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Short-term rate of milk synthesis and expression interval of preterm mothers
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    Caution in extrapolating results to first two weeks of life

    I was interested to read this study looking at a question which is extremely important to mothers of preterm infants who need to exclusively express - "how frequently do I need to express?".

    The conclusion that there is no difference in average yield of mothers expressing 5, 6, 7, 8, and 9 times a day will be very useful to mothers who are similar to those included in the study - that is mothers of preterm babies aged at least 10 days (but mostly 15-20 days old), who have good daily expressed milk yield (average yield clustered around 750ml/day for these expressing frequencies). Therefore mothers in this group may feel more confident in reducing their expressing sessions down to a more manageable 5 or 6 per day, which reduces their burden of expressing.

    However it could be harmful to extrapolate outside of these characteristics, for example mothers attempting to establish their supply in the first 2 weeks of life. We know that this period may be a critical window to establish milk supply and this study cannot comment on the relationship of early expressing frequency to the establishment of adequate yield (which, to complicate matters further, is poorly defined in the context of prematurity, with a range of daily volume targets from 500-900ml suggested in the literature and by the Unicef Baby Friendly Initiative). Already I have seen the article summarised as "mothers of preterm infants should express milk at least 5 times a day" on social...

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    Conflict of Interest:
    None declared.