What evidence-based strategies have been shown to improve breastfeeding rates in preterm infants?

Cathie Hilditch, Alexander Howes, Natalie Dempster, Amy Keir

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)


Breast milk is the preferred form of nutrition for all infants and has been shown to reduce morbidity and improve health outcomes in preterm infants. However, mothers of preterm infants face many challenges initiating and sustaining breastfeeding within the neonatal unit. This scoping review examines evidence-based practices which aim to improve breastfeeding rates in preterm infants at the time of hospital discharge. A literature review identified 17 articles which are included in this review. Supporting evidence was found for the implementation of kangaroo mother care and/or skin-to-skin care, peer counsellors, provision of oropharyngeal colostrum in early infancy and use of donor human milk banks. However, overall it is apparent that high quality research including systematic review and data synthesis in the form of meta-analysis is required in this area to reach sound conclusions regarding recommendations of different interventions. This scoping review provides an important foundation for further research into this area.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)907-914
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Paediatrics and Child Health
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished or Issued - Aug 2019


  • breastfeeding or breast milk or growth
  • clinical improvement or quality improvement or gold standard or guideline
  • intensive care units, neonatal
  • nutritional outcome

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health

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