A recent study carried out at Auckland University's Liggins Institute and at Waikato Women's Hospital in Hamilton found that newborns with low blood sugar or neonatal hypoglycemia can be easily treated with an easy to administer and inexpensive dextrose gel.
It must be known that low blood sugar in newborns can lead to brain damage.
AdvertisementStatistics show that up to 15 per cent of otherwise healthy babies suffer from neonatal hypoglycemia.
"Our study is the first report in babies showing that dextrose gel massaged into the inside of the cheek is more effective than feeding alone for treating hypoglycemia, and is safe and simple to use," Professor Harding said.
"Dextrose gel treatment costs roughly $2 per baby and could help reduce admissions to neonatal intensive care for treatment with intravenous glucose - not only reducing costs but importantly, keeping mothers and babies together to encourage breastfeeding."
The study also showed that treatment with dextrose reduced the chances of treatment failure by 50% and babies were less likely to be admitted to intensive care for hypoglycemia.
"The dextrose gel improves the rate of breast feeding and we think this might be because babies stay with their mothers, and are not given formula in the first few hours to manage their hypoglycemia," researchers said.