PURPOSE: Maternal concerns for health and growth in prematurely born infants affect the breastfeeding duration.
METHOD: This prospective observational study evaluated whether maternal concerns regarding insufficient milk supply were supported by inadequate nutrients in human milk or low infant growth. The study followed mothers of 211 premature born infants for 6 months after delivery.
RESULTS: Of the 211 infants, 156 were not exclusively breastfed for the recommended 6 months after delivery. For 79 of these 156 infants, termination was due to maternal concerns regarding insufficient milk supply. There was no difference in human milk nutrients or infant growth when comparing infants who were exclusively breastfed with those who were not.
CONCLUSION: Maternal concern regarding insufficient milk supply was the primary explanation for termination of exclusive breastfeeding after premature delivery. Concerns regarding insufficient milk supply were not found associated with inadequate nutrients in the human milk, nor with low infant growth.
IMPLICATIONS: Breastfeeding support should remain in focus in this population.