RCM comments on breastmilk and pre-term babies study

on 21 September 2018 Infant Feeding Breastfeeding Premature Birth

Research published today by the University of Edinburgh has found that babies born before their due date show better brain development when fed breast milk rather than formula.

Commenting, Clare Livingstone, Professional Policy Advisor at the Royal College of Midwives, said: “There is a large and growing amount of evidence about the benefits to the mother and baby from breastfeeding and the benefits of breastmilk for the baby. This research adds to that and demonstrates again why breastmilk is the most beneficial nutrition for a baby. There is also, as the authors say, a need for more research in this area.

“It may of course not be possible or appropriate to breastfeed a premature baby who may be in intensive care. However, as the authors state, we should be supporting mothers to give their premature babies breastmilk if at all possible and if that is their choice.

“We should rightly promote breastfeeding and give women all the support they need to breastfeed. However, support for all women is essential, whichever feeding method is chosen, whether breastfeeding, formula milk, or a combination of both. Women need to be happy with their choices, their choices respected and their babies fed safely.”

Note to editors

The RCM is the only trade union and professional association dedicated to serving midwifery and the whole midwifery team. We provide workplace advice and support, professional and clinical guidance and information, and learning opportunities with our broad range of events, conferences and online resources. For more information visit the RCM website at https://www.rcm.org.uk/.