Managing preterm and low birthweight babies’ nutritional needs
A premature baby is a baby born earlier than 37 completed weeks of pregnancy. A Low birth weight baby instead, is a baby having a birth weight of less than 2500 g and can be born prematurely or at full term. Preterm infants have immature body structures and functions, resulting in high and unique nutritional needs.
WHY OPTIMUM NUTRITION MATTERS?
Adapted, enriched nutrition provides vital nutrients to promote optimal physical growth and neurodevelopment in preterm infants.
Early start of enteral feed for your baby helps increase the overall provision of essential nutrients through human milk fortification, adapted preterm formulas or nutrient supplementation.
WHAT TYPE OF NUTRITION SHOULD BE GIVEN TO PREMATURE BABIES?
Breast milk is the best for your baby. Your milk is the preferred nutrition for your preemies: it is higher in protein and amino acids, fat and some key vitamins - all needed for your baby.
Preemies have increased protein needs to support their growth and development. Certain proteins, such as lactoferrin, lysozyme and a-lactabumin may help support immune protection.
Your breast milk provides healthy omega-3 fats such as DHA, which is important for the brain and visual development.
Vitamins & minerals
Breast milk contains many vitamins and minerals, which help in nourishing your baby.
Is breastmilk alone enough to fulfil my baby’s needs?
Your baby requires early nutritional support and breastmilk alone cannot fully cover his increased and specific nutritional needs. Human milk fortification is therefore the best option recommended to meet nutritional requirements.
It is highly recommended to consult your doctor who will recommend specialized infant formulas only if breastfeeding is not possible and no donors are available
BENEFITS OF EARLY/IN-HOSPITAL FORTIFICATION:
Human milk fortification is needed to meet your preemie's nutrient needs to sustain optimal growth and development.
Babies who were fed fortified breast milk have shown better results in terms of weight, length, and head circumference growth, compared to those fed unfortified breast milk, This is because fortifiers contain varying amounts of protein, fat, carbohydrate, vitamins and minerals, to help support the same.
Improved neurocognitive development
Infants born prematurely have an interrupted normal brain development. Early protein intake is known to reduce the risk of neurocognitive impairment. Human milk fortifiers help provide nutrients along with optimum protein to support brain growth and its functions.