Human milk is increasingly becoming the standard of care for very premature infants. For these vulnerable patients, it is considered medicinal as well as nutritional. Human milk contains specific immune and growth factors needed for development not found in formula. The smallest premature babies in particular have immature digestive and immune systems and are especially at risk of a potentially fatal complication called NEC – Necrotizing Enterocolitis – a devastating digestive tract infection that destroys portions of the newborn’s bowels, requiring dangerous and costly surgery and prolonged hospital stays. Many preemies stricken with NEC do not survive or have permanent damage to their intestines. Studies show that feeding premature babies exclusively with human milk reduces the chances of these and many other complications of prematurity.