The Effect of Early Feeding on Initial Glucose Concentrations in Term Newborns

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To evaluate the influence of early feeding on initial glucose concentrations in healthy term newborns who were not at risk for hypoglycemia.

Study design

This retrospective observational study was conducted at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences where universal early glucose screening was standard of care for newborn infants. Plasma glucose concentrations were compared in term infants born in 2008 who were not at risk for neonatal hypoglycemia and who were fed before (early feeders) and after (late feeders) their initial glucose screens. Multiple linear regression models were built to determine whether glucose concentrations differed significantly between early vs late feeders.


In the 315 early and 572 late feeders, the mean (SD) age of first feeding was 0.9 (0.6) and 3.8 (2.0) hours, respectively. The age at initial glucose specimen collection was 2.2 (1.1) and 1.8 (0.8) hours, respectively. The initial glucose concentration was not higher in early vs late feeders (51.8 ± 11.9 vs 55.5 ± 13.3 mg/dL; P < .001). In linear regression analyses of all infants, the mean initial glucose concentration was 3.61 (95% CI 1.75-5.48) mg/dL lower in early vs late feeders.


Early feeding in otherwise healthy term newborns did not increase initial glucose concentrations compared with newborns who fed later (ie, fasted). Before direct evidence is available, these observations may be instructive for managing early asymptomatic hypoglycemia in at-risk newborns.

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