Abbott has been a leader in researching and developing nutritional solutions for premature babies for 50 years. On November 17, World Prematurity Day, Abbott joins with organizations around the world to help increase awareness of the impact of prematurity and the unique nutritional needs of premature infants.
Each year, roughly one in 10 infants are born too soon. Most are low birth weight, weighing less than 2,500 grams (about 5.5 pounds). One pre-term infant will die every 30 seconds. The worldwide premature birth rate has been rising consistently for two decades and is an epidemic in which very few are aware. Nutrition is a key pillar in increasing the number of pre-term infants who survive, and early nutritional intervention can have long-term positive health benefits.
In the last trimester of pregnancy, the unborn baby grows rapidly and stores important nutrients. Premature infants often miss much of this critical time in the womb, and as a result, face many challenges which often result in requiring specialized nutrition support.
Breastfeeding is the best nutrition for all infants, including babies who are born early. The milk produced by the mom of a full-term infant is higher in calories, protein and other important nutrients than the milk produced by the mom of a pre-term infant. Pre-term babies have feeding challenges and often cannot feed from a bottle or breast as they have problems sucking, breathing and swallowing, and may have additional complications that require specialized nutrition to meet their individual needs. For pre-term babies who are not breastfed or require supplementation, infant formulas are a safe, recommended, high-quality alternative to breast milk. Abbott Nutrition has a 50-year history of creating highly specialized formulas to meet the individual nutritional needs of premature and low-birth-weight babies for when they are in the hospital and at home. Infant formulas for premature babies have higher amounts of protein, calories, vitamins and minerals compared to formulas designed for full-term babies to help support excellent catch-up growth during the first year of life. The development of these highly specialized infant feeding solutions for pre-term babies are based on the results of more than 55 published, peer-reviewed studies and have been clinically shown to improve early language, visual development and body composition.
In some countries, formula-fed infants born pre-term often go home from the hospital on formulas designed for full-term infants. These formulas do not have the right nutrient profile to meet the greater nutritional needs for catch-up growth and to address the feeding problems faced by pre-term infants.
Feeding and growing is one of the most important tasks of pre-term babies and Abbott is committed to helping all babies receive the right nutrition to help them achieve a healthy and great start to life.
For more information on World Prematurity Day:
- EFCNI – European Foundation for the Care of Newborn Infants
- March of Dimes (United States)