Purpose of review
Donor milk usage in the United States has increased substantially over the past 10 years. Between 2007 and 2011, donor milk use in level 3 and 4 neonatal ICUs increased from 25 to 45%.
Most centers have written protocols based on birth weight or gestational age, and give donor milk in an effort to prevent necrotizing enterocolitis
. The evidence for protection against necrotizing enterocolitis
using bovine-fortified donor milk vs. formula is limited, although the exclusive human milk diet
seems to offer protection compared to diets containing formula. Adequate growth can be achieved with donor milk fortified with either bovine or human milk-derived fortifiers, but use of additional fortification and protein supplementation may be required. Several randomized trials of donor milk vs. formula are ongoing in the very low birth weight population in North America that can answer important questions.
Further research is needed before donor milk and the exclusive human milk diet
are considered the standard of care.