding intolerance, peak serum bilirubin levels, duration of phototherapy, episode of necrotising enterocolitis, nosocomial sepsis and gastro-oesophageal reflux. Results: 72 infants were available for primary outcome analysis in each group as three were excluded due to death - three deaths in each group. The mean time to full enteral feeding was 11.3 days in the 3-hourly group and 10.2 days in the 2-hourly group (mean difference 1.1 days; 95% CI -0.4 to 2.5; p=0.14). The mean time to regain birth weight was shorter in 3-hourly group (12.9 vs 14.8 days, p=0.04). Other subgroup analyses did not reveal additional significant results. No difference in adverse events was found between the groups. Conclusion: 3-hourly feeding was comparable with 2-hourly feeding to achieve full enteral feeding without any evidence of increased adverse events.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)F225-F229
Number of pages5
JournalArchives of Disease in Childhood: Fetal and Neonatal Edition
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - May 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Infant Feeding
  • Neonatology

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