Effects of a Breast Milk Diet on Enteral Feeding Outcomes of Neonates with Gastrointestinal Disorders

Breastfeed Med. 2016 Aug;11(6):286-292. doi: 10.1089/bfm.2016.0002. Epub 2016 Jun 22.


Objective: The objective of this study was to assess whether a diet of ≥50% breast milk (BM) was associated with earlier transition off parenteral nutrition (PN) in neonates with gastrointestinal (GI) disorders.

Methods: This retrospective study assessed enteral feeding outcomes of neonates with surgical GI disorders admitted within the first week of life to a single center between January 1, 2012 and August 10, 2015. Outcomes were assessed according to diet from the point of first enteral intake through 7 days of full enteral feeds. Diets were classified as 100%, ≥50%, or <50% BM.

Results: One hundred sixty-three patients with an average gestational age of 36 weeks (range 28-40) and birthweight of 2570 g (range 1250-4900) were included. Significant differences in days to full enteral feeds between the 100% and <50% BM groups were found (median 21 versus 32 days; p = 0.023). There were no significant differences between the 100% and ≥50% BM (p = 0.05) or ≥50% versus <50% BM groups (p = 0.74). The 100% BM group had significantly fewer days on PN compared to the ≥50% BM group (median 21 versus 28.5 days, p = 0.034). Hospital length of stay was significantly shorter in the 100% BM group, which was discharged an average of 10 and 13.5 days sooner than the ≥50% and <50% BM groups (p < 0.05).

Conclusions: Neonates with specific GI disorders who received a 100% BM diet were found to achieve earlier full enteral feeds, have shorter PN courses, and be discharged from the hospital significantly sooner than those who received diets that included formula.