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Feasibility and safety of setting up a donor breastmilk bank in a neonatal prem unit in a resource limited setting: An observational, longitudinal cohort study

DOI: 10.1186/1471-2458-11-356

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Low birth weight infants < 1800 g and under 32 weeks gestational age were followed up in the NPU over a 3 week period; feeding data and morbidity data was collected in order to determine if there were any adverse events associated with donor breastmilk. Samples of pasteurized breastmilk were cultured to check for any bacterial contamination.191 infants met the inclusion criteria of whom 96 received their mother's own breastmilk. Of the 95 infants who were potentially eligible to receive donor milk, only 40 did in fact receive donor milk. There was no evidence of bacterial contamination in the samples analyzed, and no evidence of adverse events from feeding with donor breastmilk.It is feasible to supply donor breastmilk to infants in an NPU in a resource limited setting, however staff needs to be sensitized to the importance of donor breastmilk to improve uptake rates. Secondly we showed that it is possible to supply donor breastmilk according to established guidelines with no adverse events therefore making it possible to prevent NEC and other side effects often associated with formula feeding of premature infants.The particular benefits of human breastmilk for preterm and term infants have been well described in medical literature [1]. Human milk provides important nutritional components, digestive enzymes, immunological factors, growth factors, and hormones that make it a clinical standard of care for preterm (including very low-birth-weight) and term infants [2]. The beneficial effects of human milk (fresh and pasteurized) on rates of pediatric infection such as necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) and sepsis have also been clearly demonstrated [3-5]. Donor breastmilk has been encouraged as the milk of choice when a mother's own breastmilk is not available due to illness/infections, medications, or other social reasons [6]. Using human milk is of particular importance for preterm infants of HIV infected mothers as early introduction of formula feeds could be the sourc


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