Premie Nutrition & Bone Health

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Premie Nutrition & Bone Health

Help your premature baby grow and develop with the specialized expertise available at the Neonatal Nutrition & Bone Institute at the Women's & Children's Hospital.

Focused Care for Premature Babies

Get compassionate, top-quality care and treatment through our Level IV neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). Babies born prematurely have unique nutrition and health needs. Our multi-specialty team focuses on infant nutrition, bone health and treating medical conditions related to prematurity.

Conditions We Treat

Find dedicated care for babies born with conditions such as:

  • Chronic lung disease – Long-term breathing problems
  • Congenital heart defect – Problem with the structure of the heart
  • Extreme prematurity (born before 26 weeks of pregnancy)
  • Feeding difficulty and suboptimal growth
  • Gastroschisis – Abdominal organs outside the belly
  • Intestinal dysmotility – Food does not move through the intestine properly
  • Necrotizing enterocolitis – Injured or inflamed tissue in the small intestine
  • Osteogenesis imperfecta – Bones break easily due to genetic disorder
  • Osteopenia of prematurity – Decreased bone mass causes brittle, weak bones
  • Intestinal failure-associated liver disease (IFALD)
  • Short bowel syndrome – Congenital (present from birth) condition where small intestine is abnormal and doesn’t absorb enough water and nutrients
  • Small bowel atresia – Absent or closed passageway in the small intestine

Testing and Diagnosis

Gain insight into your baby’s health through newborn testing of body composition, bone mineral density and bone strength. Your baby may receive blood tests and imaging tests, like ultrasound and X-rays.

Your premature baby is more likely to have an immature gastrointestinal tract than babies born full term. To check for problems, your doctor may ask for digestive health studies such as:

  • Biopsy
  • Colonoscopy
  • Endoscopy

Personal Care and Treatment Plan

Get advanced care and support for your infant not offered at other hospitals in the region. Rely on us for an individualized care plan to fit your baby’s specific nutritional needs and gestational age.

Feeding Treatments

Following weight and age, feedings help promote and enhance your baby’s brain and physical development. Skilled nurses feed your baby through feeding tubes and IV fluids until your baby’s sucking reflexes let them eat on their own. Your baby may receive medical nutrition therapy from dietitians who work in our NICU.

Trust our trained milk technicians to mix the milk and supplements as prescribed by your child’s neonatologist and dietitian. Rest assured your baby’s nourishment will come from human breast milk, the donor breast milk program or high-quality formula if needed.

Multiple-Specialty Care Team

Work with a variety of medical caregivers who understand the needs of the tiniest babies. Your baby’s team may include:

  • Dietitians
  • Gastroenterologists
  • Hospitalists
  • Neonatologists
  • NICU nurses
  • Pediatric surgeons
  • Pharmacists
  • Social workers

Therapy for Premature Babies

Developing your baby’s brain and muscle movement skills involve help from our licensed occupational, physical and speech-language therapists. Partnering with the NICU care team, therapists guide your infant to build skills as they grow.

Continuing Care After Going Home

Learn to feed your baby at home with training from the NICU care team. If your baby needs specific medical nutrition care after leaving the NICU, home health care providers can help.

Your baby may also receive specialized ongoing care through the PREMIEre program and the NICU Graduate Clinic. Expect the same doctors you are familiar with from the NICU to be part of your baby’s follow-up appointments at University Health outpatient clinics.

Research and Quality

Benefit from the unique neonatal nutrition research and clinical studies at University Health. Our ongoing research helps improve the way we care for your baby’s nutritional needs.

Feel confident your baby’s care team tracks and monitors our care standards and focuses on improving all the time, so your baby can reach the best health outcome possible.