Predictors of Prolonged Breast Milk Provision to Very Low Birth Weight Infants

J Pediatr. 2018 Nov;202:23-30.e1. doi: 10.1016/j.jpeds.2018.07.001. Epub 2018 Aug 28.


Objective: To identify factors associated with prolonged maternal breast milk (BM) provision in very low birth weight (VLBW) infants.

Study design: This was a cohort study of VLBW infants who initially received maternal BM and were born at one of 197 neonatal intensive care units managed by the Pediatrix Medical Group from 2010 to 2012. We used multivariable logistic regression to identify demographic, clinical, and maternal factors associated with provision of maternal BM on day of life (DOL) 30 and at discharge.

Results: Median gestational age for all infants was 28 weeks (25th, 75th percentiles: 26, 30), and median maternal age was 28 years (23, 33). Of 8806 infants, 6261 (71%) received maternal BM on DOL 30, and 4003 of 8097 (49%) received maternal BM at discharge to home. Predictors of maternal BM provision at DOL 30 included increased maternal age, white maternal race, absence of history of necrotizing enterocolitis or late-onset sepsis, higher household income, lower education level, lack of donor BM exposure, and lower gestational age.

Conclusions: Our results suggest that maternal-infant demographic and clinical factors and household neighborhood socioeconomic characteristics were associated with provision of maternal BM at 30 postnatal days to VLBW infants. Identification of these factors allows providers to anticipate mothers' needs and develop tailored interventions designed to improve rates of prolonged maternal BM provision and infant outcomes.

Keywords: VLBW; duration; human milk; mother's own milk; neonatal.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Breast Feeding / statistics & numerical data*
  • Cohort Studies
  • Educational Status
  • European Continental Ancestry Group
  • Female
  • Gestational Age
  • Humans
  • Income
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infant, Very Low Birth Weight*
  • Intensive Care Units, Neonatal
  • Male
  • Maternal Age
  • North Carolina
  • Young Adult