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Women's and Children's to adopt exclusive human milk based diet for premature infants

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Lafayette hospital offers exclusive human milk diet for preemies

LAFAYETTE (KLFY) – For a new baby, proper nutrition is vital fo survival. Women’s & Children’s Hospital is going one step further by becoming the first facility in Acadiana to provide an exclusive human milk-based diet for the most critically ill, premature infants.

Noah Leblanc only weighed two pounds, five ounces when he came into the world. He was born about three months too soon. Mom Krystle Leblanc says it’s been a rollercoaster.

“We’ve had blood transfusions and we’ve had dips in our weight. Lots of monitors, but for the most part he’s done really well. He just likes to move at his own pace,” Krystle Leblanc said.

Because premature babies aren’t able to breastfeed right away, moms often pump. Neonatologist Dr. Amy Zeringue said the hospital adds a fortifier, or supplement, to the breast milk.

“Preterm babies need more calories in general to grow and to make sure they have normal brain development so it allows them to have that catch up growth faster,” Dr. Zeringue said.

This fortifier used to be made of cows milk. Now the doctors at Women’s and Children’s Hospital are able to give the premature babies a fortifier made exclusively with donated human milk. Something Leblanc said is important to her family.

“I didn’t want anything that was foreign to his body at this time in his life. He’s not even supposed to be here, he already has so many obstacles to overcome and that was going to be one more obstacle for him,” Krystle Leblanc said.

This fortifier is for the smallest babies, those born under 2.5 pounds.

“They are the ones who have the most risk of having intestinal problems at birth and throughout the early weeks of life.” Dr. Zeringue said.

Noah Leblanc now weighs six pounds. His family is excited to have him home.

“Our goal is to get everyone in one place and that would be an exciting day and to share him with his siblings because they haven’t gotten to do that yet,” Krystle Leblanc said.

Noah Leblanc was able to go home from the NICU right before Labor Day.