Breast is best - Human milk for premature infants

Arieh Riskin*, David Bader

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Nutritional for preterm babies is aimed at achieving exdpected intrauterine growth and accretion of nutrients. Early trophic feedings should be started as soon as possible for gastrointestinal priming. Mother's (breast) milk is the best food for preterm babies. Its advantages are in host defence, nutritional components and suitability for gut absorption, as well as its psychological and developmental value. The limitations of human milk for preterm babies, mainly in protein and minerals, can be compensated for by using powedered human milk fortifier. Sucking skills usually mature around 34 weeks, corrected gestational age. Thus, small preemies are initially fed by orogastric of lactation in mothers of preemies mandates protection of the mother and child bonding process and early skin to skin contact ("kangeroo care"). Methods for storage of expressed breast milk and the recommended length of storage are discussed. Milk bank mandates pasteurizarion and freezing of the donors' milk. Most of the nutritional and immunological advantages of human milk are preserved after such treatments. Cytomegalovirus (CMV) infections in preterm infants, that were acquired from mother's expressed breast milk, are not uncommon, and require further attention.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)217-222+236
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1 Mar 2003
Externally publishedYes


  • Cytomegalovirus (CMV)
  • Enteral feeeding
  • Human milk
  • Human milk fortifier
  • Milk bank
  • Nutrition
  • Preterm babies
  • Storage of expressed breast milk


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