Thursday, April 2, 2015

Healthy Habits: Prolacta and Preemies

When my girls were born, I had way too much milk. I donated my milk to a nearby hospital affiliated with Prolacta. The are pros and cons to both Prolacta and milk banks run by other organizations; this is what was available. It was a great feeling knowing that something I had plenty to spare was able to help other babies - especially when my parents' pastor's son ended up in the NICU. Although he may not have gotten my milk, it was nice to know he might have.

I was able to interview Prolacta to share more information about their services for preemies.

1) How can breast milk make a difference in preemies?

The American Academy of Pediatrics’ (AAP) recommends that all preterm infants receive breast milk, be it a mother’s own or donor milk.[i]  Mounting scientific evidence supports the use of an exclusive human milk diet for premature infants in the NICU, as opposed to cow milk-based nutrition or formula.  A study published recently in the journal Breastfeeding Medicine concluded that an exclusive human milk diet results in lower mortality for extremely premature infants.[ii] As a result of this research and other leading studies, the use of an exclusive human milk diet in the NICU is on the rise.

2) What does Prolacta provide?

Today, thanks to advances in the science of human milk, preemies have a greater chance to survive and thrive.  Critically ill and premature infants have special dietary needs requiring higher levels of fat, protein and calories than a full-term baby would need. Prolacta Bioscience offers the first and only complete line of Neonatal Nutritional Products that are clinically proven[iii],[iv],[v] to improve health outcomes, decrease mortality[vi] and reduce healthcare system costs[vii] of critically ill preemies in the NICU. Prolacta’s innovation in the science of human milk is changing the standard of care in NICUs nationwide.

3) How can mothers help out?

Moms who have excess breast milk and want to make a difference in the lives of premature babies, can become a breast milk donor. is a Prolacta milk banking network that lists several donation options.  All milk collected goes through a rigorous screening process and is formulated into exclusive human milk-based nutritional products and sold to hospitals for use in the NICU.

4) What are ways that people can support families with preemies in the NICU?

There are several organizations that help support families with preemies in the NICU like the Preemie Parent Alliance and the NEC Society.  Organizations such as these provide things such as support groups, resources, care packages and events for parents of preemies. Many hospital NICUs also offer ways for people to support families of preemies.  We suggest contacting your local hospital to see how you can help. 

[i] American Academy of Pediatrics, “Breastfeeding and the Use of Human Milk.” Pediatrics. 2012;129:e827
[ii] Abrams S, et al., “Greater Mortality and Morbidity in Extremely Preterm Infants Fed a Diet Containing Cow Milk Protein Products.” Breastfeeding Medicine. 2014;9(6):281-285
[iii] Sullivan S, et al., “An Exclusive Human Milk-Based Diet is Associated with a Lower Rate of Necrotizing Enterocolitis than a Diet of Human Milk and Bovine Milk-Based Products.” Journal of Pediatrics. 2010;156(4):562-567
[iv] Cristofalo E, et al., “Randomized Trial of Exclusive Human Milk versus Preterm Formula Diets in Extremely Premature Infants.” Journal of Pediatrics. 2013;163(6):1592-1595
[v] Hair A, et al., “Randomized Trial of Human Milk Cream as a Supplement to Standard Fortification of an Exclusive Human Milk-Based Diet in Infants 750-1250g Birth Weight.” Journal of Pediatrics. 2014;165(5):915-920 
[vi] Abrams S, et al., “Greater Mortality and Morbidity in Extremely Preterm Infants Fed a Diet Containing Cow Milk Protein Products.” Breastfeeding Medicine. 2014;9(6):281-285
[vii] Ganapathy V, et al., “Long Term Healthcare Costs of Infants Who Survived Neonatal Necrotizing Enterocolitis: A Retrospective Longitudinal Study Among Infants Enrolled in Texas Medicaid.” BMC Pediatrics. 2013;13:127  

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