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Pediatrics. 1998 Sep;102(3):E38.

Human milk feedings and infection among very low birth weight infants.

Author information

  • 1Georgetown University Medical Center, Department of Pediatrics, Washington, DC 20007-2197, USA.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Preterm infants are immunologically immature at birth. Previous studies have demonstrated that human milk protects against infection in full-term infants, but there are few studies of its effect for preterm infants.

OBJECTIVE:

To examine the effect of human milk feedings on infection incidence among very low birth weight (VLBW) infants during their initial hospitalization.

STUDY DESIGN:

The sample consisted of 212 consecutive VLBW infants admitted to the Georgetown University Medical Center neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) during 1992-1993 and surviving to receive enteral feeding. Type of feeding (human milk vs formula), presence of infection and sepsis/meningitis (clinical signs and positive cultures for pathogenic organisms), and potential confounding variables were abstracted from medical records. Multiple logistic regression was used to control for confounders.

RESULTS:

The incidence of infection (human milk [29.3%] vs formula [47.2%]) and sepsis/meningitis (human milk [19.5%] vs formula [32.6%]) differed significantly by type of feeding. Major risk factors for infection were similar in both groups. Human milk feeding was independently correlated with a reduced odds of infection (odds ratio [OR] = 0.43; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.23-0.81), controlling for gestational age, 5-minute Apgar score, mechanical ventilation days, and days without enteral feedings; and was independently correlated with a reduced odds of sepsis/meningitis (OR = 0.47, 95% CI:0.23-0. 95), controlling for gestational age, mechanical ventilation days, and days without enteral feedings.

CONCLUSIONS:

The incidence of any infection and sepsis/meningitis are significantly reduced in human milk-fed VLBW infants compared with exclusively formula-fed VLBW infants.

PMID:
9724686
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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