Nutrition support: a guide to the latest products
Nutrition support in the neonatal unit should aim to meet adequate nutrient requirements, prevent feeding-related morbidities (especially necrotising enterocolitis), and optimise short-term growth and long-term outcomes. Human breast milk is the optimal form of feeding but there may be numerous barriers to establishing breast milk feeding in the neonatal unit, for example medical challenges, maternal distress, physical separation of mothers and infants, delayed initiation of milk expression, difficulty maintaining adequate milk volumes and lack of breastfeeding support. In this issue of Infant we look at products that support nutrition in preterm babies.
The Ameda Pearl breast pump, from Central Medical Supplies Ltd, combines powerful hospital grade performance inside a protective and unique outside shell, intended for easy cleaning between users. It is designed to build milk supply among pump-dependent, late preterm and term mothers. The modern design combines the durability needed for a multi-user hospital environment with the lifestyle features mothers expect. Pearl also supports continuity of care, being suitable for both hospital and home use. It is lightweight and whisper quiet when in use, ensuring discreet pumping anywhere. There is also a dimmable nightlight for use at night. Adaptable for single or double pumping, Ameda Pearl is fully customisable and enables users to control the suction, for optimal comfort. There are six suction levels in stimulation mode and 12 in expression mode.
The Ameda Pearl breast pump.
Labinic Drops from Biofloratech Ltd is the most widely used neonatal probiotic in the UK and the only neonatal probiotic available on the NHS Supply Chain. A multi-strain liquid preparation of live bacteria designed to supplement normal intestinal function in babies and infants from birth onwards, Labinic can help to correct a dysbiosis (disturbance of the normal gut bacterial balance) and assist in the restoration of a more normal microbiome, with subsequent resolution of symptoms.
Biofloratech reports that in recent trials, Labinic has been shown to have positive effects on the neonatal gut by reducing the incidence of necrotising enterocolitis, promoting growth through improved feed tolerance and weight gain, and reducing the carriage of antibiotic resistant bacteria (a double-blind placebo-controlled study).
Biofloratech estimates that if all eligible babies received Labinic, the NHS could save up to £20 million every year, based on a conservative reduction of key morbidities by 30%.
Labinic Drops from Biofloratech.
Medela offers a range of feeding solutions and special feeding devices for infants who need extra support in the neonatal unit, including the SpecialNeeds Feeder and SoftCup. The SpecialNeeds Feeder is designed to allow a baby to use compression when they cannot create a vacuum to extract the liquid. The one-way valve prevents air from entering the teat. The caregiver can control the milk flow easily because of the slit valve mechanism, which closes completely when the baby wants to pause. The SoftCup is ideal for the short-term feeding of babies with sucking difficulties. With a soft, spoon-shaped mouthpiece and one-way valve membrane, the milk flow can be regulated by squeezing the chambers of the mouthpiece.
Medela’s SpecialNeeds Feeder (left) and SoftCup (right).