Objective: To describe a model for providing breastfeeding support in the neonatal intensive-care unit (NICU).

Design: Naturalistic, participant observation.

Setting: Suburban Level III NICU.

Patients: One hundred thirty-two mother-infant pairs over 1 year. Infants were hospitalized In the NICU, and mothers had initiated lactation efforts.

Interventions: Investigators provided breastfeeding interventions for the mother-infant pairs, based on identified problems, the research literature, or both.

Main Outcome Measures: Percentage of mothers who were breastfeeding at the time of discharge from the NICU.

Results: Interventions were classified into jive categories: expression and collection of mothers' milk, gavage feeding of expressed mothers' milk, in-hospital breastfeeding sessions, postdischarge breastfeeding management, and additional consultation.

Conclusions: This model was effective In preventing breastfeeding failure for this population. The model can provide the basis for NICU breastfeeding standards of care, protocols, and chart records, or for reimbursement purposes. The model also provides a framework for studying a specific category or breastfeeding intervention.