Feb 01

Your Baby Needs Your Milk

All babies need their mother’s milk, but preemies and infants who are ill benefit even more from it.

Your milk has more than 600 biological factors that can contribute to better health for your baby.

Breastmilk contains brain-boosting and nutritious fats, sugar and protein to jumpstart growth, and hormones that help your baby’s intestines move and digest.

Mother’s milk even has probiotic bacteria and large amounts of special sugars that are present just to feed and nourish those healthful bacteria.

Your milk is full of antibodies and live immune cells that help prevent and fight against infections — no artificial formula can compare.

Preemies that are fed their mother’s milk during their NICU stay tend to have:

Less life-threatening infections, less feeding problems and a shorter hospital stay.

Lower risk of developing necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC). NEC is a serious intestinal infection that can make babies very ill and unable to feed for weeks at a time- it happens to 2-10% of the smallest preemies. These periods of illness and poor nutrition can lead to long-term problems with growth and development.

Better brain development and higher IQs when they are older probably due to specific ingredients in mother’s milk that are not in formula.

Lower risk of having to return to the hospital after they go home.

Check out this great video about how Breastmilk is Best For Premature Babies.

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Lisa Stellwagen MD, FAAP  Professor of Clinical Pediatrics at UC San Diego Health
‘Breastmilk is Best” video includes families at Boston Medical Center and was funded by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. For questions or comments about video, contact Dr. Meg Parker, Margaret.parker@bmc.org