The experience of Finnish workers, as well as that of others, shows that the banking of heattreated and frozen human milk is a practical and safe means of feeding low-birth-weight newborn infants. The continuous and exclusive use of human milk is associated with a low incidence of infection and with a rate of survival which is among the highest reported.4 The rate of growth and weight gain is also considered satisfactory, although there is some controversy about whether weight gain is quite as rapid as in formula-fed infants.28 Long-term studies should be carried out to see if these infants grow and develop as well, or better than, those on formula feedings.
It is still uncertain whether banked human milk will prove sufficiently superior to formula with respect to its nutritional and immunologic characteristics to compensate for the difficulties of maintaining bacteriologic control and to warrant the cost of setting up and running a milk bank for premature infants. At this time, the Committee considers it optimal for mothers of low-birth-weight newborn infants to collect their milk for feeding their own infants fresh milk.29 Once home, the mothers can freeze the expressed milk and organize for transportation of samples on a regular basis. However, since this procedure will be impossible or impractical for many infants, bacteriologically safe milk from a donor seems a reasonable alternative for these infants.
- Copyright © 1980 by the American Academy of Pediatrics