Nurse's gloved hands feeding newborn.

Raising your premature baby

A guide for moms with preemies

Your preemie's unique nutrition needs

Make the most of feeding time to help your preemie develop fully and get off to a strong start.

Babies born prematurely have specific nutritional needs throughout the first year as their bodies work hard to grow and develop. The right nutrition helps them grow in ways you can see, such as weight, length, and head size. It is also vital for growth you cannot see, including rapid growth and development taking place in these key areas:


Lungs:  Because the lungs are not needed in the womb, they are one of the last organs to fully develop. So if your baby came early, the lungs might still be immature.

Heart:  Your baby's heart does important work for her whole body, such as moving oxygen to her brain. It helps almost every other part of her body work the way it should.

Eyes:  Your baby's eyes develop the most during the last few months of pregnancy and early months of life. Lutein is concentrated in the eye, and supports eye health.

Brain:  Most of a baby’s brain develops in the last 8 weeks of pregnancy. The first year of life is an important time for brain development.

Bones:  Most bone mineralization occurs in the last trimester of pregnancy. That means your baby might need extra calcium, as well as other nutrients that help bones absorb the calcium.

Digestive system: The digestive system goes through rapid changes and development. Your baby needs a healthy digestive system to absorb nutrients. And about 70% of her immune system is in her digestive tract.

Why preemies need specialized nutrition

Because your baby did not get a full nine months in the womb, her body is working hard to "catch up" in growth and development. Major organs — such as the lungs, heart, eyes, and brain — might still be developing. To meet her body's nutritional demands, she will need more protein, calories, vitamins, and minerals than standard term formulas provide. Similac Expert Care NeoSure has a unique blend of Lutein and DHA for brain and eye development.

Learn how Similac Expert Care® NeoSure® is specially designed to provide complete nutrition and support important development for premature babies.1,2

1 Carver JD, Wu PY, Hall RT, et al.  Pediatrics  2001;107:683-689.
2 O'Connor DL, Hall R, Adamkin D, et al.  Pediatrics  2001;108:359-371.

Weight gain in preemies: Not all gains are the same

Every ounce preemies gain can feel like a step in the right direction. But it is important that they gain the right kind of weight.

Because of your preemie's rapid growth, it is important that her weight gain is proportional in both muscle and fat. A baby formula designed for premature infants, such as Similac Expert Care NeoSure, can help achieve this healthy balance.

Remember, your baby's stomach is smaller, and she can only take a few ounces of baby formula at each feeding, so it is important to stay the course with a premature infant formula — like Similac Expert Care NeoSure — that has a special blend of protein, calories, vitamins, and minerals to help her grow and develop.

Keep learning about your baby's development every week
Get nutrition guidance and feeding help delivered right to your inbox.
Join Similac® StrongMoms® now.

Your Similac StrongMoms membership is free, and includes:
  • Expert nutrition guidance for your pregnancy
  • Weekly updates on how your baby is developing and growing
  • Up to $329 in membership benefits
Offers may vary.
Get up to $329† in great offers. Sign up now >