Sharing the Science on Human Milk Feedings With Mothers of Very-Low-Birth-Weight Infants

Authors

  • Nancy A. Rodriguez,

    Corresponding author
    1. Nancy A. Rodriguez, RN, MSN, IBCLC, APN/CNP, is a doctoral student, Rush University College of Nursing, Chicago, IL, and a neonatal nurse practitioner & clinical coordinator, Lactation Program, Infant Special Care Unit (ISCU), Evanston Hospital, Evanston Northwestern Healthcare, Evanston, IL.
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  • Donna J. Miracle,

    1. Donna J. Miracle, RNC, CLE, MSN, is a doctoral candidate, Rush University College of Nursing, Chicago, IL.
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  • Paula P. Meier

    1. Paula P. Meier, RN, DNSc, FAAN, is director for Clinical Research and Lactation, Special Care Nursery, Rush University Medical Center, Chicago, IL, and a professor of maternal child nursing, Rush University College of Nursing, Chicago, IL.
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Address for correspondence: Nancy A. Rodriguez, RN, MSN, IBCLC, APN/CNP, Infant Special Care Unit (ISCU), Evanston Hospital, Evanston Northwestern Healthcare, 2650 Ridge Avenue, Evanston, IL 60201. E-mail: nrodriguez@enh.org.

Abstract

Mother's milk provides protection from serious and costly morbidity for very-low-birth-weight infants (<1500 g), including enteral feeding intolerance, nosocomial infection, and necrotizing enterocolitis. However, NICU and maternity nurses may be hesitant to encourage mothers to initiate lactation because of a reluctance to make mothers feel guilty or coerced. This article reviews the evidence for the health outcomes of mothers’ milk feeding in very-low-birth-weight infants and provides examples of ways to share this science with mothers so that they can make an informed feeding decision.

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