Feeding Premature Babies: Tricks and Tips

Paula Paciarotti · September 16, 2021
Do you have a premature baby? If that's the case, you'll be interested to know about feeding premature babies. We'll give you some tips.

It’s very important to feed premature babies properly. This way, you’ll make sure they develop properly and you’ll prevent illnesses that may put their lives at risk. Therefore, you should bear in mind that premature babies are quite delicate and that their organs are still developing. This is why, today, we’ll talk about feeding premature babies.

Continue reading if you want to learn some tips for feeding premature babies. Based on the most current advances and by following the tips we’ll give you, you’ll increase the chances of preventing possible side effects in the future. 

Feeding premature babies: Breast milk, the best option

The best food for premature babies is breast milk. According to a study from the Journal of Perinatal & Neonatal Nursing, breast milk and premature babies’ behaviors adapt to each other to obtain proper and functional breastfeeding. In fact, this fluid is capable of satisfying babies’ special needs. This is because of its high concentrations of proteins and minerals.

Premature baby in incubator.

Furthermore, it’s important to bear in mind that breast milk proteins contain a high biological value. This is what makes breast milk the best food for premature babies, as, due to those nutrients, babies’ tissues develop without harming the renal or hepatic system.

Premature babies and supplements

Even though breast milk adapts to premature babies, sometimes, they also need supplements in order to complete their diet. Especially in those cases when premature babies have low body weight, it’s important to provide them with vitamin D.

According to a study from Pediatric Pulmonology, a supplement of 800 IU of vitamin D per day reduces the number of serious complications in premature babies. As a result, the survival rate and proper development increase.

Baby formula

As we’ve mentioned before, breast milk is the best option for feeding premature babies. However, sometimes, it’s not possible to obtain this product. In those cases, you can use baby formula, bearing in mind that not all of them are suitable for these cases.

It’s very important to choose formula fortified with essential nutrients, proteins, and easy-to-digest fats. If you don’t do, babies could have absorption problems that could condition their diet.

Even though there are special products for premature babies on the market, the best option is to go to a milk bank and find natural food for them. As a result, you’ll make sure they develop properly without the risk of suffering from certain illnesses.

In addition, you should continue breastfeeding your baby once you introduce solid food to their diet. Most experts recommend breast milk until babies are 1 year old. As a result, the risk of developing chronic or autoimmune diseases is reduced.

What’s more, you need to be even more careful when introducing solid food to premature babies. This is because their digestive system may not be fully developed yet. A good idea would be to chop the food into very small pieces to check how babies tolerate it.

Premature baby.

Feeding premature babies, a key element for their survival

Babies can be born earlier due to many different reasons. Even their mother’s toxic habits or diet problems may cause premature birth. Whatever the reason may be, it’s important to feed them properly in order to help them develop correctly.

Breast milk has the ability to adapt to premature babies’ needs. Therefore, it’s considered the best food for them. Remember that specialists recommend it until babies are more than 1 year old.

Notwithstanding, sometimes, it might be difficult to obtain this product. In those cases, you’ll have to choose the best baby formula, paying attention to its nutritional values. Remember to ask a professional for help and follow their advice, because your baby may even need other nutritional supplements.


  • Gerhardsson E, Rosenblad A, Mattsson E, Funkquist EL. Mothers’ Adaptation to a Late Preterm Infant When Breastfeeding. J Perinat Neonatal Nurs. 2020 Jan/Mar;34(1):88-95. doi: 10.1097/JPN.0000000000000463. PMID: 31996649. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31996649/
  • Al-Beltagi M, Rowiesha M, Elmashad A, Elrifaey SM, Elhorany H, Koura HG. Vitamin D status in preterm neonates and the effects of its supplementation on respiratory distress syndrome. Pediatr Pulmonol. 2020 Jan;55(1):108-115. doi: 10.1002/ppul.24552. Epub 2019 Dec 9. PMID: 31815370. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31815370/