Early Provision of Mother's Own Milk and Other Predictors of Successful Breast Milk Feeding after Very Preterm Birth: A Regional Observational Study

Emilija Wilson, Kyllike Christensson, Lena Brandt, Maria Altman, Anna-Karin Bonamy
Journal of Human Lactation 2015, 31 (3): 393-400

BACKGROUND: Breast milk is associated with a lower risk of neonatal morbidity in very preterm infants. Despite the benefits, the duration of breastfeeding is shorter in very preterm infants than in term infants.

OBJECTIVE: This study aimed to investigate how early provision of mother's own milk (MOM) and maternal and infant characteristics are related to breast milk feeding (BMF) between 36 and 40 weeks postmenstrual age (PMA) after very preterm birth.

METHODS: A regional observational study of 138 singleton infants born at < 32 weeks of gestation in Stockholm, Sweden, was conducted. Data were derived from medical charts to investigate the association between early provision of MOM; maternal and infant characteristics; and exclusive, partial, or no BMF at 36 weeks PMA. Moreover, changes in BMF between 36 and 40 weeks PMA were studied.

RESULTS: Most infants (80%) received MOM at 36 weeks PMA (55% exclusively, 25% partial). High provision of MOM at postnatal day 7 was associated with exclusive BMF at 36 weeks PMA, odds ratio (OR) 1.18 per 10 mL/kg MOM (95% confidence interval [CI], 1.06-1.32). Mothers born in non-Nordic countries provided MOM exclusively less often, adjusted OR 0.27 (95% CI, 0.10-0.69), compared to Nordic mothers. Between 36 and 40 weeks PMA, BMF decreased overall. This change was not associated with investigated predictors.

CONCLUSION: It is possible to achieve high rates of BMF in very preterm infants. High intake of MOM early in the postnatal period is strongly related to exclusive BMF at 36 weeks PMA.

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