Benefits of Human Milk for Premature Infants

Each year, about 10% (38,000) of babies are born premature in the United States. Preemies are at risk for a number of health issues, including Necrotizing Enterocolitis (NEC), a potentially life threatening disease that causes inflammation in the tissues of the large intestine. Breast milk, whether it be a mother’s own milk or human donor milk, reduces the number of total intravenous feeding days, the frequency of surgery, and the morality rates in preterm infants. Access to human milk and human milk based fortifiers have also helped to significantly reduce the rate of NEC in premature babies.

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