Newborn Disorders and Nutritional Guidance
Newborn disorders vary widely, from premature birth to a myriad of genetic disorders. Although they are commonly encountered in hospital and primary care settings, existing therapies are neither definitive nor distinct, and research is still ongoing. Such disorders of concern include premature birth, gastroesophageal reflux, cystic fibrosis, Down Syndrome, phenylketonuria, maple syrup urine disease, and galactosemia. Nutritional recommendations are critical to these infants who may not survive without specific alterations in their diet to accommodate the stress from their metabolic demand. Nutritional guidance in these patients reduces the incidence of complications and exacerbations of these disorders, which may include failure to thrive, anemia, neurocognitive deficiencies, sepsis, reflux, and diabetes. Breastfeeding has been found to reduce mortality in infants that are premature, reduce complications in gastroesophageal reflux disease, and result in better prognoses in newborns with cystic fibrosis. Supplementation of vitamins, iron, probiotics, and even salt have been beneficial in the management of these newborns. Modified infant formulas and medical foods are the mainstay of treatment for inborn errors of metabolism, as they require specific enzymes and proteins to be supplemented or avoided. Also, knowing which milks, proteins and vegetables to consume may be valuable for physicians and primary caretakers to plan the diet regimens accordingly.