Breastmilk significantly improves mental development in very low birth weight infants. - GreenMedInfo Summary
Beneficial effects of breast milk in the neonatal intensive care unit on the developmental outcome of extremely low birth weight infants at 18 months of age.
Pediatrics. 2006 Jul;118(1):e115-23. PMID: 16818526
OBJECTIVE: Beneficial effects of breast milk on cognitive skills and behavior ratings have been demonstrated previously in term and very low birth weight infants. Extremely low birth weight infants are known to be at increased risk for developmental and behavior morbidities. The benefits of breast milk that is ingested in the NICU by extremely low birth weight infants on development and behavior have not been evaluated previously. METHODS: Nutrition data including enteral and parenteral feeds were collected prospectively, and follow-up assessments of 1035 extremely low birth weight infants at 18 months' corrected age were completed at 15 sites that were participants in the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development Neonatal Research Network Glutamine Trial between October 14, 1999, and June 25, 2001. Total volume of breast milk feeds (mL/kg per day) during hospitalization was calculated. Neonatal characteristics and morbidities, interim history, and neurodevelopmental and growth outcomes at 18 to 22 months' corrected age were assessed. RESULTS: There were 775 (74.9%) infants in the breast milk and 260 (25.1%) infants in the no breast milk group. Infants in the breast milk group were similar to those in the no breast milk group in every neonatal characteristic and morbidity, including number of days of hospitalization. Mean age of first day of breast milk for the breast milk infants was 9.3 +/- 9 days. Infants in the breast milk group began to ingest non-breast milk formula later (22.8 vs 7.3 days) compared with the non-breast milk group. Age at achieving full enteral feeds was similar between the breast milk and non-breast milk groups (29.0 +/- 18 vs 27.4 +/- 15). Energy intakes of 107.5 kg/day and 105.9 kg/day during the hospitalization did not differ between the breast milk and non-breast milk groups, respectively. At discharge, 30.6% of infants in the breast milk group still were receiving breast milk. Mothers in the breast milk group were significantly more likely to be white (42% vs 27%), be married (50% vs 30%), have a college degree (22% vs 6%), and have private health insurance (34% vs 18%) compared with the no breast milk group. Mothers who were black, had a low household income (