Studying online

There are now 2 possible online modes for units:

Units with modes Online timetabled and Online flexible are available for any student to self-enrol and study online.

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Unit Overview


This unit provides an overview of neonatal nutrition, lactation and gastrointestinal disease which increasingly are emerging as key foci of global study that impact the short and long-term growth, neurodevelopmental and metabolic outcomes of the neonate.

This unit explores a range of topics including (1) developmental physiology of the gastrointestinal tract; (2) developmental physiology of lactation; (3) nutritional physiology and biochemistry; (4) growth references and growth standards, growth monitoring and neonatal body composition; (5) enteral nutrition—minimal enteral feeding, aggressive enteral nutrition and milk additives/formulas; (6) parenteral nutrition—parenteral solutions, parenteral delivery and aggressive parenteral nutrition; (7) specific neonatal conditions—necrotising enterocolitis, intrauterine growth restriction, gastro-oesophageal reflux and chronic lung disease; (8) surgical neonatal conditions and associated failure to thrive—small bowel syndrome, abdominal wall disorders, cardiac heart disease; (9) lactation, breastfeeding and donor milk banking; and (10) post-discharge nutrition.

6 points
Not available in 2024OnlineOnline flexible

Students are able to (1) demonstrate an understanding of fundamental principles of gastrointestinal development and functionality, update basic knowledge of energy and protein metabolism and revisit basic principles of digestion; (2) demonstrate an understanding of the anatomy of the human breast in the context of its role in the physiology of lactation and breastfeeding, as well as the process and role of donor human milk banking in providing optimal nutrition for preterm infants; (3) demonstrate an understanding of the preterm growth reference, including nutrient accretion rates and body composition and understand the limitations and uses of growth monitoring tools; (4) demonstrate an understanding of the latest advances in parenteral and enteral nutrition and be able to demonstrate how to optimise feeding prescriptions to promote nitrogen balance and minimise extrauterine growth restriction; (5) demonstrate an understanding of the aetiology and pathogenesis of common neonatal conditions and illnesses, and describe and demonstrate appropriate nutritional management; and (6) demonstrate an understanding of the differences between the preterm and term phenotype at discharge and appreciate the relevance of managing discharge nutrition appropriately in order to optimise long-term metabolic and developmental outcomes.


Indicative assessments in this unit are as follows: (1) a literature review on a field of interest (10 choices from unit content); (2) journal presentation in which students are allocated a topic from the unit content, they identify a key researcher in the assigned topic and present one of the researcher's papers to a student tutorial for student discussion and feedback; and (3) an end of semester two-hour examination from topics covered in lectures, workshops and tutorials (five short essays). Further information is available in the unit outline.

Student may be offered supplementary assessment in this unit if they meet the eligibility criteria.

  • The availability of units in Semester 1, 2, etc. was correct at the time of publication but may be subject to change.
  • All students are responsible for identifying when they need assistance to improve their academic learning, research, English language and numeracy skills; seeking out the services and resources available to help them; and applying what they learn. Students are encouraged to register for free online support through GETSmart; to help themselves to the extensive range of resources on UWA's STUDYSmarter website; and to participate in WRITESmart and (ma+hs)Smart drop-ins and workshops.
  • Unit readings, including any essential textbooks, are listed in the unit outline for each unit, one week prior the commencement of study. The unit outline will be available via the LMS and the UWA Handbook one week prior the commencement of study. Reading lists and essential textbooks are subject to change each semester. Information on essential textbooks will also be made available on the Essential Textbooks. This website is updated regularly in the lead up to semester so content may change. It is recommended that students purchase essential textbooks for convenience due to the frequency with which they will be required during the unit. A limited number of textbooks will be made available from the Library in print and will also be made available online wherever possible. Essential textbooks can be purchased from the commercial vendors to secure the best deal. The Student Guild can provide assistance on where to purchase books if required. Books can be purchased second hand at the Guild Secondhand bookshop (second floor, Guild Village), which is located on campus.
  • Contact hours provide an indication of the type and extent of in-class activities this unit may contain. The total amount of student work (including contact hours, assessment time, and self-study) will approximate 150 hours per 6 credit points.