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Keywords:

  • Breastfeeding;
  • Human milk;
  • Infant feeding;
  • Lactation;
  • Patient education;
  • Preterm infant;
  • Very-low-birth-weight infant

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.