breastfeeding help the premature baby?
The milk of the mother of a premature baby is higher in
protein, sodium, chloride, calcium, iron and nitrogen. Human
milk is easier to digest and is better tolerated by the
premature baby because the protein is more readily absorbed
by baby’s digestive system and an enzyme is present which
helps digest milk fat which is an important source of energy
for the preterm baby’s growth. Both colostrum, the yellowish
milk produced the first few days after birth, and mature
milk provide the baby with antibodies that protect the
immature immune system from bacterial and viral infections,
diarrhea and necrotizing enterocolitis, a bowel problem
often seen in premature babies. Colostrum also helps the
baby excrete bilirubin, a by-product of the breakdown of
excess red blood cells which can cause newborn jaundice.
Mother’s milk contains many enzymes and hormones, including
growth factors which recent research suggests may help
baby’s digestive and nervous systems mature.
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