Early introduction of complementary foods in preterm infants

Braid, S.; Harvey, E. M.; Bernstein, J.; Matoba, N.

J Pediatr Gastroenterol Nutr. 2015 Jan 8; 60(6):811-8


OBJECTIVES: The aim of the present study was to determine the odds of early introduction of solid foods in a nationally representative sample of preterm infants when compared with term infants and to examine whether factors associated with early introduction are the same for preterm and term infants. METHODS: Our sample of 7650 came from the first wave of the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study, Birth Cohort (2001-2002). We performed multivariable logistic regression to determine whether preterm infants were introduced to solid foods more frequently before 4 months than term infants using adjusted age for preterm infants and chronological age for term infants. In a separate analysis in preterm infants, we used multivariable logistic regression to determine whether the factors associated with early introduction in term infants were the same in the preterm sample. RESULTS: Infants born 22 to 32 weeks' gestation had a 9.90 (95% confidence interval 5.54-18.0) odds of being fed solid food before 4 months compared with term infants, and infants born 33 to 36 weeks' gestation had a 6.19 (95% confidence interval 4.58-8.36) odds. Race/ethnicity and maternal smoking were the only factors that predicted early solid feeding in both preterm and term infants; the remaining predictors differed. CONCLUSIONS: Preterm infants are significantly more likely to be introduced to complementary foods early compared with term infants. The predictors of early solid feeding differ for preterm infants. Given the health implications, specific guidelines for preterm infants should be developed and future research should examine predictors of early introduction in preterm infants.

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