Donor Human Milk and Fortifier Use in United States Level 2, 3, and 4 Neonatal Care Hospitals

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Abstract

Objective:

In 2011, the United States Surgeon General issued a call to action to “identify and address obstacles to greater availability of safe banked donor milk for fragile infants.” The purpose of the present study is to analyze patterns in donor human milk (DHM) and fortifier use in level 2, 3, and 4 neonatal facilities in 2015 and to identify factors associated with nonuse.

Methods:

Data from the 2015 Maternity Practices in Infant Nutrition and Care survey, conducted by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, were analyzed for questions about feeding practices within neonatal hospitals.

Results:

The percentage of neonatal facilities that reported using DHM in 2015 was 38.3%, up 74% from 2011. The majority of level 3 and level 4 facilities reported using DHM (65.7% and 73.3%, respectively) and fortifiers (96.1% and 91.9%, respectively). Within DHM-using facilities, a wide range of DHM feeding patterns was reported. The prevalence of DHM use was higher in facilities that had the highest rates of mother's own milk feedings (P < 0.001), in facilities that were participating in the Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative (P < 0.001), and in facilities that were in a state with an operating milk bank (P < 0.001).

Conclusions:

DHM use continues to increase in advanced care neonatal settings, with significant difference based on acuity level, facility size, breast-feeding culture, and proximity to a milk bank. Geographic gaps in DHM use provide the opportunity for targeted efforts to improve access.

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