Breast Milk for Premature & Sick Babies

Breast milk is important for all babies but for premature and sick newborns, it provides vitally important health benefits and acts like a medicine that only a mother can provide. Research has shown that the composition of a mother’s breast milk is different if her baby is born premature than if her baby was born full-term. It is tailored to the needs of a premature gut and is highly beneficial for your baby.  

Although at times it can be exhausting and challenging, most mothers find that providing breast milk for their baby is one of the more beneficial and rewarding things they can do.

So whether you’ve decided to express milk for a short time or plan to transition to feeding at the breast later, your milk is an important part of your baby’s treatment plan.

Why is Breast Milk so Important?
  • Breast milk provides better nutrient absorption, digestive functioning and nervous system development.
  • Colostrum (first milk) is rich in antibodies called ‘immunoglobins’ and coats the GI tract, stomach and intestines, providing protection from viruses and bacteria.
  • Mothers of premature babies produce milk that is higher in nitrogen, protein, lipids, fatty acids, vitamins, calcium and other vital elements that are important to the development of premmies.
  • Breast milk antibodies protect from viruses such as gastroenteritis, sepsis and necrotising enterocolitis.
  • Research shows that breast milk reduces the risk of conditions such as allergies, asthma and eczema.
  • The varying composition of breast milk keeps pace with the baby’s changing nutritional needs.
  • Breast milk has vital long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids, which are essential to brain development.

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Disclaimer: This publication by Miracle Babies Foundation is intended solely for general education and assistance and it is it is not medical advice or a healthcare recommendation. It should not be used for the purpose of medical diagnosis or treatment for any individual condition. This publication has been developed by our Parent Advisory Team (all who are parents of premature and sick babies) and has been reviewed and approved by a Clinical Advisory Team. This publication is not a substitute for professional medical advice. Miracle Babies Foundation recommends that professional medical advice and services be sought out from a qualified healthcare provider familiar with your personal circumstances.To the extent permitted by law, Miracle Babies Foundation excludes and disclaims any liability of any kind (directly or indirectly arising) to any reader of this publication who acts or does not act in reliance wholly or partly on the content of this general publication. If you would like to provide any feedback on the information please email [email protected].