HC Deb 14 June 1979 vol 968 cc311-2W
Mrs. Renée Short

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what study he has made of the latest research undertaken in the United States of America on the nutritional content of mother's milk produced by mothers of premature babies; and what conclusions he draws on the significance of this for premature babies.

Dr. Vaughan

I assume that the hon. Lady is referring to the study by Atkinson, Bryan and Anderson, published in 1978—Journal of Pediatrics 93 1978 July. The findings reported suggest that the mother of a premature baby secretes milk which is richer in protein than "mature" milk secreted when the infant is full-term and not of low birth-weight. Since it is known that very small babies have a higher requirement for protein, the authors suggest that mothers of premature babies secrete milk which is more suitable than mature milk for their babies. However, a criticism of the study in the USA has suggested that the milk analysed may not have had the same composition as that actually received by the babies concerned.

The findings of the study have to be set alongside the fact that premature babies have individual requirements and that each should be fed under medical supervision

the private car allowance, and 1,541 war pensioners were in receipt of the private car maintenance allowance.