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J Biol Regul Homeost Agents. 2012 Jul-Sep;26(3 Suppl):19-24.

Donor human milk versus mother's own milk in preterm VLBWIs: a case control study.

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Neonatal Unit, University of Turin, 10126 Turin, Italy.


As for term infants, over the past decades there has been increasing evidence of the benefits of human milk in the feeding of Very Low Birth Weight Infants (VLBWI), influencing not only short-term health outcomes but also long-term neurodevelopmental, metabolic outcomes, and growth. Mother's own milk is the first choice for all neonates including preterm infants, when it is unavailable or in short supply, pasteurized donor breast milk offers a safe alternative and is considered the next best choice. The main aim of this case-control retrospective analysis was to evaluate short term advantages of mother's own milk as a sole diet compared to donor milk as a sole diet, in terms of growth, antiinfectious properties, feeding tolerance, NEC and ROP prevention in a population of VLBWI born in a tertiary center. We did not find significant differences in clinical outcome from mother's own milk compared with pasteurized donor milk. Only a slight and statistically not significant difference in growth could be observed, in favour of maternal milk. We conclude that the maximum effort should always be put in supporting and promoting breastfeeding and donor milk used not only as an alternative to mother's milk but also as a breastfeeding promotion and support strategy.

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