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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Effect of Nutrients in Human Milk on the Recipient Premature Infant

Authors
item Schanler, Richard
item Atkinson, Stephanie - MCMASTER UNIV, ONT, CAN

Submitted to: Journal of Mammary Gland Biology and Neoplasia
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: May 26, 1999
Publication Date: N/A

Interpretive Summary: With the knowledge that nutritional needs of the premature infant are greater than at any other time in the life cycle, greater attention is being focused on improving the quality of survival through optimal nutritional management. Although the benefits of human milk for term infants are well known, research is now suggesting that the human milk-fed premature infant may have improved health in a variety of areas, such as lower rates of infection. Multinutrient supplements may be a means of meeting nutritional concerns during the hospital stay. It therefore appears that the quality of survival can be greatly improved through the feeding of human milk.

Technical Abstract: As the survival of premature infants is increasing, more attention is focused on improving the quality of survival through optimal nutritional management. The nutritional needs of the premature infant are greater than any time in the life cycle. The benefits of human milk for term infants are well known. The data are emerging that suggest human milk may especially benefit the premature infant. The human milk-fed premature infant may experience improved health (such as lower rates of infection and necrotizing enterocolitis), gastrointestinal function, and neurodevelopment which outweigh the concerns about adequate growth, nutrient accretion, and biochemical indices of nutritional status attributed to the lower nutrient content of human milk. Nutritional concerns may be met by the use of multinutrient supplements during the time infants receive tube-feeding in hospital. Thus, it appears that the quality of survival of premature infants can be improved, both in the short-term and long-term, through the feeding of human milk.

Last Modified: 9/10/2014
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