Growth and Tolerance of Preterm Infants Fed a New Extensively Hydrolyzed Liquid Human Milk Fortifier

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This study was a comparison of growth and tolerance in premature infants fed either standard powdered human milk fortifier (HMF) or a newly formulated concentrated liquid that contained extensively hydrolyzed protein.


This was an unblinded randomized controlled multicenter noninferiority study on preterm infants receiving human milk (HM) supplemented with 2 randomly assigned HMFs, either concentrated liquid HMF containing extensively hydrolyzed protein (LE-HMF) or a powdered intact protein HMF (PI-HMF) as the control. The study population consisted of preterm infants ≤33 weeks who were enterally fed HM. Infants were studied from the first day of HM fortification until day 29 or hospital discharge, whichever came first.


A total of 147 preterm infants were enrolled. Noninferiority was observed in weight gain reported in the intent-to-treat (ITT) analysis was 18.2 and 17.5 g · kg−1 · day−1 for the LE-HMF and PI-HMF groups, respectively. In an a priori defined subgroup of strict protocol followers (n = 75), the infants fed LE-HMF achieved greater weight over time than those fed PI-HMF (P = 0.036). The LE-HMF group achieved greater linear growth over time compared to the PI-HMF (P = 0.029). The protein intake from fortified HM was significantly higher in the LE-HMF group compared with the PI-HMF group (3.9 vs 3.3 g · kg−1 · day−1, P < 0.0001). Both fortifiers were well tolerated with no significant differences in overall morbidity.


Both fortifiers showed excellent weight gain (grams per kilograms per day), tolerance, and low incidence of morbidity outcomes with the infants who were strict protocol followers fed LE-HMF having improved growth during the study. These data point to the safety and suitability of this new concentrated liquid HMF (LE-HMF) in preterm infants. Growth with this fortifier closely matches the recent recommendations for a weight gain of >18 g · kg−1 · day−1.

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