Human Milk–Based Nutrition Meets the Needs of Preemies in the NICU

What is a 100% human milk diet?

A 100% human milk diet includes mom’s own milk, or donor milk if mom’s own milk is unavailable, and a human milk-based fortifier.

Why is breast milk the best form of nutrition?

Breast milk is important for all babies, including your premature baby, and nothing else provides the same benefits. In addition to providing nutrition, it supports the baby’s developing immune system and provides the baby with protection against infections. Human breast milk provides optimal nutrition for human babies. Because of its health benefits, the European Society of Paediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology, and Nutrition (ESPGHAN) Committee on Nutrition recommends fortifying mother’s milk or pasteurized donor human milk with protein, minerals, and vitamins to ensure optimal nutrition intake and energy intake for premature infants weighing less than 1800 g.1

Why give your preemie a fortifier?

Premature babies, especially those weighing 1250 g or less at birth, have special nutritional needs. A fortifier is added to your breast milk or donor milk to give your preemie additional calories and protein.

Why give your preemie HumavantTM human milk fortifier (HMF)?

Most fortifiers are made from cow’s milk, which can be difficult for your preemie to digest and can increase the risk of complications. Humavant HMF is the only fortifier made from 100% donor milk.

What does the evidence say?

Studies show that when used as part of a 100% human milk diet, Humavant™ HMF is clinically proven to improve health outcomes for critically ill, extremely premature infants in the NICU weighing between 500 and 1250 g at birth, as compared to cow milk-based fortifier or preterm formula.*,2,3,4

Be a voice for your baby.

Fortifying breast milk with Humavant HMF is the only way your premature baby can benefit from a 100% human milk–based fortified diet at this important time. Speak with your healthcare professionals about your baby’s nutritional needs, and see if they believe your baby can benefit from a 100% human milk–based diet.

* Outcome measures were statistically based on average weight data.

  1. Agostoni C, Buonocore G, Carnielli VP, et al. Enteral nutrient supply for preterm infants: commentary from the European Society for Paediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition Committee on Nutrition. J Pediatr Gastroenterol Nutr. 2010;50(1):85-91.
  2. Abrams SA, et al. Greater mortality and morbidity in extremely preterm infants fed a diet containing cow milk protein products. Breastfeed Med. 2014;9(6):281-285.
  3. Cristofalo EA, et al. Randomized trial of exclusive human milk versus preterm formula diets in extremely premature infants. J Pediatr. 2013;163(6).
  4. Sullivan S, et al. An exclusively human milk-based diet is associated with a lower rate of necrotizing enterocolitis than a diet of human milk and bovine milk-based products. J Pediatr. 2010;156(4):562-567.

Need Additional Information?