This section is from the book "Practical Dietetics With Special Reference To Diet In Disease", by William Gilman Thompson. Also available from Amazon: Practical Dietetics with Special Reference to Diet in Disease.
The feeding of premature infants demands unusual care. Their bodies are small; their vitality is low; their digestion is feeble, and their rate of heat loss is rapid. They are sometimes advantageously reared in incubators. They are often too weak to suckle or even to take the bottle unless they are very carefully hand-fed so as to obtain the milk without effort. It may be best to feed them by gavage. This method takes less time than any other. A small, feeble, puny infant at nine months of age may not take as much as ten ounces of milk a day, and yet keep alive. Such a baby must be fed at shorter intervals than the rule allows for well-developed infants at the same age, and a two-hour interval will often be best. Newborn premature infants may at first require feeding every hour, not over a drachm or two of milk being given at a time.