In order to provide mothers and health professional a quick guide to preventing newborn brain injury in the first days of life, the following is a short slideshow on the scientific literature regarding the thresholds that predict newborn brain injury and developmental delay and disability in the first days of life related to insufficient feeding.
All complications of underfeeding, including jaundice, weight loss, hypernatremia, dehydration and hypoglycemia can be prevented with feeding sufficient milk before the complications occur. The scientific literature shows that by the time a child develops abnormal jaundice, hypernatremia or hypoglycemia, the brain injury that follows is irreversible and can result in long-term negative consequences to brain development, even when corrected.
We advise parents and health professionals to be knowledgable about what constitutes safe and unsafe lab values and weight loss so that all newborns can be protected.
Disclaimer: This document does not replace in-person physician evaluation and treatment. This document is meant to inform parents of the most recent data regarding infant feeding and to increase their knowledge on how to protect their newborns from hyperbilirubinemia, dehydration, hypernatremia, hypoglycemia and extended or repeat hospitalizations due to complications from underfeeding. Earlier supplementation may be needed for babies who are premature or have medical conditions. It is recommended that a parent seeks evaluation by a pediatrician for any concerns regarding the health and safety of her baby if they arise.