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January 30, 2006

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Question from Lafayette, Indiana, USA:

My daughter was born four weeks prematurely and weighed 3 pounds, 13 ounces. At the time of her birth, the neonatal team was giving her some form of sugar in her formula for low blood sugars. We didn't come home on this medicine. My daughter is now 18 months old and weighs only 18 pounds. Could diabetes be an issue with her poor weight gain? They have not come up with something yet that has worked except adding Carnation Instant Breakfast to her milk and having her drink PediaSure with meals. The doctor had put her on Polycose with her formula when she was around seven months old and then, when formula stopped, we took her off it. Is Polycose a sugar additive or something for weight?

Answer:

It sounds like she was having some neonatal hypoglycemia and the initial sugars being fed to her were to help raise her blood glucose levels. This is very common in premature infants and very common in small for gestational age (SGA) infants. Now, her lack of weight gain is not likely related to blood glucose levels but could be related to whatever made her small in the first place. One should check for growth hormone deficiency and also adrenal insufficiency. Babies who are SGA or premature and do not show good catch-up growth often respond to growth hormone dramatically, so consultation with a well trained pediatric endocrinologist would be helpful. Consultation with a pediatric gastroenterologist also would be helpful to make sure that this is not a stomach/intestinal problem as yet recognized (i.e., celiac).

SB

[Editor’s comment: For more information, see Polycose Liquid.

BH]