MUSC Women's Care

musc women's care

Why Is Breatmilk So Important for My Premature Baby?

Baby's faceYour breastmilk is especially made for your baby and can offer extra protection against some of the problems that premature babies develop.

There are special proteins in your breastmilk (lactoferrin, lysozyme, secretory IGA and numerous growth factors) that can protect your baby against infection. There are also infection fighting cells (white blood cells) in your milk. None of these special properties are present in formula.

Your colostrum is used as medicine for the first feedings to coat or "paint" your baby's intestines and make the intestinal wall stronger which protects your baby against infection.

Breastmilk is easier to digest than formula.

Babies who receive their mother's breastmilk have softer stools that are easier to pass.

There is less chance of your baby developing allergies if he/she receives your breastmilk.

There are special fats ("fatty acids") in your breastmilk that help the growth of your baby's brain and eyes. Studies show that premature babies that receive their mother's milk have higher intelligence (IQ) scores than babies who did not receive their mother's milk.

Expressing your breastmilk for your baby is something only you can do.


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