Breast milk can give preemies’ hearts a big boost, a groundbreaking study suggests. This study adds to the many already known benefits of breast milk for infants born prematurely.
What’s new is that this study offers the first evidence of a link between early diet in preemies and heart function over the first year of life.
Because preemies’ heart function is significantly lower than that of healthy full-term babies, they are more likely to develop heart problems later in life, including heart disease, heart failure, systemic and pulmonary high blood pressure.
They also have a higher risk of death from heart disease.
This study of 80 preterm infants found that those initially fed only their mother’s breast milk had improved heart function before they left the hospital and the improvement persisted up to 1 year of age and that it approached the level found in healthy full-term babies.
The findings were published in the journal JAMA Network Open.
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