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Human milk is indisputably the preferred source of nutrition for premature infants given the numerous short-term and long-term benefits. Indeed, one important quality measure for neonatal intensive care units (NICU) is the percentage of infants receiving mother’s own milk both in the hospital and at the time of discharge. When mother’s own milk is not available, donor human milk is increasingly being recommended as a surrogate1–3 with the assumption that donor milk is equal in efficacy to a diet of mother’s own milk.
Patel and colleagues4 report the results of a prospective observational cohort study evaluating the impact of own mother’s milk on bronchopulmonary dysplasia (BPD) and NICU costs in 254 very low birthweight (VLBW) infants cared for in a single center between 2009 and 2012. Given that BPD is both a common and costly morbidity in premature infants, the primary aim of the study was to evaluate whether there is a dose–dependent relationship between mother’s own milk ingested in the NICU and BPD and associated healthcare costs.
Nutritional intake was collected prospectively, including the daily volume of parenteral nutrition, mother’s own milk and preterm formula. The dose of mother’s own milk was calculated as the percentage of total enteral feedings …
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