Breastfeeding at NICU discharge: A multicenter italian study

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Background: Human milk is the optimal form of nutrition for infants, especially sick or compromised infants, yet international data suggest that breastfeeding (feeding at the breast) and the use of expressed human milk (mother's and donor's milk) are limited in patients cared for in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). Objective: The goal of this study was to examine feeding status at hospital discharge among high risk infants. Methods: We used the 1991 World Health Organization infant feeding definitions, applied to the 72 hour period preceding discharge from the NICU. The study sample consisted of all high risk infants discharged from July 1, 2005, to June 30, 2006 from 13 Italian NICUs. Data on infant feeding in the last 72 hours were collected at discharge from the medical records. Results: We recorded data from 2948 subjects with a median gestational age of 35 weeks (IQR, 32-38), a median birth weight of 2200 g (IQR, 1630-2920) and a median length of stay of 16 days (IQR, 8-33). At discharge, 28% of all infants were fed exclusively with human milk: 31%, 25%, 22% and 33% respectively in the

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)374-380
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Human Lactation
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2013


  • breastfeeding
  • human milk
  • Italy
  • low birth weight infants
  • neonatal intensive care unit
  • premature infants

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Obstetrics and Gynaecology
  • Medicine(all)


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