Cochrane Summaries

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Formula milk versus maternal breast milk for feeding preterm or low birth weight infants

Henderson G, Anthony MY, McGuire W
Published Online: 
8 October 2008

Formula milk may contain more nutrients than maternal breast milk but it lacks the antibodies and other substances present in breast milk that protect and develop the immature gut of preterm or low birth weight infants. No trials that compared feeding with formula milk rather than their own mother's breast milk were identified. However, since another Cochrane review has found that feeding with formula compared to donor breast milk increases the risk of serious gut problems in preterm or low birth weight infants, it is unlikely that a such a trial would be acceptable to mothers and caregivers.