The Value of Human Milk in the NICU: Reducing Preterm Morbidities and NEC

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  • Credit Hours
  • Outline



This online presentation developed and presented by Jean Rhodes, PhD, CNM, IBCLC explores the vital role of human milk in the care of preterm infants. Of particular interest is the ability of human milk to protect the preterm infant’s gastrointestinal system from environmental pathogens while facilitating gut maturation. Three research studies, all related to the effects of preterm infant diets, provide structure for examining the evidence to support the use of human milk in neonatal intensive care.

1 Hour 0 Minutes
Course ID

Credit Hours

  • Nursing - 1.0 Contact Hours


Discussion of Article 1:
Intestinal permeability in preterm infants by feeding type: mother's milk versus formula

• Identify anatomical and physiologic factors of the preterm gastrointestinal system that predispose infants to infection.
• Compare the effects of human milk and infant formula on the closure of tight junctions in the preterm GI tract
• Discuss benefits of human milk on other developmental aspects of the preterm intestine

Discussion of Article 2:
Role of human milk in extremely low birth weight infants' risk of necrotizing enterocolitis or death.

• Discuss the concept of dose response in relation to proportion and cumulative amounts of human milk feedings
• Discuss the role of commensal bacteria and human milk oligosaccharides in protecting the preterm intestine
• Analyze the role of human milk in preventing local and systemic inflammatory responses

Discussion of Article 3:
An exclusively human milk-based diet is associated with a lower rate of necrotizing enterocolitis than a diet of human milk and bovine milk-based products

• Compare clinical outcomes of infants receiving a completely human milk-based diet to infants receiving a diet of human milk and bovine-based products.
• Discuss the role of bovine casein in the development of NEC
• Analyze the potential cost benefits of an exclusively human milk-based diet for preterm infants

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