Document Type : original article


1 Epidemiologist, Professor, Department of Social Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, University of Medical Sciences, Ilam, Iran AND Researches Center for Prevention of Psychosocial Injuries, Ilam University of medical sciences, Ilam, Iran.

2 Pediatric Health Researches Center , Department of Pediatrics , Faculty of Medicine, University of Medical Sciences, Tabriz, Iran

3 Neonatologist, Associate Professor, Pediatric Health Research Center , Department of Pediatrics , Faculty of Medicine, University of Medical Sciences, Tabriz, Iran.


Background: Premature neonates are hospitalized until they can get full mouth feeding and this often leads to increasing the hospitalization period. This study compared two neonatal care policies: early discharge of stable preterm infants with home gavage feeding and discharge when they reached to full oral feeding.
Materials and Methods: By a case-control study, all stable premature neonates admitted in Alzahra teaching hospital, Tabriz, Iran, who were not able to feed orally, were divided into two groups. Study group included 48 neonates who achieved full oral feeding through oro- gastric tube and were discharged for outpatient follow-up. Control group included 50 neonates with the same feeding conditions who remained hospitalized and fed up by their mothers. Within one month, early clinical criteria were compared between both groups.
Results: The mean gestational age for the control group was (30.6 ± 2.5 weeks), study group was (30.2 ± 1.8 weeks) and average admission weights for control and study groups were 1409.0 ± 363.6gr and 1352.7 ± 272.3gr, respectively. Infants at the early discharge program, spent less time to reach the full oral feeding (13 days vs. 16 days) than the control group (p = 0.025), and had lower risk of sepsis and feeding intolerance compared to those in the control group and their difference for feeding intolerance was significant (p= 0.03).
Conclusion: This study showed that after an appropriate education for parents the early discharge of stable preterm neonates with home gavage feeding not only revealed a positive impact on their feeding and sucking improvement but also did not show any complication or negative impact on their growth parameters.