Clinical update

Parenteral feeding in neonatal care: best practice

New national guidance aims to tackle wide variation in practice, safety concerns and costs 
Picture of a Total Parenteral Nutrition fluids bag for feeding intravenously

New national guidance aims to tackle wide variation in practice, safety concerns and costs

Essential information

Parenteral nutrition is intravenous feeding that provides sustenance to those unable to receive adequate nutrition orally or through an enteral tube. It is frequently needed by preterm babies while they establish enteral feeds, critically ill babies and babies with gastrointestinal disorders who need surgery.

Parenteral nutrition contains nutrients, such as glucose, electrolytes, amino acids, lipids, minerals, trace elements and vitamins. It may complement enteral feeding or in some situations replace it.

About 95,000 babies born in the UK each year need neonatal care, according to the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE).

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