A Review of the Literature Examining the Benefits and Challenges, Incidence and Duration, and Barriers to Breastfeeding in Preterm Infants

Jennifer Callen, RNC, MSC; Janet Pinelli, RNC, MSCN, DNS


Adv Neonatal Care. 2005;5(2):72-88. 

In This Article

Implications for Clinical Practice

Because the benefits of breastfeeding and providing human milk for preterm infants are numerous, clinicians must use evidence-based data to overcome the challenges. Clinicians should also support mothers to begin pumping early to establish a good milk supply. They should educate mothers regarding the positive impact of early initiation of pumping after delivery and the importance of pumping frequency thereafter. They should also advise about the negative effects of smoking and the associated decreased milk production. Finally, they should avoid the use of galactogogues to increase milk supply due to safety concerns.

Since early breastfeeding is less stressful to the infant than bottle feeding, and early breastfeeding opportunities may enhance the development of oral motor skills, current clinical practices regarding the initiation of breastfeeding for preterm infants should be re-examined. The current practice of initiating oral feedings based on PCA is not well supported in the literature.


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