Using 24-Hour Weight as Reference for Weight Loss Calculation Reduces Supplementation and Promotes Exclusive Breastfeeding in Infants Born by Cesarean Section

Xiaomeng Deng, Margaret McLaren
Breastfeeding Medicine 2018, 13 (2): 128-134

BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES: To promote exclusive breastfeeding, supplements are not recommended without medical indications such as clinical evidence of dehydration. Loss of ≥10% of birth weight (BW) often triggers supplementation due to nursery staff's concern for dehydration. Studies have demonstrated that transplacental passage of maternal intrapartum intravenous fluids for anesthesia may inflate BW. Researchers have proposed using newborn's 24-hour weight (24HW), after fluid diuresis, as preferred reference for weight loss calculation. The mother-infant unit at Hartford Hospital, a Baby-Friendly Hospital, implemented this recommendation into routine practice in March 2014. This study was conducted to evaluate this practice change's safety and effectiveness in decreasing supplementation.

METHODS: We performed a retrospective chart review on healthy full-term newborns delivered by C-section in 12 months before (n = 404) and a 12-month period after (n = 263) incorporating the 24HW into routine practice. Overall supplementation rate, maximum weight loss, length of stay (LoS), and peak transcutaneous bilirubin (TcB) were compared.

RESULTS: Overall supplementation rate decreased from 43.6% pre- to 27.4% postintervention and in first-time mothers from 51.9% to 31.0%. Among infants losing ≥10% of BW, the supplementation rate decreased from 63.9% to 26.2%. There was no significant increase in maximum weight loss, peak TcB level, or LoS overall or in those with ≥10% weight loss from birth.

CONCLUSION: Routine use of 24HW as the reference for newborn weight loss calculation reduced supplementation and did not increase untoward effects during the hospital stay.

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