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FDA approves technology to analyze nutrients in breast milk

New technology approved by the FDA will allow doctors to use infrared rays to pinpoint exactly what needs to be added to a mother's milk to help her baby grow.

Posted: Jan 2, 2019 5:29 PM

There's a new way of detecting nutritional value in breast milk. It just got approval from the Food and Drug Administration. It will help analyze the nutrients in a mothers breast milk to help determine what the baby needs to help it grow and it's similar to technology the Huntsville Hospital currently uses. 

“This analyzer will be able to tell us exactly how much protein, fat, and sugar is in breast milk. Similar to a label you get on food you buy at the store," said Dr. Lee Morris.

Dr. Lee Morris works in the neonatal unit at Huntsville Hospital. He said all mothers' breast milk is different. New technology approved by the FDA will allow doctors to use infrared rays to pinpoint exactly what needs to be added to a mother's milk to help her baby grow. This is especially crucial for babies born premature.

“Most healthy term babies are just fine with whatever breast milk their mother produces. Our babies need extra calories, extra protein because they very often have issues with growth," said Dr. Morris. 

New mom, Evelyn Muniz, said similar technology at Huntsville Hospital has helped her baby.

“Everyday when his milk is prepared they have fortifiers which have vitamins and minerals and things like that that they put in the milk to help him gain more weight.”

Muniz gave birth to a two pound baby in October. For the last 78 days she has spent time nursing her baby and watching him grow. Her baby now weighs six pounds. She said this technology will help other families like hers.

“It’ll, you know, be beneficial to just add everything that the baby needs that the baby might not be getting as much as.”

Huntsville Hospital doesn’t currently have the new technology but it does have a state-of-the-art breast milk lab, where babies have their milk fortified and prepared in a controlled environment. It's the only lab of its kind in North Alabama, and doctors already use similar techniques to the one just approved by the FDA.

“We’re very blessed to be at a hospital that is so advanced and essentially more advanced and the fact that they know what they can do to make the baby grow," said Muniz.

A spokesperson at Huntsville Hospital said they may like to use the technology in the future. Right now they help mothers supplement their breast milk with additional nutrients by formula or donated breast milk from a regulated facility.

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