Breast milk provides the optimal nutrients such as vitamins, proteins and fats as well as growth factors, hormones, protective antibodies and digestive enzymes to ensure that these NICU babies grow and develop well. It also reduces the risk of illnesses and promotes normal growth and better long term development.
Source: KK Women's and Children's Hospital Press Release, 8 Nov 2018
Premature or sick babies’ immature digestive system is prone to feeding intolerance and they are at risk of developing a life-threatening condition known as “necrotizing enterocolitis”, a serious intestinal disease among premature babies. In full-term infants with medical conditions such as heart disease and gastrointestinal malformations, the use of breast milk offers protection from infections and reduces feeding intolerance.
Premature babies who are fed breast milk tend to develop better eyesight and certain types of fats found in breastmilk ensure the growth and development of a high-risk baby's eyes, brain, and nervous system.