We investigated the influence of human milk protein and medium-chain triglyceride supplementations of human milk feedings on the growth of very low birth weight infants during their first weeks of life. A group of 44 preterm infants with birth weights of less than 1,520 g and a mean gestational age of 30.3 weeks was randomly divided into four groups to receive plain human milk or human milk supplemented with human milk protein (0.9 g/dL), with medium-chain triglycerides (1 g/dL), or with both. The medium-chain triglyceride oil supplementation did not influence the growth of these infants. The infants given supplementary protein gained weight faster during weeks 4 to 6 than those without (18.5 ± 0.7 v 15.1 ± 0.6 g/kg/d; mean ± SEM; P = .001). After 4 weeks of age the infants given supplementary protein had a mean weight gain equal to the mean intra-uterine rate, in contrast to the infants of the other groups, who grew more slowly until age 6 weeks. Furthermore, we found a correlation between serum albumin concentration and weight gain during the seventh week of life (P = .018). The length growth velocity for the infants with protein supplementation was 0.99 ± 0.06 cm/wk (mean ± SEM) and for those without 0.83 ± 0.05 cm/wk (P = .043). There was no difference in growth of head circumference between the groups. We conclude that human milk protein supplementation improves the growth of small premature infants fed human milk, and that the protein concentration of bank milk is insufficient for their adequate growth.
- Received July 15, 1985.
- Copyright © 1986 by the American Academy of Pediatrics