Objective: To determine if ingestion of human milk after discharge reduces symptoms of infections in premature infants.
Study design: Follow-up of 39 infants with birth weights <2000 g, 24 of whom received any amount of human milk and 15 of whom received only formula after discharge, was carried out. Mothers were given a calendar on which they recorded any signs of infections and feeding and day-care information. Data were collected at 1 month after discharge and at 3, 7, and 12 months corrected age.
Results: Results show no differences between groups in birth weight, gestation, gender, maternal age, parental tobacco use, number of siblings, and day-care attendance. Socioeconomic status score was higher in the human milk group. Infants who received human milk had fewer days of upper respiratory symptoms at 1 month after discharge (p<0.025) and at 7 months corrected age (p<0.025).
Conclusion: Ingestion of human milk post discharge is associated with a reduction of upper respiratory symptoms in premature infants during their first year of life.