Human Milk in the NICU

Medela is committed to enhancing mother and baby health through the life-giving benefits of breast milk and leading in the NICU with integrated solutions for human milk. Medela Neonatal Solutions encompasses the delivery of enteral nutrition to at-risk infants in the NICU by providing a safety-based enteral feeding product line to deliver clinically beneficial human milk at a time when every drop counts.

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Human Milk in the NICU
The practices that you promote today have life-long implications that extend far beyond discharge.  We are here to help. Research  demonstrates that providing human milk to babies in the NICU provides health enhancing benefits such as: 

  • Length of stay was reduced from an average of 88 days to 73 days for babies fed more than 50 ml/kg/day of breast milk versus preterm formula.
  • Days of oxygen therapy was significantly reduced from 33 days for infants fed preterm formula to only 19 days for infants fed fortified human milk.
  • Late onset sepsis was reduced from 22% for infants fed preterm formula to only 19% for infants fed fortified human milk.*

In addition, we know that by feeding human milk you can significantly reduce the risk of:

  • Necrotizing Enterocolitis by up to 86%.
  • Ear infections by up to 50%.
  • Serious respiratory tract infections by 72%.
  • Gastroenteritis by more than 50%. 
  • Re-admission of infant by 60%.

Research also shows that the lack of human milk may have serious consequences.  Literature states that infants that are exclusively fed human milk are 6-7 times less likely to develop necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC - a condition associated with a high mortality rate in the NICU).   Studies also indicate that infants who are partially fed human milk and given formula supplementation are 3 times less likely to develop NEC than babies exclusively fed formula. This translates into a 66% reduction in the risk of developing NEC.

Medela offers integrated solutions for human milk specifically designed to support the NICU. Learn more about Medela’s commitment to the NICU:



*Schanler, R.J.,; "Feeding Strategies for Premature Infants:  Beneficial Outcomes of Feeding Fortified Human Milk Versus Preterm Formula."  Pediatrics. Vol. 103, No.6 June 1999.