A supplement given to breastfed premature babies after they leave hospital can prevent weight loss and help boost growth, according to results of a trial.
Breast milk alone does not always meet the dietary needs of vulnerable babies, born before 37 weeks, with about half failing to grow properly.
According to Luise Marino, a clinical academic paediatric dietician at Southampton Children's Hospital, all babies lose about 10 per cent weight soon after birth, through water loss, the BBC reported.
"They don't have as much fat, minerals or iron, so they need extra nutrients," she said.
The study, published in Archives of Disease in Childhood, showed eight weeks of extra nutrients led to improvements in a newborns' weight, head growth and length a year later.