Diseases that affect premature infants in neonatal intensive care units are usually caused by hospital-acquired infections. Breast milk protects against infection by modifying the intestinal microbiome and boosting systemic immunity, but maternal colostrum is limited when infants are extremely preterm. According to a recent trial in The Journal of Pediatrics, feeding extremely low-weight preterm infants recombinant human lactoferrin talactoferrin (TLf), a human milk protein, was safe and resulted in fewer infections compared with placebo.
Slomski A. Human Milk Protein Prevents Infections in Preterm Infants. JAMA. 2016;316(20):2078. doi:10.1001/jama.2016.17037