Increase in Weight in Low Birth Weight and Very Low Birth Weight Infants Fed Fortified Breast Milk versus Formula Milk: A Retrospective Cohort Study.

Research paper by Kris Yuet Wan KYW Lok, Pui Hing PH Chau, Heidi Sze Lok HSL Fan, Kam Ming KM Chan, Bill H BH Chan, Genevieve P C GPC Fung, Marie M Tarrant

Indexed on: 23 May '17Published on: 23 May '17Published in: Nutrients


There has been a dramatic rise in preterm births in developed countries owing to changes in clinical practices and greater use of assisted reproductive techniques. However, few studies have examined the growth and outcomes of preterm infants according to the type of feeding (with fortified breast milk or formula). The purpose of this study was to examine the effect of breast milk feedings and formula on the growth and short-term outcomes of preterm infants in Hong Kong. In a single-center retrospective cohort study, we included 642 preterm infants at gestational age <37 weeks with birth weights <2200 g. According to World Health Organization criteria, 466 were classified as low birth weight (LBW) infants (≥1500 g and <2200 g) and 176 were classified as very low birth weight (VLBW) infants (<1500 g). The mothers of approximately 80% of VLBW infants and 60% LBW infants initiated breast milk feeding. When compared with no breast milk intake, LBW infants that received breast milk were significantly more likely to have growth z-scores closer to the median of the reference population on admission and experienced slower weight gain from birth to discharge. When breast milk was categorized by percent of total enteral intake, significant differences were seen among LBW infants, with lower percentages of small-for-gestational-age (SGA) status at discharge with increased proportions of breast milk intake. Our results suggest that LBW infants fed breast milk had better growth z-scores and lower SGA status at discharge compared with those predominately fed preterm formula.