What is the FEED1 trial?
In the UK around 8 in 100 babies are born prematurely, and around 12% of these are born between 30 and 33 weeks.
Babies who are born early cannot feed for themselves and are given small amounts of milk through a tube into their stomach. These babies are also given additional nutrition through a drip into their veins (intravenously or IV). The amount of milk given is slowly increased until they are fully milk fed and no longer have the need for any additional nutrients. For the purpose of this study, we will refer to this method as “gradual milk feeds”.
In the past, premature babies have not been started on full milk feeds because of concerns of a serious bowel disease called Necrotising Enterocolitis (NEC), however, evidence is building to suggest that in premature babies who aren’t too poorly, larger milk feeds can be successfully given without increasing the risk of NEC, and might also reduce the risk of severe infection.
We are trying to find out the best way to feed babies born between 30 and 33 weeks to keep them healthy in the long term. We want to know whether starting babies on full milk feeds rather than gradually increasing their milk feeds will:
- Reduce the number of days they need to stay in hospital Reduce the risk of infection
- Allow the mother to be more involved in caring for the baby
- Increase parent-infant bonding
- Promote and encourage breast feeding from an earlier stage
- Make more space in the hospital for other sick babies
- Reduce the costs to the parents and to the NHS
To answer these questions, we need to conduct a large study to compare full milk feeds and gradual milk feeds.
Who is organising and funding this study?
The University Hospitals of Derby and Burton NHS Foundation Trust are the sponsor of this study. The study is coordinated by the Nottingham Clinical Trials Unit.
The study is funded by the research arm of the NHS, the National Institute for Health Research Health Technology Assessment (NIHR HTA) Programme.
The FEED1 team includes doctors, midwives, parents of preterm babies, health economists, and clinical trial experts. See full details of our team here.
The study is supported by Bliss, UK’s largest charity for babies born sick and preterm.
Further information for Parents and Families
Further information for Health Care Professionals