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Journal of Perinatal Medicine

Official Journal of the World Association of Perinatal Medicine

Editor-in-Chief: Dudenhausen, Joachim W.

Editorial Board Member: / Bancalari, Eduardo / Milner, Anne / Genc, Mehmet R. / Chervenak, Frank A. / Chappelle, Joseph / Bergmann, Renate L. / Bernardes, J.F. / Bevilacqua, G. / Blickstein, Isaac / Cabero Roura, Luis / Carbonell-Estrany, Xavier / Carrera, Jose M. / D`Addario, Vincenzo / D'Alton, MD, Mary E. / Dimitrou, G. / Grunebaum, Amos / Hentschel, Roland / Köpcke, W. / Kawabata, Ichiro / Keirse, Marc J.N.C. / Kurjak M.D., Asim / Lee, Ben H. / Levene, Malcolm / Lockwood, Charles J. / Marsal, Karel / Makatsariya, Alexander / Nishida, Hiroshi / Papp, Zoltán / Pejaver, Ranjan Kumar / Pooh, Ritsuko K. / Romero, Roberto / Saugstad, Ola D. / Schenker, Joseph G. / Sen, Cihat / Seri, Istvan / Vetter, Klaus / Winn, Hung N. / Young, Bruce K. / Zimmermann, Roland

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Volume 38, Issue 4 (Jul 2010)


Donor human milk in preterm infant feeding: evidence and recommendations

Sertac Arslanoglu
  • Italian Association of Human Milk Banks, Milan, Italy
/ Ekhard E. Ziegler
  • Fomon Infant Nutrition Unit, Department of Pediatrics, University of Iowa, Iowa City, USA
/ Guido E. Moro
  • Italian Association of Human Milk Banks, Milan, Italy
  • Center for Infant Nutrition, Macedonio Melloni Hospital, University of Milan, Milan, Italy
/ the WAPM Working Group on Nutrition
Published Online: 2010-05-05 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/jpm.2010.064


In preterm infants, feeding with human milk (HM) is a very effective intervention for the prevention of infections and necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC), and for potentially improved neurocognitive and cardiovascular outcomes in the long-term. Hospitals and physicians are advised to recommend HM for preterm and other high-risk infants either by direct breastfeeding and/or using the mother's own expressed milk. Donor HM is the preferred feeding when the mother's own milk is not available in sufficient quantity. While in some countries donor HM has been considered an effective tool in the delivery of health care to infants, skepticism regarding its nutritional and immunological quality has limited its distribution in other countries. The purpose of this paper is to summarize the clinical benefits of donor HM in preterm infants, and to discuss common concerns limiting its distribution as standard care. Clinically, the use of donor HM has been shown to prevent NEC, reduce feeding intolerance and improve long-term outcomes in premature infants. Common concerns, such as slow growth and loss of important biological components of donor HM due to storage and pasteurization, should not be a reason for denial of donor milk. Optimization of banking procedures and of HM fortification is available and should be applied. Banked donor milk should be promoted as standard component of health care for premature infants.

Keywords: Donor human milk; fortification; human milk banking; necrotizing enterocolitis; preterm infant

About the article

Corresponding author: Sertac Arslanoglu, MD Italian Association of Human Milk Banks Via Macedonio Melloni 52 20129 Milan Italy Tel.: +39 02 63633252 Fax: +39 02 745419

Published Online: 2010-05-05

Published in Print: 2010-07-01

Citation Information: Journal of Perinatal Medicine, ISSN (Online) 1619-3997, ISSN (Print) 0300-5577, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/jpm.2010.064.

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