Illinois-based Mead Johnson - the world's second largest infant formula manufacturer - launched its Next Generation Enfamil Premature Formula range in the US last month.
Developed to support for infants born as early as 22 weeks, the products are the first to meet the 2014 Global Expert Recommendations for the nutritional care of preterm infants, Mead Johnson claims.
The 2014 Global Expert Recommendations - based on the insights of 33 pediatric nutrition experts from around the world - were detailed in the report, Nutritional Care of Preterm Infants: Scientific Basis and Practical Guidelines.
To meet the Global Expert Recommendations, eleven labelled nutrients were updated in the Next Generation Enfamil Premature Formula, including protein, DHA and vitamin D.
“Our Next Generation Enfamil Premature Formula is the first formula with all labelled nutrients meeting the new recommendations of international experts in neonatal nutrition,” Dr Carol Berseth, director of global clinical innovation, Mead Johnson Nutrition, told DairyReporter.
“Changes to our products include increased protein levels in our premature formula (3.6g per 100kcal) – to align with the new 2014 Global Expert Recommendations – as well as increased levels of vitamin D (300 IU per 100 kcal).”
Preterm infants - those born before 37 completed weeks of pregnancy - are at greater risk of nutritional deficits, which could lead to growth and development challenges.
Each year in the US, around 500,000 children are born prematurely, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).
"These products are designed to help clinicians, parents and caregivers better support the nutritional needs of infants born as early as 22 to 24 completed weeks of gestation as well as those born 32 to 36 completed weeks of gestation," said Berseth.
"These infants can consume our products under a doctor's direction after hospital discharge for several months, or until they are developing at a normal rate as determined by growth charts for the NICU [neonatal intensive care unit] or pediatric office."
"It's important to note that these products are designed to be used when a mother's milk is not available," she added.
Mead Johnson Nutrition’s Next Generation Enfamil Premature Formulas are now available to hospital practitioners in the US.
It plans to launch the range in Mexico in 2016 ahead of further international expansion.
“The products are now available in the United States,” she said. “They are scheduled to roll out in Mexico in early 2016 with plans to expand into additional markets.”