Did you know that a mother's breast milk will help protect the baby from infections? The Department of Neonatal & Developmental Medicine, Singapore General Hospital (SGH) shares why breast milk is best, especially for premature babies.

The birth of a baby can be one of life's most joyful moments, but it can also be stressful if the baby arrives earlier than expected.

A premature baby – or preemie, for short – has to be placed in an incubator in a neonatal intensive care unit for at least a few weeks. Its organs will not be fully developed yet and its condition will be initially unstable. So, when doctors advise new mothers to breast-feed their preemies, they are often met with disbelief.

Breast milk is "liquid gold" especially for premature babies

Doctors and nurses at Singapore General Hospital (SGH) hope to convince mothers that breast-feeding is the best gift for their premature babies. Dr Varsha Atul Shah, Senior Consultant, Department of Neonatal and Developmental Medicine, SGH, a member of the SingHealth group, called breast milk “liquid gold", because of its amazing concentration of protective substances.

“Colostrum is the milk a mother produces right after delivery and, compared to other kinds of milk, it has the highest concentration of antibodies needed to fight the complications that may arise from premature birth," she said. Mother's milk is also highly effective in protecting a baby from infections such as meningitis and necrotising enterocolitis, a serious intestinal infection.

Click here to find out how preemies are fed at different stages.

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