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J Pediatr Gastroenterol Nutr. 2009 Nov;49(5):613-8. doi: 10.1097/MPG.0b013e31819c0ce5.

Protein content and fortification of human milk influence gastroesophageal reflux in preterm infants.

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Neonatology and Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, S. Orsola-Malpighi Hospital, University of Bologna, Italy.



: Preterm human milk (HM) may provide insufficient energy and nutrients and thus may need to be fortified. Our aim was to determine whether fat content, protein content, and osmolality of HM before and after fortification may affect gastroesophageal reflux (GER) in symptomatic preterm infants.


: Gastroesophageal reflux was evaluated in 17 symptomatic preterm newborns fed naïve and fortified HM by combined pH/intraluminal-impedance monitoring (pH-MII). Human milk fat and protein content was analysed by a near-infrared reflectance analysis. Human milk osmolality was tested before and after fortification. Gastroesophageal reflux indexes measured before and after fortification were compared and were also related to HM fat and protein content and osmolality before and after fortification.


: An inverse correlation was found between naïve HM protein content and acid reflux index (RIpH: P = 0.041, rho =-0.501). After fortification, osmolality often exceeded the values recommended for infant feeds; furthermore, a statistically significant (P < 0.05) increase in nonacid reflux indexes was observed.


: Protein content of naïve HM may influence acid GER in preterm infants. A standard fortification of HM may worsen nonacid GER indexes and, due to the extreme variability in HM composition, may overcome both recommended protein intake and HM osmolality. Thus, an individualised fortification, based on the analysis of the composition of naïve HM, could optimise both nutrient intake and feeding tolerance.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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