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Effect of Education and Lactation Support on Maternal Decision to Provide Human Milk for Very-Low-Birth-Weight Infants

  • Paula M. Sisk
  • Cheryl A. Lovelady
  • Robert G. Dillard
Conference paper
Part of the Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology book series (AEMB, volume 554)

Abstract

Premature infants are at increased risk for infection, necrotizing enterocolitis, feeding intolerance, and developmental delay compared with term infants. When infants are fed human milk, the incidence of these problems is diminished (Schanler et al. 1999; Atkinson 2000). In the United States, the national breastfeeding initiation rate of mothers who deliver prematurely is 48%, compared with 60% for mothers of term infants. Incidence of breastfeeding is correlated negatively with infant gestational age and socioeconomic status of the mother (Ryan 1997). Family and hospital staff support has been found to increase lactation success in mothers of premature infants (Peitschnig et al. 2000). However, health care professionals may be reluctant to ask mothers to provide human milk for a number of reasons: 1) stress has been shown to interfere with milk production (Lau 1999) and preterm delivery has been shown to be stressful to parents, 2) the effort and time required might be considered burdensome and stressful when breastfeeding was not the mothers’ feeding plan, and 3) the time and expertise required for adequate counseling of mothers could be costly when mothers’ willingness and ability to express milk is uncertain. These concerns are countered by the view that mothers should be presented with all the evidence supporting human milk feeding in preterm infants in order for a well-informed decision to be made.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • Paula M. Sisk
    • 1
  • Cheryl A. Lovelady
    • 1
  • Robert G. Dillard
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of NutritionUniversity of North Carolina at GreensboroGreensboroUSA

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