Feeding the preterm infant: an overview of the evidence

for the NUTRISHIELD Consortium

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


Feeding from own mother’s milk is not always an option for preterm infants, and choosing between alternative means of feeding should be made in light of their effect on infants’ health. In this work, we aimed to present evidence regarding feeding pre-term infants with human milk, either own mother’s or donor milk (DM), and the potential effects on growth and other health related outcomes. Exclusive breastfeeding (BF) remains the optimal option, whereas feeding with DM as a sole diet or supplemental to maternal milk confers immunological advantages and fewer rates of necrotising enterocolitis against preterm formula feeding, yet the latter results in greater growth velocity. Literature gaps in the use of DM, practical suggestions for choosing suitable feeding means (i.e. continuous support of BF, adequate education regarding feeding preterm infants, including DM), and future perspectives on the potential effects of dietary manipulations of the maternal diet, are also discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4-13
Number of pages10
JournalInternational Journal of Food Sciences and Nutrition
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2021
Externally publishedYes


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