A premature baby has specific needs. The choice of milk to offer him is one of the things to pay attention to.
Which milk should you give your premature baby and why? We’ll tell you more.
Premature birth: what does it mean?
Giving birth to a child before reaching 37 weeks of amenorrhea is considered premature.
In France, this concerns approximately 7% of births. Depending on the date of delivery, there are different types of prematurity:
The average prematurity concerns babies born between the 33rd and 37th weeks of amenorrhea.
Extreme prematurity concerns babies born between 28 and 32 weeks of amenorrhea (included).
Note: a full-term pregnancy occurs after 41 weeks of amenorrhea, that is, since the first day of the last menstrual period.
Prematurity can occur spontaneously or be induced by the medical profession:
In about 60% of cases, prematurity is said to be spontaneous. The most common cause is premature rupture of the water bag or spontaneous early labor.
In about 40% of cases, the medical profession is the cause. There is a risk for the mother and the child. This is called deliberate or induced prematurity. The most common reasons are severe high blood pressure in the mother, severe growth retardation, or maternal hemorrhage.
Good to know: more and more babies are born prematurely, but the chances of survival are also increasing.
What kind of milk for a premature baby?
Breastfeeding remains the best solution for a premature baby. That said, it is not always possible to breastfeed your baby by choice or by impossibility. The important thing is not to put pressure on yourself and, above all, not to choose one option out of compulsion: the best solution for you will be the best solution for your baby.
To meet the specific nutritional needs of babies born prematurely (faster growth and immaturity of certain digestive, hepatic, or renal functions), doctors can propose kinds of milk with an adapted formula:
slightly higher in protein with a casein/soluble protein ratio close to that of breast milk (equal to 40/60 or 30/70);
enriched with taurine and carnitine;
which contain medium-chain triglycerides;
contain 2/3 lactose and 1/3 dextrin-maltose for better digestive tolerance, as lactose immaturity is typical in premature babies.
Note: kinds of milk offered for premature babies are easily digestible so that they can gain weight quickly. Probiotics may also be offered, although the European Society of Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition (ESPGHAN) does not recommend using Saccharomyces boulardii strains in preterm infants for safety reasons.