Balancing the Nutritional Needs of Very Low Birth Weight Infants with the Protective Properties of Human Milk

  • Description
  • Credit Hours
  • Outline



This 1.5 hour online course developed by Paula Sisk, PhD, RD, IBCLC discusses how human milk feeding in very low birth weight (VLBW) infants is associated with lower risk of the serious and life threatening complications of prematurity.  Multiple biological mechanisms function to protect infants against bacterial and viral infections and subsequent inflammation.  However, VLBW infants have high nutrient requirements which human milk alone cannot meet.  Calcium, phosphorus, and protein requirements are especially high and are challenging to meet with human milk.  The dietitian’s role in promoting human milk feeding as well as possible approaches to meeting nutrient needs and achieving optimal growth in VLBW infants are discussed.

Learning Objectives:

  • Identify benefits of human milk feeding
  • Discuss the possible biologic mechanisms
  • Describe benefits and interventions to meet nutrient needs
1 Hour 30 Minutes
Course ID

Credit Hours

  • Nursing - 1.5 Contact Hours



  • Benefits of human milk feedings for preterm infants.
  • Concept of dose response in relation to the effects of human milk on preterm infants.
  • Economic implications of improved health outcomes provided by human milk.
  • Protecting the preterm infant’s gastrointestinal system.
  • Use of lactation counseling for mothers of preterm infants on maternal anxiety and initiation of breast pumping.
  • Benefit of early parenteral nutrition for preterm infants
  • Interventions for slow weight gain in preterm infants
  • Metabolic bone disease in preterm infants

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