Information and stories from the NICU World
Mother’s own milk is the optimal nutrition for preterm infants for several reasons:
1. Easy to Digest: Breast milk is easier to digest than formula, which is particularly important for preterm infants who have immature digestive systems. Breast milk is rich in proteins, carbohydrates, and fats that are easily absorbed and used by the baby's body.
2. Rich in Nutrients: Breast milk is rich in essential nutrients that are important for preterm infants, including protein, fat, and carbohydrates, as well as vitamins and minerals like calcium, iron, and zinc. Not all nutrients found in breast milk are in preterm infant formulas.
3. Contains Immune Proteins: Breast milk contains immune proteins and other protective factors that help to boost a preterm infant's immune system. These factors are particularly important for preterm infants, who are at increased risk of infections and other health problems due to their immaturity.
4. Promotes Growth and Development: Breast milk has been shown to promote growth and development in preterm infants. It can help preterm infants gain weight more quickly and improve their cognitive and motor development.
5. May Reduce Health Risks: Studies have shown that preterm infants who receive breast milk are at lower risk of developing certain health problems, including necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC), a serious intestinal infection that preterm infants are at higher risk for compared to term infants.
In summary, breast milk is the optimal nutrition for preterm infants because it is easy to digest, rich in essential nutrients, contains immune proteins and other protective factors,