The Preemie Growth Project

Sharing Vital Information About Nutritional Issues for Premature Babies & Special Needs Children

What to Expect

Results from the initial feasibility study were extremely promising. Overall, 111 out of 134 children (83%) showed substantial improvement. For children born prematurely, 9 out of 10 saw improvement, while for non-preemies the number was 8 out of 10. Although this intervention may not work for every child, those who respond follow distinct patterns:

  • Infants respond faster, in some cases in as little as 24-72 hours. Young children appear to respond faster than older children.
  • The first change is usually in bowel function, occurring within the first ten days. This appears to correspond with an increase in intestinal strength and decrease in constipation issues.
  • Around 14 days there is an increase in appetite. Again, in infants the change is faster, while older children commonly report it between days 14 and 21.
  • Changes in weight and/or height, muscle tone and/or strength, cognition, communication, energy and/or stamina and sensory processing are usually reported within six weeks.
  • Despite a high percentage of chronic failure-to-thrive issues in this population, weight and height gains become similar to the patterns seen in non-failure-to-thrive children.
    • Head circumference changes (if reported) are usually noted within 90 to 120 days.
  • Muscle tone and/or strength changes are typically reported in the following order:
    • Increased trunk and neck strength (core muscles)
    • Increased strength in extremities
    • Hyperspastic muscles “relax” at first, then those “weak” muscles get stronger
  • Sensory processing issues (especially in children with a history of ear infections and/or heavy antibiotic use) are usually controlled within 16 weeks.
  • It has been reported that medically fragile children experience a significant drop in unplanned hospitalizations.