Leveraging mHealth and a milk expression frequency biomarker during postpartum to prolong lactation among parents of critically ill infants: a pilot study

J Perinatol. 2023 May;43(5):616-623. doi: 10.1038/s41372-023-01639-y. Epub 2023 Mar 8.


Objective: To assess the feasibility and potential benefits of personalized biomarker-based text messages in prolonging lactation among parents of critically ill infants.

Study design: Thirty-six participants were randomized to receive either daily texts with Mother's Own Milk (MOM) sodium levels or standard care. Surveys at months 1 and 3 assessed whether infants were receiving exclusive MOM feeding, any MOM feeding, and whether the parent was still lactating. Kaplan-Meier and log-rank tests were used for time-to-event analysis within and between intervention and control groups.

Results: Participants were predominantly on Medicaid (72%), delivered infants <1500 g, and by c-section (56%). Kaplan-Meier probabilities at month 3 suggest prolonged MOM feeding (63% [0.95CI, 0.43-0.91] vs. 41% [0.95CI, 0.21-0.67]) and lactation (63% [0.95CI, 0.42-0.95] vs. 37% [0.95CI, 0.18-0.76]) in the enhanced group compared to the control group.

Conclusion: Personalized biomarker-based text messages are feasible and may prolong lactation and MOM feeding among parents of critically ill infants.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Biomarkers
  • Breast Feeding
  • Critical Illness*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant Nutritional Physiological Phenomena
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Intensive Care Units, Neonatal
  • Lactation*
  • Milk, Human
  • Mothers
  • Parents
  • Pilot Projects


  • Biomarkers