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Does Human Milk Modulate Body Composition in Late Preterm Infants at Term-Corrected Age?

Giannì, Maria Lorella, Consonni, Dario, Liotto, Nadia, Roggero, Paola, Morlacchi, Laura, Piemontese, Pasqua, Menis, Camilla, Mosca, Fabio
Nutrients 2016 v.8 no.10
breast feeding, breast milk, children at risk, confidence interval, densitometry, health care workers, infant feeding, infants, lean body mass, premature birth, regression analysis
(1) Background: Late preterm infants account for the majority of preterm births and are at risk of altered body composition. Because body composition modulates later health outcomes and human milk is recommended as the normal method for infant feeding, we sought to investigate whether human milk feeding in early life can modulate body composition development in late preterm infants; (2) Methods: Neonatal, anthropometric and feeding data of 284 late preterm infants were collected. Body composition was evaluated at term-corrected age by air displacement plethysmography. The effect of human milk feeding on fat-free mass and fat mass content was evaluated using multiple linear regression analysis; (3) Results: Human milk was fed to 68% of the infants. According to multiple regression analysis, being fed any human milk at discharge and at term-corrected and being fed exclusively human milk at term-corrected age were positively associated with fat-free mass content(β = −47.9, 95% confidence interval (CI) = −95.7; −0.18; p = 0.049; β = −89.6, 95% CI = −131.5; −47.7; p < 0.0001; β = −104.1, 95% CI = −151.4; −56.7, p < 0.0001); (4) Conclusion: Human milk feeding appears to be associated with fat-free mass deposition in late preterm infants. Healthcare professionals should direct efforts toward promoting and supporting breastfeeding in these vulnerable infants.