Maternal milk feedings reduce sepsis, necrotizing enterocolitis and improve outcomes of premature infants

J. Cortez, K. Makker, D. F. Kraemer, J. Neu, R. Sharma, M. L. Hudak

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

104 Scopus citations


Objective:Human milk (donor milk (DM) and/or maternal milk (MM)) feedings protect against late onset sepsis (LOS), necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) and death. However, DM lacks many anti-infective components of MM. Therefore, we studied exclusive MM feedings to evaluate the full effect of human milk on infectious and other outcomes in premature infants.Study design:All infants born before 33 weeks postmenstrual age (PMA) who received exclusive (>95%) MM or exclusive preterm formula (PF) were included in this prospective investigation.Results:Sixty-three infants (53%) received MM and 55 infants (47%) received PF. Both groups had similar baseline characteristics. Infants in the MM group achieved full enteral nutrition sooner (14±8 vs 19±15 days, P<0.03) and required a shorter duration of central venous lines (14±10 vs 22±21, P<0.005). Fewer infants in the MM group developed LOS (9 vs 19, P<0.05) and pneumonia (8 vs 16, P<0.05) than PF infants. Only one MM and five PF infants developed NEC (Bell stage 3/4II). Logistic regression analysis using PMA and prolonged rupture of membranes as covariates demonstrated an increased rate of NEC (odds ratio=8.85, CI=1.01 to 25.17, P=0.048) in PF infants. Periventricular leukomalacia (PVL) was more common in PF (4 vs 0, P=0.04) than in MM infants.Conclusion:Feedings of MM advanced more rapidly and were associated with fewer infections than PF. A possible protective effect of MM against PVL, not previously described, may be related to its immune and anti-inflammatory components.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)71-74
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Perinatology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology


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