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Prolacta’s Human Milk–Based Nutrition Meets the Needs of Preemies in the NICU

Your premature baby has increased nutritional needs.

If your baby was born prematurely, it can be an overwhelming time for you as a parent. Premature babies, especially those weighing 2 pounds 12 ounces (1250 g) or less at birth, have special nutritional needs. Compared to term babies, premature babies need more energy to grow, and because they grow at a rapid pace, they also need more protein, minerals and other nutrients.

Breast milk is the best form of nutrition.

Breast milk is important for all babies, including your premature baby, and nothing else provides the same benefits. In addition to nutrition, it supports the baby’s developing immune system and provides the baby with protection against infections. Breast milk is also developed specifically to provide optimal nutrition for human babies. Because of its health benefits, the American Academy of Pediatrics’ (AAP) policy recommends the use of human milk for all preterm infants, whether mother’s own milk or pasteurized donor human milk when mother’s own milk is unavailable.1

Why breast milk may need to be fortified.

Because of your premature baby’s additional energy and protein requirements, they would need to consume more breast milk than their tiny stomach could hold in order to get the proper nutrition. That’s why doctors may decide to add a human milk fortifier (HMF) to your breast milk for your premature infant’s feedings.2 HMFs are intended to address a premature baby’s nutritional requirements by providing additional protein, calories, vitamins and minerals.

Prolact+ H2MF® is the only HMF made from human breast milk.

Prolact+ H2MF® is the only human milk–based HMF available for very low-birth-weight babies, i.e. babies born weighing less than 2 pounds 12 ounces at birth. Prolact+ H2MF® supplementation is often used for the smallest preemies. It is made from breast milk donated by mothers who want to help others. These mothers are healthy, nursing women who have undergone extensive medical and social screening (similar to the blood donor screening process). Their breast milk is tested, formulated into Prolact+ H2MF® for premature babies and pasteurized. Prolact+ H2MF® is manufactured under strict quality-control processes to ensure consistent, high quality nutrient content.

   
  The benefits of Prolact+ H2MF® for your baby.

Prolact+ H2MF®, as part of an exclusive human milk diet, has been demonstrated to improve health outcomes of preemies in the NICU. It is the only human milk-based fortifier to have been so evaluated.

  • Reduces the odds of NEC: Prolact+ H2MF® has the benefit of reducing the odds of your baby developing necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC). NEC is an infection that inflames part of a baby’s intestines and occurs predominantly in premature infants. This disease, which can often require surgery to remove damaged sections of intestine, often develops two to three weeks after birth, but can occur much later. It is one of the most serious diseases in premature infants.
  • Prolact+ H2MF® is the only HMF clinically demonstrated to reduce the odds of developing NEC when used as part of a 100% human milk diet. A recent study published in the Journal of Pediatrics showed that when Prolact+ H2MF® was added to human milk and fed to premature infants weighing 500 g-1250 g at birth, the odds of developing NEC were reduced by 77% compared to infants fed human milk fortified with cow milk–based HMF or preterm infant formula, when mother’s milk was unavailable.3
  • Associated with fewer cases of surgical NEC: In a second confirmatory study, Prolact+ H2MF® as part of a 100% human milk diet resulted in significantly fewer cases of NEC requiring surgery compared to preterm infant formula. Specifically, there were no cases of surgical NEC for babies fed an exclusive human milk diet that included Prolact+ H2MF®.4 (Cases of surgical NEC require surgery to remove the damaged and/or dead intestinal tissue.)
  • Reduces the number of PN days: In the same study where 0 cases of surgical NEC occurred, there were also 9 fewer days of parenteral nutrition (PN) for infants fed a human milk diet that included Prolact+ H2MF® compared to those fed preterm infant formula.4 (PN days are defined as days that nutrition is provided intravenously.)
   

Be a voice for your baby.

Fortifying breast milk with Prolact+ H2MF® is the only way your premature baby can benefit from a 100% human milk–based fortified diet at this important time. Speak with your healthcare professionals about your baby’s nutritional needs and see if they believe your baby can benefit from a 100% human milk–based diet. Click here to download a 1-page guide that can help you with this conversation.

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  1. American Academy of Pediatrics. Breastfeeding and the Use of Human Milk. Section on Breastfeeding. [originally published online February 27, 2012]. Pediatrics. DOI: 10.1542/peds.2011-3552.
  2. Kleinman R, ed. Pediatric Nutrition Handbook. 6th ed. Elk Grove Village, IL: American Academy of Pediatrics; 2009:94.
  3. Sullivan S, Schanler RJ, Kim JH et al. An exclusively human milk-based diet is associated with a lower rate of necrotizing enterocolitis than a diet of human milk and bovine milk based products. J Pediatr. 2009:156(4):562-567.
  4. Cristofalo EA, Schanler RJ, Blanco CL, et al. Randomized trial of exclusive human milk versus preterm formula diets in extremely premature infants. J Pediatr. 2013;163(6):1592-1595.


Additional Publications

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