Eleven of 13 children with the protracted diarrhoea syndrome of infancy were successfully treated with human milk. All the infants, who were severely malnourished, had deteriorated while fed on a wide range of highly modified formulas. Seven infants responded promptly with cessation of weight loss and diarrhoea; in four others, human milk was used to re-establish oral nutrition after a period of intravenous nutrition when all other measures had failed. Two children did not respond to human milk. Despite its high lactose content, human milk has nutritional and immunological properties that may reverse many of the factors thought to cause the protracted diarrhoea syndrome, and we conclude that it has an important role in management of this syndrome and may obviate the need for intravenous nutrition as a life saving measure.
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