Taking Care of Baby
Babies treated in a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) are often too sick to nurse or bottle feed. Determining proper nutrition and its delivery is critically important to helping each baby grow and get healthy.
As a neonatal dietitian at New York-Presbyterian Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital, Alix Small Anand (MS ’12) works with an interdisciplinary team of providers responsible for an average of at least 20 babies at a time. Her day starts with rounds, during which everything regarding a patient’s nutritional status—such as growth and nutrition regimen—is discussed. “We have a lot of extremely premature and very sick babies that require parenteral nutrition,” says Small Anand. “I work with the team to design what the baby needs—how much fluid, how much protein, how much dextrose, how much fat, as well as how much electrolytes, minerals, and trace elements…I’m crunching numbers for a great part of my day.”
Small Anand always had an interest in food and its effects on the body, but before deciding to pursue a degree in nutrition, she studied psychobiology at SUNY-Binghamton. After graduating, she spent a year with the New York City Service Corps, where she worked with a non-profit culinary program, Spoons Across America, serving children throughout the five boroughs of New York City. That was when she decided to turn her interests into a career.
NYIT’s online master’s in clinical nutrition enabled her to continue working while earning her degree. While she completed most of her coursework online, Small Anand developed meaningful relationships with professors, particularly Mindy Haar, Ph.D., director of academic management in NYIT School of Health Professions. Haar helped her secure a dietetic internship, which is required to become a registered dietitian (RD). After completing her dietetic internship at Long Island University, and becoming an RD, Small worked as an acute care dietitian at Montefiore Medical Center and The Children’s Hospital at Montefiore before taking on her current role in 2017.
At NYIT, Small Anand also earned a Certificate in Global Health and gained experience in the field. Following coursework, Small Anand completed a five-week practicum in Ghana, Africa where she was part of a team examining nutritional differences among children in various rural villages. “This was an unforgettable and life-changing experience,” says Small Anand. “Seeing the barriers to good nutrition and adequate growth in a remote part of the world is something that I will never forget.
“All babies need to eat, sleep, and grow. Being a dietitian on a team where nutrition and growth are a huge part of the baby’s care is extremely rewarding.”