Women’s & Children’s Hospital in Lafayette, La. now provides an exclusive human milk-based nutritional diet for the most critically ill, premature infants in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). Premature infants require more protein, calcium and other minerals than what breast milk alone can supply. As a result, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends fortifying mother’s milk or pasteurized donor milk with protein, minerals and vitamins to ensure optimal nutrient intake for preemies weighing less than 3 pounds 4 ounces. “Allowing us to provide an exclusive human milk diet to the most at risk and premature infants means that all of the carbohydrates, proteins and fats of our premature infants’ diet are derived only from human milk,” said Dr. Amy Zeringue, MEDNAX-affiliated neonatologist. “An exclusive human milk diet has many benefits, including decreasing sepsis and necrotizing enterocolitis, which can be a devastating disease of the intestines. Exclusive human milk diet also enables our tiniest babies to reach full feeds sooner, meaning these babies are requiring fewer days of intravenous nutrition.”

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