breastfeedingGrowth restriction of preterm infants is a serious concern of pediatricians. Nutrition is crucial to proper growth and development, including neurodevelopment. Researchers from the University of York recently published a study in the Cochrane Database of Systematic Review on the implications of fortifying breast milk to speed up growth and facilitate neurodevelopment in preterm infants.

The study was not active in nature. Instead, researchers reviewed trials on breast milk fortification found in various clinical databases. They were able to find two trials with a total of 246 infants enrolled. Neither trial reported significant increases in growth and development at three, four or eighteen months, associated with breast milk fortification. Researchers also noted fortifying breast milk poses a delivery problem as milk must be expressed and the infant fed after fortifying nutrients are added.

Prior to reporting a definitive result, researchers suggest long-term trials with participants (mothers) willing to participate well into childhood to determine the long-term ramifications of breast milk fortification.

Source: Young L, Embleton ND, McCormick FM, McGuire W. Multinutrient fortification of human breast milk for preterm infants following hospital discharge. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2013 Feb 28;2:CD004866. doi: 10.1002/14651858.CD004866.pub4.