Effect of Neonatal Unit Interventions Designed to Increase Breastfeeding in Preterm Infants: An Overview of Systematic Reviews

Cathie Hilditch, Alice R. Rumbold, Amy Keir, Philippa Middleton, Judith Gomersall

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
38 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Introduction: This overview aims to systematically review evidence regarding effects of interventions undertaken in neonatal units to increase breastfeeding in preterm infants. Methods: We followed Cochrane methodology. Systematic reviews published to October 31, 2022, reporting meta-analysis of effects from original studies on breastfeeding rates in preterm infants of neonatal unit interventions designed to increase breastfeeding were included. Results: Avoidance of bottles during breastfeed establishment (comparator breastfeeds with bottle-feeds) demonstrated clear evidence of benefit for any breastfeeding at discharge and exclusive breastfeeding 3 months post-discharge, and possible evidence of benefit for exclusive breastfeeding at discharge, and any breastfeeding post-discharge. Kangaroo mother care (KMC) (comparator usual care) demonstrated clear evidence of benefit for any and exclusive breastfeeding at discharge and possible benefit for any breastfeeding post-discharge. Quality improvement (QI) bundle(s) to enable breastfeeds (comparator conventional care) showed possible evidence of benefit for any breastfeeding at discharge. Cup feeding (comparator other supplemental enteral feeding forms) demonstrated possible evidence of benefit for exclusive breastfeeding at discharge and any breastfeeding 3 months after. Early onset KMC (commenced <24 h post-birth), oral stimulation, and oropharyngeal colostrum administration, showed no evidence of benefit. No meta-analyses reported pooled effects for gestational age or birthweight subgroups. Conclusion: There is ample evidence to support investment in KMC, avoidance of bottles during breastfeed establishment, cup feeding, and QI bundles targeted at better supporting breastfeeding in neonatal units to increase prevalence of breastfeeding in preterm infants and promote equal access to breastmilk. Stratifying effects by relevant subgroups is a research priority.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-10
Number of pages10
JournalNeonatology
Early online date21 Mar 2024
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 21 Mar 2024

Keywords

  • Human milk
  • Intervention
  • Neonatal unit
  • Premature infant
  • Preterm infant feeding

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Developmental Biology

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