Sherwood Forest Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust is piloting the use of donor human breast milk for premature babies in its neonatal unit – a first in Nottinghamshire.
Premature babies are prone to bowel disorders and new-borns fed on donor milk are less likely to develop the illness, a spokesman said.
The donor human breast milk pilot will run for six months, after which it will be evaluated.
All women who donate to a human breast milk bank are screened for communicable diseases prior to starting donation, and the milk collected is then pasteurised to ensure it is completely safe for babies.
Jo Lincoln, breast feeding co-ordinator at King’s Mill, said: “Breast milk is the natural first food for babies. It provides all the energy and nutrients that an infant needs for the first months of life and gives a baby the best start in life.
“Evidence has shown this is particularly true for premature babies, who often have complex health needs due to their early arrival.”
“Evidence shows this is a better option than feeding a premature baby formula milk which is made from cow’s milk.
“Breast milk gives these babies better protection against the potentially fatal bowel disease Necrotising Enterocolitis or the possible long-term problems those babies who do beat it may encounter.”