Every year, more than 20 million infants are born weighing less than 2.5kg – over 96 per cent of them in developing countries.
These low-birth-weight (LBW) infants are at increased risk of early growth retardation, infectious disease, developmental delay and death during infancy and childhood.
Most LBW is a consequence of preterm birth, small size for gestational age, or both.
LBW infants who are unable to breastfeed can be fed by alternative oral feeding methods such as bottle-feeding or cup-feeding. Studies comparing these methods have shown that cup-feeding improves exclusive breastfeeding rates at discharge but these benefits are not sustained.
Cup-feeding is also associated with prolonged hospital stays. However, as cups are easier to clean than bottles, cup-feeding could potentially reduce the risk of severe infections such as diarrhoea. (UNI)