STATES CHRONICLE – The secret to a better development for premature babies might lie in their mothers’ breast milk. Researchers compared the milk of mothers who gave birth prematurely to those who kept a full-term pregnancy, and discovered the former contains some substances which might help preemies boost their metabolism.
Researchers compared preterm breast milk with full-term breast milk
Scientists from Pennsylvania State University compared the breast milk of mothers who gave birth while being between 28 and 37 weeks pregnant, and of those who gave birth normally, or after 38 weeks. They looked at microRNAs which were present in the milk, which are usually transmitted to the baby, and can influence the way in which their genes are expressed.
They compared these microRNA samples with those present in a human genome, and assumed how they might influence the development of the baby. Those samples taken from the breast milk of mothers with premature babies were significantly different. This is vital for the babies, as these substances influence their metabolism.
Preterm breast milk has special microRNA which boost the premature babies’ metabolism
Premature babies are at higher risks of not undergoing proper development, both from a physical and from a neurological point of view. Also, since they usually weigh less than babies born at full term, they need more nutritional resources to grow up healthy.
Other studies have discovered the breast milk of mothers with premature babies contain specially designed substances, which better reach the nutritional needs of preterm infants. Now, this new analysis showed these microRNAs can influence the babies’ metabolism, regulate their use of energy, and their gastrointestinal processes.
Also, empirical evidence showed premature babies developed better after being fed mostly breast milk instead of formula. This might work as an explanation for this phenomenon. The preterm breast milk contains special substances which help babies thrive and catch up with their development. All the details of the study have been published in the journal Pediatric Research.
Image Source: Flickr