Benefits of donor milk in the feeding of preterm infants

Enrico Bertino, Francesca Giuliani, Marta Baricco, Paola Di Nicola, Chiara Peila, Cristina Vassia, Federica Chiale, Alice Pirra, Francesco Cresi, Claudio Martano, Alessandra Coscia
Early Human Development 2013, 89 Suppl 2: S3-6
Mother's own milk is widely recognized as the optimal feeding for term infants, but also provides health benefits that are of vital importance for sick and preterm infants in neonatal intensive care units (NICUs), even though the growth and neurodevelopmental needs of very premature infants are best met by appropriate fortification of human milk (HM). When mother's milk is unavailable or in short supply, donor milk (DM) represents the second best alternative and, although some nutritional elements are inactivated by the pasteurization process, it still has documented advantages compared to formula. Occasionally, the concern that the use of DM might decrease breastfeeding is being raised, but reports exist in literature showing that the use of donor HM in the NICU increases breastfeeding rates at discharge for VLBW infants. The demonstrated benefits of HM highlight the importance of educating health care professionals in breastfeeding support.

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