Complementary feeding practices in a cohort of Italian late preterm infants

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Limited data are available on complementary feeding in preterm infants, who show increased nutritional needs and are at risk of altered postnatal growth. The aim of this study was to investigate the timing and content of complementary feeding in a cohort of late preterm infants. We conducted a prospective, observational study, including mothers who had given birth to infants admitted to level I or II of care with a gestational age between 34 and 36 weeks. Mothers were contacted at 3, 6 and 12 months after delivery by phone calls and were asked about their infant’s mode of feeding and the timing and schedule of the introduction of different solid foods types. A total of 49 mothers and 57 infants completed the study. The mean postnatal age of the introduction of complementary foods was 5.7 ± 0.7 months. Low energy and/or low protein-dense foods were first introduced in most infants. Fruit as the first type of complementary food in the infant’s diet was associated with a 1.6-month advance in initiating complementary feeding. The present findings provide further insight into complementary feeding practices in late preterm infants and underline the need for specific recommendations addressing this vulnerable population.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1861
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - Dec 1 2018


  • Complementary feeding
  • Complementary foods
  • Late preterm infants

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


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