Prevalence of Use of Human Milk in US Advanced Care Neonatal Units
- aDivision of Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Obesity, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia; and
- bUnited States Public Health Service Commissioned Corps, Atlanta, Georgia
BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVE: The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends all preterm infants receive human milk. The objective of this study was to describe the use of human milk in advanced care neonatal units of US maternity hospitals.
METHODS: We used Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s national Maternity Practices in Infant Nutrition and Care survey from 2007, 2009, and 2011 to analyze 2 questions to describe the prevalence of US advanced care (special/level 2 or intensive/level 3) neonatal units routinely providing human milk to infants, and the use of any donor milk in these units.
RESULTS: In 2011, 30.8% of maternity hospitals reported that most infants (≥90%) were routinely provided human milk in advanced care units, compared with 26.7% in 2009 and 21.2% in 2007 (trend P < .001). States in the Northwest and Northeast had a higher prevalence of hospitals routinely providing human milk to ≥90% of infants in advanced care units. In 2011, 22.0% of maternity hospitals providing advanced care used banked donor milk, compared with 14.4% in 2009 and 11.5% in 2007 (trend P < .001). Most of this increase occurred in intensive care units (25.1% 2007 vs 45.2% 2011; trend P < .001). There was substantial geographic variation in the prevalence of advanced care units using donor milk; generally the prevalence was higher in the West and in states with a milk bank in the state or a neighboring state. CONCLUSIONS: The use of human milk in US advanced care neonatal units is increasing; however, only one-third of these units are routinely providing human milk to most infants.