And for preterm babies who are especially vulnerable, breastfeeding is one of the best ways to ensure that preterm babies stay healthy and free from diseases. Remember this as one of the breastfeeding benefits for preterm babies.
Breastfeeding benefits preterm babies by boosting their development
Preterm babies have a higher risk of having developmental problems compared to their full-term counterparts. This is because the bodies of preterm babies are not yet fully developed, so they still need to “catch up” in terms of development.
One way of measuring a preterm baby’s growth is by measuring their weight gain.
However, preterm babies tend to gain weight at a slower pace, because they are using most of the calories they receive in order to grow and heal.
An amazing thing about breast milk is that if a mother gives birth prematurely, her body will adjust the milk she produces according to her newborn baby’s needs.
This means that the breast milk of preterm mothers usually has more protein to help boost growth, and an enzyme called lysozyme strengthens the immune system. This is one of the breastfeeding benefits for preterm babies.
In addition, their milk would also have more fat and less lactose. Preterm babies use the fat for energy, while the lower lactose content makes it easy to digest.
By providing breast milk, preterm babies, can receive not just the essential nutrients that their growing bodies need, but also the calories that their body uses as energy for their growth.
This means that by breastfeeding, preterm babies can gain weight faster and catch up with full-term babies.
Breast milk can easily be digested
Another one of the breastfeeding benefits for preterm babies is that babies can easily digest it. In fact, even preterm babies can readily digest breast milk.
One problem with formula milk is that it can sometimes cause allergic reactions, or even stomach infections. This can also put a lot of stress on a newborn’s kidneys, and can cause vomiting and/or diarrhea.
These problems might seem small to us adults, but for preterm babies, it can be very dangerous.
By giving preterm babies breast milk, these problems can be avoided.