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Breastfeeding Success in Infants With Giant Omphalocele

Spatz, Diane L. PhD, RN-BC, FAAN; Schmidt, Katherine J. BA, BSN, RN

Section Editor(s): Ikuta, Linda

doi: 10.1097/ANC.0b013e31826150c5
Foundations in Newborn Care

Infants born with a giant omphalocele often require multiple surgeries requiring a lengthy hospital stay. These vulnerable infants may experience a long period of being NPO (nothing by mouth), followed by slowly advancing to enteral feeds. Human milk is the ideal source of nutrition for all infants and should be used to initiate enteral feeds in infants recovering from omphalocele closure surgeries. Human milk provides immunological, nutritional, and developmental benefits for high-risk infants and may play a critical role in preventing associated morbidities often associated with infants born with giant omphalocele. Because of the stress of hospitalization, mother-infant dyads should be targeted to receive extensive lactation support, which can help ensure maintenance of milk supply and successful transition to breastfeeding once the infant is healthy enough to do so. Two case studies are presented as exemplars, demonstrating that the provision of human milk for even the most vulnerable infants can be achieved.

University of Pennsylvania and the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pennyslvania.

Correspondence: Diane L. Spatz, PhD, RN-BC, FAAN, 418 Curie Blvd, Office 413, Philadelphia, PA 19104 (

This work was completed at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. The authors thank the mothers who allowed the authors to share the breastfeeding stories.

The authors declare no conflict of interest.

© 2012 National Association of Neonatal Nurses