Thursday, Oct 06, 2022

Nutrition alert: A guide to take care of your preterm baby

In 75 per cent of cases, infections such as diarrhea and pneumonia pose a threat to the lives of newborns, said Dr Vikram Reddy, chief scientific officer, Neolacta Lifesciences

national nutrition week, national nutrition week 2021, premature babies nutrition,, indianexpress, breastfeeding tips, should premature baby be given water,Here's your ready reckoner for caring for premature baby's nutrition. (Source: Getty Images/Thinkstock)

The theme of the recently-concluded National Nutrition Week 2021 — ‘Feeding smart, right from start’ — highlighted the importance of nutrition from the very beginning. Hence, to promote health, support growth, and enhance development, it is imperative that infants are breastfed exclusively for the first six months, followed by complementary feeding while continuing to breastfeed till 2 years of age, experts recommend.

This becomes even more essential for premature babies or those born before the completion of 37 weeks of pregnancy and hence, are at high risk of developing complications. In 75 per cent of cases, infections such as diarrhea and pneumonia pose a threat to the lives of newborns, said Dr Vikram Reddy, chief scientific officer, Neolacta Lifesciences. Hence, ensuring access to human milk-based nutrition is of prime importance as helps in the optimal growth and development of the baby, he added.

What must be done?

Dr Geetika Gangwani, lactation consultant, emphasised that ensuring availability of 100 per cent breast milk diet is of paramount importance for the survival of the newborn as well as for the optimal development of the brain and other organs.

Subscriber Only Stories
UPSC Key-October 6, 2022: Why you should read ‘Committees of Parliament’ ...Premium
World Bank says 70 million plunged into poverty in 2020: What caused setb...Premium
Remembering Indian tennis great, Naresh Kumar, who passed away on Septemb...Premium
How Carlsen would need to cheat just once in a game of chess to be invinc...Premium

As per Dr Reddy, human milk provides antibodies and is easily digestible. “It contains all the nutrients that are essential for the overall growth of the baby and support the development of vital organs. It also provides natural immunity to fight infectious diseases and prevent other prematurity-related complications,” he explained.

Human milk is vital for ensuring optimal nutrition for all babies

If your baby is not able to feed on your breast, you can express your milk and feed it with a sterilised small spoon. If you are a working woman and you have to stay away from your baby for a long time, then you should store your milk at the proper temperature as prescribed by the doctor so that the baby can continue receiving breastmilk, even in your absence,” said Dr Reddy.

breastfeeding mothers, yoga, indianexpress, Newborns should receive breast milk. (Source: Getty Images/Thinkstock)

Pasteurised human milk


If you find it difficult to breastfeed or express sufficient milk for your baby, organisations such as WHO, UNICEF and the Indian Academy of Paediatrics recommend providing the baby, pasteurised human breast milk. Pasteurised human breast milk refers to excess breast milk donated by a healthy mother which undergoes pasteurisation to make it safe for consumption by an infant. Pasteurisation is a process that uses heat to kill any pathogenic microorganism that may be present in the milk without affecting its nutritive value, immune properties, or good bacteria. After pasteurisation, the milk undergoes stringent quality checks to ensure it is safe for a baby, mentioned Dr Reddy.

Avoid cow milk and bovine milk-based formula

Do not give cow/buffalo milk (bovine milk), advised Dr Reddy. Most infant formulas are also derived from cow’s milk and may cause overload on the baby’s fragile organs such as stomach, intestines, kidneys etc. and bovine milk-derived products smay lead to conditions like allergies, infections etc. Also, since bovine milk is difficult for the baby to digest, it may affect your baby’s overall gut health further increasing the risk of complications.

Do not give water or other liquid, even in summer


Babies do not need water or any other fluids. Mother’s milk fulfils all their needs which are necessary for survival and good growth and development. Avoid introducing any other foods to babies during the first six months.

Keep an eye

Since premature babies are not fully developed in the womb, the risk of developing complications is very high. Therefore, as soon as you notice any red flags, you must visit the doctor immediately.

“Since breastmilk is the ideal nutrition for babies, it is imperative that each one of us takes the onus to support mothers to continue breastfeeding. The need of the hour is to have a uniform breastfeeding policy and action plan. A joint effort of the government, employers, friends and family, as well as healthcare fraternity, will ensure that the mother gets the right information to make the right decisions for her baby’s nutritional needs,” expressed Dr Reddy.

📣 For more lifestyle news, follow us on Instagram | Twitter | Facebook and don’t miss out on the latest updates!

First published on: 08-09-2021 at 09:10:48 am
Next Story

Coronavirus Highlights: 26,200 new cases, 125 deaths in Kerala, TPR at 16.69%

Latest Comment
Post Comment
Read Comments