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Nutritional composition of human milk and preterm formula for the premature infant

Richard J Schanler, MD
Section Editor
Steven A Abrams, MD
Deputy Editor
Alison G Hoppin, MD


Enteral nutrition can be provided to premature infants with either human milk or commercial premature formulas. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends human milk as the preferred feeding for all infants, although supplementation with human milk fortifiers is required to meet the nutritional needs of premature newborns [1].

Although human milk is the preferred feeding, premature formula is an option if there is an inadequate supply of mother's milk or if the mother is unable to breastfeed. Premature formula meets nutrient needs of the growing premature infant but does not replicate the many bioactive factors in human milk.

This topic review will compare the various components of human milk and premature formula with respect to their ability to meet the nutritional requirements of the premature infant. Other issues relevant to enteral nutrition for premature infants are covered in the following topic reviews:

(See "Human milk feeding and fortification of human milk for premature infants".)

(See "Approach to enteral nutrition in the premature infant".)

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Literature review current through: Nov 2017. | This topic last updated: Dec 09, 2016.
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