Breastfeeding benefits preterm infants from a nutritional, gastrointestinal, immunological, developmental, and psychological perspective. Despite the benefits, the incidence and duration of breastfeeding preterm infants continues to be less than that of full-term infants. The lower incidence is probably related to breastfeeding challenges that preterm infants and parents face, including establishing and maintaining a milk supply and transitioning from gavage feeding to breastfeeding. In order to increase the incidence and duration of breastfeeding preterm infants, researchers must examine breastfeeding experiences longitudinally. This way, researchers and clinicians can begin to understand the barriers to breastfeeding at various time periods in the breastfeeding experience and begin implementing strategies to remove these barriers.
1Faculty of Nursing and the 2Department of Pediatrics, McMaster University Medical Centre, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada.
Address reprint requests to Jennifer Callen, RNC, MSc, Acute Care Nurse Practitioner-Neonatal, McMaster Children's Hospital, HSC 4A Neo, 1200 Main Street West, Hamilton, ON L8N 3Z5, Canada. E-mail: email@example.com
No conflicts of interest disclosed. The information, content, or conclusions expressed in this article reflect the opinions of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official positions or policies of their affiliated institutions.