heart structures and functions and a better heart response to stress at age 1 than preemies who were given higher amounts of formula.
These improvements were apparent before babies left the hospital and persisted up to age 1, according to findings published Aug. 30 in the journal JAMA Network Open.
“Preterm infants have abnormal heart function. However, those who are fed their mother’s own milk demonstrate recovery of their heart function to levels comparable to healthy term-born infants,” El-Khuffash says in a college news release. “Preterm infants fed formula do not demonstrate this recovery.”
Breastfeeding a premature baby
Breast milk is the best possible nutrient to boost a newborn’s immune system and help him or her fight infection. Premature breast milk is higher in protein and minerals, such as salt, and contains different types of fat that can help your baby more digest and absorb easier.
The fat in human milk also enhances the development of the baby’s brain and neurologic tissues, which is especially important for premature infants.
Once your doctor gives the okay to start breastfeeding your preemie, you should do so frequently to increase your supply. You may opt to use a breast pump in addition to breastfeeding in order to maintain a good supply.
Giving birth to a premature child can cause worry and concern, but with the right care, your infant can maintain the same health as a full-term infant.
For more tips on breastfeeding a premature baby visit healthychildren.org.