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Benefits of Breast Milk-Based Human Milk Fortifiers

About one in nine babies in the U.S. are born prematurely according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. We all know breast milk is the best thing for babies when it’s possible, but sometimes bringing a new baby home doesn’t go as planned.

Premature babies, especially those who weigh 2.2 pounds or less at birth, have special nutritional needs and can’t be fed by mouth or with a bottle. Breast or nipple feedings can be too strenuous for their bodies and they may not be able to swallow or suck on their own. As a result, they get their nutrition through tube feedings. This typically consists of a mother’s pumped breast milk, or if it’s not available or there is an insufficient amount, donor breast milk may be used, along with a human milk fortifier (HMF) to provide the added nutrition these preemies require.

Human Milk Fortifiers

Prolact+ H2MF®

is the only HMF made exclusively from breast milk that is available for very low-birth-weight babies and is often used for the first 60 days of life for the smallest of preemies. The milk is donated by healthy, nursing mothers who have undergone extensive medical and social screening. Once it is collected at the processing facility, it is DNA matched to the qualified donor’s ID profile to ensure it came from the mother who tested and passed the safety screening. Then, it goes through an extensive viral screening for the presence of HIV-1, HBV, and HCV.

All other options of HMF are made from cow-milk proteins and can lead to feeding intolerance. If an HMF isn’t used, the baby will receive preterm infant formula, which is also cow-milk based. The use of human milk carries significant benefits for a preemie’s immune, gastrointestinal, and brain development. Studies have indicated infants who are fed human milk instead of formula have a lower risk of necrotizing enterocolitis. It also ensures they have an adequate amount of protein, fat, and carbohydrates to support brain development and organ maturity.

AAP Recommendations

Prolact+ H2MF products help meet the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommendation for use of human milk for all preterm infants, for fortifying human milk with protein, minerals, and vitamins to ensure optimal nutrient intake for infants weighing <1500g at birth, and meet the CDC’s recommendation to not use powdered infant formulas in neonatal intensive care units. The AAP adheres to the position that breastfeeding ensures the best possible health, as well as the best developmental and psychosocial outcomes for an infant. Life in a NICU is unpredictable and parents have little to no control. It can be frightening and overwhelming to be by the monitors, respirators, and other equipment in the NICU, but you are the voice of your baby, so talk with your attending physician or neonatologist to determine which feeding solution is appropriate for the nutritional benefits of your preemie.