Table 1

 Summary of the characteristics of the seven included studies

Study Time period DesignSample sizeDBM groupFormula groupStudy inclusion criteriaBaseline data in study population*Feeding regimen
Type o DBM (n)Type of formula (n)Gestation(weeks)Birth weight(g)Mean gestation (weeks)Mean birth weight (g)Route of deliveryDosePre-allocation nutritionWhen allocated feed startedInfants fed allocated diet untilAdditional nourishmentPost diet regimen
DBM, donor breast milk; IV, intravenous; N/A, not applicable as outcomes measured whilst on allocated diet; PTF, preterm formula; RCT, randomised controlled study; VLBW, very low birth weight.
“Drip” milk: the milk that drips from one breast while the infant feeds at the other breast.
*These were the characteristics of the study sample rather than specific inclusion criteria.
†Lucas A and Lucas B refer to the Lucas study trial A (sole diet comparison) and trial B (supplementary diet comparison), respectively.
‡Initially a quasi-RCT that became observational due to a change in selection criteria and population.
Davies91972–1973 RCT68Term(34)PTF(34)28–36*32.91954Not stated50 ml/kg increased to 200 ml/kg or until satisfiedNot statedNot stated2 months oldIf diet was not tolerated infants received 10%dextrose IV. All infants received vitamin and iron supplementsN/A
Raiha et al101972–1975RCT106Term(22)Not stated(84)28–36⩽210031–331680Smallest infants initially fed by gavage, others teatFormula: 150 ml/ DBM: 170 ml/kg/dayNot statedWithin 24 h of birth2400 gDBM group were given vitamins A, D and C and ferrous sulphateNot stated
Schultz et al111980 RCT20“Mature”(10)Not stated(10)30–37*<2000*33.21698Not statedIncreased to 170 ml/kg/day by 1 weekNoneBefore 24 h (usually 6–12 h)Not statedNot statedNot stated
Gross121980–1982 RCT67Preterm(20)PTF(46)27–33<160030.91322Gastric gavage24 ml/kg/day increased to 180 ml/kg/dayNot statedDay 1–6 (mean day 3)1800 gIV dextrose and electrolytes days 1–5 after birth, and 1 ml Poly Vi Sol from day 7; hyponatraemic babies received NaCl in their milkAll fed formula
Lucas A et al13–221982–1984 RCT159“Mainly drip”(83)PTF(76)<185031.31401Nasogastric tubeUp to 200 ml/kg/24 hIn 3 centres all infants received DBM for first 24 hMedian 7 days2000 g or dischargeIn total (trials A and B) 90/502 babies required initial parenteral nutritionNot stated
Lucas B et al13–221982–1984 RCT343“Mainly drip”(170)PTF(173)<185031.11388Nasogastric tubeUp to 200 ml/kg/24 hIn 3 centres all infants received DBM for first 24 hMedian 7 days2000 g or dischargeSee aboveNot stated
Cooper et al23Early 1980s Observational‡39Preterm (24)PTF(15)<361200–150032.31359Nasogastric tube then bottleFormula: 175 ml/kg/day DBM: 170–200 ml/kg/dayNot statedWhen enteral feeding started1800 gDaily vitamin D.N/A
Putet et al241984 Study design unclear12Not stated(6)PTF(6)“VLBW”30.21310Nasogastric gavage or teatFormula: mean 157 ml/kg/day DBM: mean 168 ml/kg/dayParenteral glucose and amino acid solution until oral feeding, all infants initially fed DBM within 24–48 hours until full diet had been reachedStudy 1: once full oral feeding attainedNot statedNot statedN/A
Study 2: when infants reached the equivalentof 36 weeks