This is the protocol for a review and there is no abstract. The objectives are as follows:
In preterm infants does an ad libitum or demand/semi demand feeding regime versus feeding prescribed volumes at scheduled intervals increase growth rates and shorten the time to hospital discharge?
If sufficient data are available, we plan to undertake sub-group analyses of:
1. Trials that assessed ad libitum feeding.
2. Trials that assessed demand feeding.
3. Trials that assessed semi-demand feeding.
4. Trials where all participating infants were enterally-fed via gastric tubes (no oral feeding).
5. Trial where participating infants were in transition from gastric tube to oral feeds.
6. Trials where all participating infants were fed orally (no gastric tube feeding).
7. Trials where all participating infants were exclusively fed from the breast.
8. Trials where the infants' responses to non-nutritive sucking were used to assess hunger.
9. Cluster randomised controlled trials.
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