In an article published today in BMC Pediatrics, Colaizy, et al. show that very low birthweight (VLBW) babies grow adequately in the hospital before discharge when fed on a diet of predominantly human milk, regardless of whether that milk is derived from the mother or from a breast milk donor.
In this retrospective cohort study of 171 infants, the percentage of human milk and formula used to feed VBLW babies was analyzed, with the primary outcome being change in the weight z-score by milk type (a z-score is a measure of standard deviation from the average value within a population). All of the babies included in this study weighed ≤1250 grams at birth. While they all showed a significant decrease in weight z-score from birth to discharge, this decrease was significantly larger in babies fed >75% human milk. However, the authors did not note a dose-response effect between the percentage of human milk and infant growth.
The change in weight from birth to discharge and the actual weight at discharge did not vary significantly between babies fed with predominantly mother’s milk and babies fed predominantly donor milk. Furthermore, the growth of all of the infants included in this study was considered appropriate for postmenstrual age at the time of discharge.
The authors concluded that a diet comprised of predominantly human milk, whether from the mother or donors, supports adequate growth of VLBW babies. It is also important to fortify the human milk to ensure that the caloric and protein content is adequate.
For more information, see the full article here.