Born at least three weeks before their expected delivery date, premature babies usually have very low birth weight and need extra protein, fat, vitamins and minerals to help them grow and build strong bones. Enter the new milk analyzer machine funded through donations to Children’s Miracle Network (CMN) at UC Davis Children’s Hospital.
Mothers are encouraged to provide a five-milliliter breast milk sample for analysis. Based on the analysis for calorie content and key nutrients such as protein, fat and carbohydrates, the milk can be fortified to suit each infant’s growth needs.
“The machine will tell us what we need to add to the breast milk to help the preemies grow,” said Kara M Kuhn-Riordon, neonatologist and assistant clinical professor of pediatrics at UC Davis Children’s Hospital.
Fortified breast milk provides these babies with the nutrients needed to support their growth and brain development.
“We are so excited about this individualized, targeted nutrition for the babies,” said Kuhn-Riordon. “We work with mothers to provide babies with the best nourishment they can get.”
UC Davis Children’s Hospital’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) is a designated Level IV nursery, the highest level for the most acute care, in the Sacramento region. Its special care nursery is a Level II-designated unit for children who are seriously ill but expected to recover more rapidly.
The NICU admits infants who are born at UC Davis Children’s Hospital or are transferred from other hospitals within the 33-county service area stretching from Central California to the Oregon and Nevada borders.