Visit Our Coronavirus (COVID-19)  Resource Section ⇒ X
Jump to:  A   |   B   |   C   |   D   |   E   |   F   |   G   |   H   |   I   |   J   |   K   |   L   |   M   |   N   |   O   |   P   |   Q   |   R   |   S   |   T   |   U   |   V   |   W   |   X   |   Y

Adding to Mother's Milk

Adding to Mother's Milk

Is your own milk enough for a preterm baby?

The nutrients and calories in human milk are often enough for "older" or "bigger" premature babies, and for many other high-risk babies. But lower nutrient levels and the "full-term" calorie count in human milk may cause problems for a low-birth-weight baby who weighed 3 pounds, 5 ounces (1,500 grams) or less at birth. Very preterm and low-birth-weight babies miss the growth of fat, muscle, and bones that usually happens in the last few weeks of pregnancy. To "catch up" on this growth, they need a boost of protein and minerals that breastmilk alone can't provide. They also may need more calories.

Fortunately, adding to (fortifying) your milk won't lessen the nutritional and anti-infective benefits your baby will gain from getting your milk. But it may help to better provide the nutrition your baby needs.

Adding to your milk

The most common ways of adding nutrients and calories are:

  • Hindmilk feeding. When a higher calorie count is the only concern, you may be asked to pump your milk for several minutes and then stop to change collection bottles to collect the rest of the milk. The early milk you get while pumping is called foremilk. It's valuable and has many nutrients and protective factors, but it is lower in fat and calories than the milk you pump later. This milk collected after the first several minutes is called hindmilk. This tends to be higher in calorie-rich fats. Freeze any foremilk for later use . Only use this strategy if told to do so by your baby's healthcare provider.

  • Human milk fortifier (HMF). HMF adds to the nutrients already in your breastmilk to meet your baby's higher requirements. It supplies increased protein for growth and minerals calcium and phosphorous that low-birth-weight and some high-risk babies need for proper bone development. HMF is added directly to a bottle of your own milk. Often a powdered version is used when you have plenty of your own milk. Liquid HMF will be used if you have reduced amounts of your breastmilk.

  • Premature infant formulas. Sometimes feedings of mother's milk may be alternated with feedings of a premature infant formula. This may be done if HMF is not thought to be the best choice, or when you have reduced amounts of your breastmilk.

How long are extra nutrients needed?

How long your baby requires added nutrients and calories will depend on your baby's age, weight, health, and how well they can breastfeed.

Reviewed Date: 02-01-2021

Adding to Mother's Milk
Find a pediatrician
Neonatology/NICU
Dr. Rachel Armentrout
Dr. W. Thomas Bass
Dr. Kathryn Colacchio
Dr. Deborah Devendorf
Dr. Susannah Dillender
Dr. Rebecca Dorner
Dr. C W Gowen
Dr. Glen Green
Dr. Edward Karotkin
Dr. Jamil Khan
Dr. Kirk Sallas
Dr. Tushar Shah
Dr. Brett Siegfried
Dr. Kenneth Tiffany
Quizzes
Breastfeeding Quiz
NewsLetters
Healthy Eating While Pregnant or Breastfeeding
Diseases & Conditions
Breast Milk Collection and Storage
Breast Milk Expression
Breastfeeding and Delayed Milk Production
Breastfeeding and Returning To Work
Breastfeeding at Work
Breastfeeding Difficulties - Baby
Breastfeeding Difficulties - Mother
Breastfeeding the High-Risk Newborn
Breastfeeding When Returning to Work
Breastfeeding Your Baby
Breastfeeding Your High-Risk Baby
Breastfeeding Your Premature Baby
Breastfeeding: Getting Started
Breastfeeding: Returning to Work
Breastmilk: Pumping, Collecting, Storing
Difficulty with Latching On or Sucking
Effective Sucking
Expressing Milk for Your High-Risk Baby
Expressing Your Milk - Helpful Equipment
Flat or Inverted Nipples
How Breastmilk Is Made
Low Milk Production
Managing Poor Weight Gain in Your Breastfed Baby
Maternal Nutrition and Breastfeeding
Maternity Leave
Milk Production and Your High-Risk Baby
Newborn Multiples
Overactive Let-Down
Plugged Milk Ducts
Sore Nipples
Storing Your Breastmilk
Surgery and the Breastfeeding Infant
Taking Care of Your Breast Pump and Collection Kit
Thawing Breast Milk
The Benefits of Mother's Own Milk
Using a Breast Pump
Your Baby and Breastfeeding
Your High-Risk Baby and Expressing Milk

Disclaimer: This information is not intended to substitute or replace the professional medical advice you receive from your child's physician. The content provided on this page is for informational purposes only, and was not designed to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease. Please consult your child's physician with any questions or concerns you may have regarding a medical condition.