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Making the Case for Using Donor Human Milk in Vulnerable Infants

Edwards, Taryn M. MSN, CRNP, NNP-BC; Spatz, Diane L. PhD, RN-BC, FAAN

Section Editor(s): Zukowsky, Ksenia

doi: 10.1097/ANC.0b013e31825eb094
Beyond the Basics

Vulnerable infants are at an increased risk for feeding intolerance due to immaturity or dysfunction (ie, congenital anomaly or obstruction) of the gastrointestinal system and/or hemodynamic instability. Symptoms of feeding intolerance include vomiting, water-loss stools, increased abdominal girth, and increased gastric residuals. It has been well documented that human milk provides optimal nutrition for infants and decreases the incidence of feeding intolerance. Donor human milk can be used for these at-risk infants to supplement the mother's own milk supply if insufficient or if the mother has decided not to or is unable to provide human milk for her infant. Establishing a donor human milk program within your institution will allow an opportunity for all vulnerable infants to receive an exclusive human milk diet.

Newborn/Infant Intensive Care Unit, Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (Ms Edwards), Pennsylvania; and Children's Hospital of Philadelphia and University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing (Dr Spatz), Philadelphia.

Correspondence: Taryn M. Edwards, MSN, CRNP, NNP-BC, Newborn/Infant Intensive Care Unit, Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, Philadelphia, PA 19104 (

The authors have disclosed that they have no financial relationships related to this article.

© 2012 National Association of Neonatal Nurses