Aim: A randomized study was conducted to evaluate whether pasteurized milk (Holder pasteurization 62.5 degrees C, 30 min) reduces fat absorption and growth in preterm infants.
Methods: Preterm infants (825-1325 g) born with gestational age < or =30 weeks were randomized into two groups, of which one started with pasteurized own mother's milk for 1 week and continued with raw milk the following week, and a second group was fed in reverse order. By using this design the infants served as their own controls. At the end of each week, a 72-h fat balance was performed and growth was monitored.
Results: We found, on an average, 17% higher fat absorption with raw as compared to pasteurized milk. Infants gained more weight and linear growth assessed as knee-heel length was also greater during the week they were fed raw milk as compared to the week they were fed pasteurized milk.
Conclusion: Feeding preterm infants pasteurized as compared to raw own mother's milk reduced fat absorption. When the infants were fed raw milk, they gained more in knee-heel length compared to when they were fed pasteurized milk.