Medical Monday: Human milk fortification for preemies

PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - When new mom Stephanie Kitchen went into labor at 25 weeks, she was scared for the survival of her baby. Little Sophia weighed less than two pounds when she was born. However, Kitchen is proud to report Sophia is growing and developing fairly well.

Sophia is receiving a human milk fortifier that's being added to Kitchen's breast milk while she's in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Gulf Coast Regional Medical Center.

"Babies need fortification to grow and develop appropriately when they're sick in the NICU, and Prolacta makes a fortifier out of human milk rather than cow's milk, which has historically been the only thing that was available," Melinda Elliott explained. Elliott is a Neonatologist who works for the company that produces the human milk fortifier, Prolacta Bioscience.

Elliott went on to say, "We've seen these babies get out of the hospital sooner. They go home earlier. They have fewer complications. They have less breathing problems."

The human milk fortifier is created from donor milk that has been processed, pasteurized and tested at a plant in California. Gulf Coast Regional Medical Center has been using it for the NICU babies for several months now.