Deficient nutritional support and subsequent postnatal growth failure are major covariates of short- and long-term outcome in preterm neonates. Despite its relevance, extrauterine growth restriction (EUGR) is still prevalent, occurring in an important portion of extremely preterm infants. Lipids provide infants with most of their energy needs, but also cover specific supplies critical to growth, development and health. The use of human milk in preterm neonates results in practices, such as milk storage, pasteurization and administration by an infusion system. All of these pre-exposure manipulations significantly affect the final extent of lipid deposition in the intestinal track available for absorption, but the impact of tube feeding is the most significant. Strategies to shift earlier to oral feeding are available, while adaptations of the infusion systems (inversion, variable flow) have only more recently been shown to be effective in “in vitro
”, but not yet in “in vivo
” settings. Pre-exposure-related issues for drugs and nutritional compounds show similarities. Therefore, we suggest that the available practices for “in vitro
” drug evaluations should also be considered in feeding strategies to further reduce pre-exposure losses as a strategy to improve the nutritional status and outcome of preterm neonates.
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