Do a few weeks matter? Late preterm infants and breastfeeding issues

Beatrice Letizia Crippa, Lorenzo Colombo, Daniela Morniroli, Dario Consonni, Maria Enrica Bettinelli, Irene Spreafico, Giulia Vercesi, Patrizio Sannino, Paola Agnese Mauri, Lidia Zanotta, Annalisa Canziani, Paola Roggero, Laura Plevani, Donatella Bertoli, Stefania Zorzan, Maria Lorella Giannì, Fabio Mosca

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The late preterm infant population is increasing globally. Many studies show that late preterm infants are at risk of experiencing challenges common to premature babies, with breastfeeding issues being one of the most common. In this study, we investigated factors and variables that could interfere with breastfeeding initiation and duration in this population. We conducted a prospective observational study, in which we administered questionnaires on breastfeeding variables and habits to mothers of late preterm infants who were delivered in the well-baby nursery of our hospital and followed up for three months after delivery. We enrolled 149 mothers and 189 neonates, including 40 pairs of twins. Our findings showed that late preterm infants had a low rate of breastfeeding initiation and early breastfeeding discontinuation at 15, 40 and 90 days of life. The mothers with higher educational levels and previous positive breastfeeding experience had a longer breastfeeding duration. The negative factors for breastfeeding were the following: Advanced maternal age, Italian ethnicity, the feeling of reduced milk supply and having twins. This study underlines the importance of considering these variables in the promotion and protection of breastfeeding in this vulnerable population, thus offering mothers tailored support.

Original languageEnglish
Article number312
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2019


  • Breastfeeding
  • Breastfeeding support
  • Late preterm
  • Promotion of breastfeeding
  • Protective factors

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


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