Policy of feeding very preterm infants with their mother's own fresh expressed milk was associated with a reduced risk of bronchopulmonary dysplasia

Acta Paediatr. 2017 May;106(5):755-762. doi: 10.1111/apa.13757. Epub 2017 Feb 28.


Aim: Since 2005, the French Food Safety Agency has recommended that very preterm or low-birthweight babies should be fed with pasteurised, expressed breastmilk, and feeding policies on this vary widely in French neonatal units. We investigated the differences between using a mother's expressed milk, in fresh or pasteurised forms, for very preterm infants.

Methods: This observational multicentre study analysed data on 926 very preterm infants: 636 from neonatal units who used the mother's own fresh milk and 290 who used the mother's milk after pasteurisation. We analysed necrotising enterocolitis, bronchopulmonary dysplasia, in-hospital mortality, late-onset sepsis, weight gain, length of hospital stay, the duration of parenteral nutrition and the duration of enteral feeding with a nasogastric tube. Multivariate analyses were conducted to assess the impact of maternal milk policies.

Results: After adjustment, there was a reduced risk of bronchopulmonary dysplasia in the fresh milk group with an odds ratio of 0.40 and 95% confidence interval of 0.27-0.67 (p < 0.001). No other statistically significant differences were observed.

Conclusion: Feeding very preterm infants with their mother's expressed fresh milk was associated with a reduced risk of bronchopulmonary dysplasia, and further investigations are needed to evaluate the clinical impact of this practice.

Keywords: Bronchopulmonary dysplasia; Fresh breastmilk; Neonatal intensive care unit; Pasteurisation; Very preterm infants.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Observational Study

MeSH terms

  • Bronchopulmonary Dysplasia / epidemiology*
  • Feeding Methods*
  • Female
  • France / epidemiology
  • Hospital Mortality*
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infant, Premature
  • Male
  • Milk, Human*
  • Pasteurization*
  • Weight Gain