100% human milk diet is crucial for preterm babies, finds pan-India survey of Neonatologists & NICU nurses
In a recent survey conducted among 100 Neonatologists and 152 neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) nurses across more than 30 cities in India, NeoLacta Lifesciences, based in Bengaluru, found that a whopping 98% respondents believed that 100% human milk diet (HMD) is crucial for preterm babies. Yet, currently, only 15% NICUs provide a 100% human milk diet for preterm infants.
Commenting on India’s pressing public health challenge, Dr Amish K Vora, India’s leading Paediatric and Neonatal Intensivist, ECLS Specialist, said, “Providing the best care for preterm babies is not always an easy task. Among other issues, they have special nutritional needs. Pasteurized donor human milk is the best alternative feed for preterm infants when mother’s own milk is unavailable. Premature babies need more energy than term babies to grow. Early fortification by way of adding a fortifier to the human milk for the infant is an effective way to ensure that their protein, mineral and all other requirements are adequately met. However, not all fortifiers are equal. 100% human milk-based products are effective and safe option to avoid growth deficits that may cause serious complications later in life.”
As the only company in Asia to develop 100% human milk products and India’s only ISO 22000 and GMP certified human milk facility, NeoLacta specialises in mother’s milk-based products that cater to the unique nutritional needs of premature babies. Unlike cow milk-based fortifiers, NeoLacta’s patented products made exclusively from human milk are known to agree well with preterm babies’ delicate digestive systems, while providing them with all the essential nutrients.
In the survey, 56% respondents said that they use cow milk-based diet for more than 50% of preterm infants. However, 22% respondents found that cow milk-based diet caused feeding-related issues in more than 50% of preterm babies. Several studies have shown that infants fed cow milk-based products, rather than human milk-based fortifiers, may have a greater risk of adverse outcomes, such as late-onset sepsis and necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC).
Incidentally, 94% of those who used NeoLacta’s pasteurised human milk product reported it to have good safety and tolerability as trophic feeds for preterm infants. Also, 80% of those who used NeoLact Mother’s Milk Fortifier (MMF) reported that the product showed good efficacy and safety in preterm babies.
Dr Vikram Reddy, Chief Scientific Officer, NeoLacta Lifesciences, noted, “As the only company in Asia that produces mother’s milk-based products, we were keen to hear from the experts – the neonatologists and NICU nurses – about their experiences of dealing with the nutritional needs of preterm babies. The survey results have reinforced our commitment to work towards a healthier life for babies who come into this world earlier than expected. India tops the list of 10 countries that account for 60% of premature deliveries worldwide. We need to spread more awareness about the importance of human milk-based fortifiers for the healthy development and long life of preterm babies.”