The provision of breast milk to premature VLBW infants is associated with significant health benefits. Unfortunately, the delivery of breast milk to these vulnerable infants is often limited due to insufficient maternal milk supply. Several interventions have been investigated with respect to increasing milk volume in mothers of VLBW infants but confusion exists concerning the interventions' effectiveness. The purpose of this systematic review is to critique the evidence regarding specific milk expression strategies that aim to improve milk volume in mothers of VLBW infants.Published article references, electronic databases, dissertations and theses, and select conference proceedings were searched with the goal of finding studies that target VLBW infants and milk expression techniques in which breast milk volume was an outcome. Analysis of evidence revealed an association between increased milk volume and early initiation of expression, increased frequency of expression, and provision of kangaroo care. The use of simultaneous or sequential milk expression and duration of milk expression sessions were not found to significantly improve milk volume. These results may be used to formulate specific strategies designed to increase breast milk volume in this population.
If you care for mothers of VLBW infants, do you know how to help them to increase their milk supply for breastfeeding?
Leslie A. Parker, Clinical Assistant Professor, University of Florida, Gainesville FL. The author can be reached via e-mail at Parkela@ufl.edu
Sandra Sullivan, Associate Professor, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL.
Charlene Krueger, Clinical Assistant Professor, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL.
Teresa Kelechi, Chair, Department of Nursing, Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston, SC.
Martina Mueller, Associate Professor, Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston, SC.
The authors declare no conflict of interest.