Intraepithelial lymphocyte counts (IEL % enterocytes) were carried out in histological samples of jejunal, ileal and appendiceal mucosa of 39 neonates, aged from birth to 28 days. Correlations between IEL counts and developmental factors, namely gestational age, birth weight and intrauterine growth, as well as neonatal infections or feeding state were performed. No significant differences were observed among neonates grouped according to birth weight, intrauterine growth or neonatal infections. The pattern of feeding, however was associated with significantly higher IEL counts (p < 0.02) in the ileum in oral/enterally fed neonates than in the unfed or parenterally fed. Full-term neonates also had higher counts in the ileum (p < 0.02). In this group, oral/enterally fed neonates had the higher values. Thus, besides in utero development, the pattern of feeding might be considered as an important modulating factor on IEL postnatal expansion.