The use of human milk and breastfeeding in premature infants

Clin Perinatol. 1999 Jun;26(2):379-98, vii.


Human milk is beneficial in the management of premature infants. The beneficial effects generally relate to improvements in host defenses, digestion, and absorption of nutrients, gastrointestinal function, neurodevelopment, and maternal psychological well-being. The use of fortified human milk generally provides the premature infant adequate growth, nutrient retention, and biochemical indices of nutritional status when fed at approximately 180 mL/kg/day compared with unfortified human milk. Human milk can only support the needs of the premature infant if adequate milk volumes are produced. Intensive efforts at lactation support are desirable. Therefore, neonatal centers should encourage the feeding of fortified human milk for premature infants along with skin-to-skin contact as a reasonable method to enhance milk production and promote success with early breastfeeding, while potentially facilitating the development of an enteromammary response.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Breast Feeding*
  • Female
  • Food, Fortified
  • Humans
  • Infant Nutritional Physiological Phenomena
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infant, Premature*
  • Lactation / psychology
  • Milk, Human*