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Keywords:

  • mother’s milk;
  • human milk fortifier;
  • preterm infants;
  • post-discharge;
  • allergic disease

To cite this article: Zachariassen G, Faerk J, Esberg BH, Fenger-Gron J, Mortensen S, Christesen HT, Halken S. Allergic diseases among very preterm infants according to nutrition after hospital discharge. Pediatr Allergy Immunol 2011; 22: 515–520.

To determine whether a cow’s milk-based human milk fortifier (HMF) added to mother’s milk while breastfeeding or a cow’s milk-based preterm formula compared to exclusively mother’s milk after hospital discharge, increases the incidence of developing allergic diseases among very preterm infants (VPI) during the first year of life.

Of a cohort of 324 VPI (gestational age 24–32 wk), the exclusively breastfed VPI were shortly before discharge randomized to breastfeeding without fortification or supplementing with a fortifier. Those not breastfed were fed a preterm formula. The intervention period was from discharge until 4 months corrected age (CA). Follow-up was performed at 4 and 12 months CA including specific IgE to a panel of allergens at 4 months CA.

The incidence during and prevalence at 12 months CA of recurrent wheezing (RW) was 39.2% and 32.7%, while atopic dermatitis (AD) was 18.0% and 12.1%, respectively. Predisposition to allergic disease increased the risk of developing AD (p = 0.04) [OR 2.6 (95% CI 1.0–6.4)] and the risk of developing RW (p = 0.02) [OR 2.7 (95% CI 1.2–6.3)]. Boys had an increased risk of developing RW (p = 0.003) [OR 3.1 (95% CI 1.5–6.5)]. No difference was found between nutrition groups. None developed food allergy.

Compared to exclusively breastfed, VPI supplemented with HMF or fed exclusively a preterm formula for 4 months did not have an increased risk of developing allergic diseases during the first year of life.