A new research study points out that early term babies are not likely to be weaned away from breast milk earlier compared to full term babies.
The conclusion is based on a study of 2704 healthy mother-infant pairs who were tracked for one year or until cessation of breastfeeding. Out of the total babies surveyed, one third were early term babies. Half of the babies started receiving additional food after two weeks and more than 50% of the babies were weaned away completely from breast milk after three months. The earlier belief was that pre-term babies were likely to face adverse neo-natal outcomes that could delay or lessen the duration of being breast fed. The babies observed were healthy irrespective of whether they were pre-term or full term. The researchers pointed out that early cessation of breast feeding seen in earlier studies may have been due to neo-natal complications and not due to impact of gestational age.
More studies among pre-term babies born between 37-39 weeks of gestation who faced neo-natal issues leading to respiratory problems or new born sepsis is required to find any differences in breast milk cessation compared to healthy babies, the researchers said. Intake of breast milk is proven to boost immunity, enable closer bonding with parent and ward-off ill-effects of early child birth.