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Why Premature Infants Need Their Motherís Milk

SILKHuman Milk for Human Babies

  • Breast milk can save a preemie's or an ill infant's life.
  • Babies who receive their mother's milk are healthier.
  • Breast milk is like medicine for premature babies!
  • Mothers make milk specially designed for their individual baby's needs.
  • Premature breast milk is different than full-term breast milk.

Benefits of Mother's Milk for Preemies
Preemies that are fed their mother's milk have:

  • Better brain development
  • Less life-threatening infections
  • Less feeding problems
  • Less allergies and eczema
  • Stronger bones when they are older
  • Higher IQ when they are older
  • Less high blood pressure when they are older
  • Your baby needs you to provide this milk!

Colostrum is the first type of breast milk you produce.
It is very important because it contains:

  • Brain boosting fats
  • Hormones to teach the baby's intestines to move and digest
  • Growth factors to help the intestines mature and grow
  • Antibodies and live cells to prevent and fight infections
  • Nutritious fat, sugars, and protein to start baby growing
  • 600 nutrients- no artificial formula can compare!
  • Every drop is Liquid Gold for your baby!

The crucial first two weeks

  • Your colostrum is packed with protective nutrients for your baby.
  • You may initially get only a few drops of colostrum, but every drop is precious, so be sure to bring it to the NICU!
  • We will begin to put your colostrum directly into your baby's mouth or stomach to get your baby's intestines growing.
  • These first days after delivery are critical for your milk production.
  • Your goal is to produce more than 500 mls (2 cups) of milk within a 24-hour period by the time your baby is two weeks old. This will help you to have enough milk when your baby gets bigger.

Prevention of NEC

  • Necrotizing entercolitis (NEC) is a very dangerous newborn intestinal infection.
  • 7% of the smallest preemies get NEC.
  • NEC can lead to other serious complications and the baby often cannot be fed for 10-14 days. This puts them very behind on their feedings.
  • The good news is that breast milk helps protect against NEC.
  • You can help decrease your baby's chance of getting NEC by pumping breast milk!

Last Updated: 6/23/2011