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In the NICU - Feeding

Supplements & Parental Nutrition

Nutritional supplements and Parental Nutrition

Some babies require additional nutrients to meet increased needs. These can be provided as supplements. Staff will advise if a supplement is recommended.

Breast milk fortifier (BMF)/human milk fortifier (HMF)

  • While breast milk is full of goodness, it may not meet the increased nutritional needs of babies born preterm.
  • A fortifier containing energy, protein, vitamins and minerals may be used to meet these increased needs.

Some of the more common nutritional supplements

Parenteral nutrition

Preterm baby receiving parental nutrition (the blue & red bags)

If your baby takes a while to progress with milk feeds, fluids and nutrition can be given intravenously (IV) instead; this means it goes directly into their blood, bypassing the gut.

IV fluids can provide sugar and salts for your baby. It can also give a wider range of nutrients. This is called parenteral nutrition (PN). PN is another way to give nutrition if milk feeds are slow to progress.