Premature Babies – Breast Milk Advice

Breast is Best for Premature Babies — Here’s Why

Premature babies — babies born before the 37th week of pregnancy — are usually admitted to the neonatal intensive care unit because certain key organs have not yet fully developed. These difficulties can make breastfeeding a premature baby challenging, but if you are able to nurse your little one breast milk holds countless benefits for premature infants.

“Liquid Gold” for Premature Babies

A report published in the Pediatric Clinics of North America revealed that breast milk improves the growth and brain development of babies and contains more protein if a woman has delivered prematurely.

Dr Varsha Atul Shah, Senior Consultant in the Department of Neonatal and Developmental Medicine at Singapore General Hospital, a member of the SingHealth group, called breast milk “liquid gold”, explaining that human milk has a wide-ranging concentration of protective substances.

“Colostrum is the milk a mother produces right after delivery and, compared to other kinds of milk, it has the highest concentration of antibodies needed to fight complications that may arise from premature birth,” she said.

A Strong Defence Against Infection

Breast milk is also highly effective in protecting babies from infections such as meningitis, an inflammation of membranes surrounding the brain and spinal cord, and necrotising enterocolitis, which is a medical condition that damages the intestinal tract.

“By consuming his mother’s milk, a baby effectively receives his first immunisation because all the antibodies a mother has in her body will be passed on to him through her breast milk. No man-made vaccine can replicate that,” said Dr Varsha.

Find out how premature babies are fed at different stages from birth to 38 weeks old.

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