Multinutrient fortification of human breast milk for preterm infants following hospital discharge
McCormick, F.M.; Henderson, G.; Fahey, T.; McGuire, W.
Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 7: Cd004866
ISSN/ISBN: 1469-493X PMID: 20614438 DOI: 10.1002/14651858.cd004866.pub3
Preterm infants are usually growth restricted at hospital discharge. Feeding preterm infants after hospital discharge with multinutrient fortified breast milk rather than unfortified breast milk may facilitate more rapid catch-up growth and improve neurodevelopmental outcomes. To determine the effect of feeding with multinutrient fortified human breast milk versus unfortified breast milk on growth and development in preterm or low birth weight infants following hospital discharge. The standard search strategy of the Cochrane Neonatal Review Group was used. This included searches of the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL, The Cochrane Library, Issue 4, 2010), MEDLINE (1966 to April 2010), EMBASE (1980 to April 2010), CINAHL (1982 to April 2010), conference proceedings, and previous reviews. Randomised or quasi-randomised controlled trials that compared feeding preterm infants following hospital discharge with multinutrient fortified breast milk compared with unfortified human breast milk. The standard methods of the Cochrane Neonatal Review Group were used, with separate evaluation of trial quality and data extraction by two review authors. One small trial (N = 39) was identified. Multinutrient fortification of breast milk for 12 weeks after hospital discharge resulted in higher rates of growth during infancy. At 12 months corrected age, weight (mean difference 1187g, 95% confidence interval (CI) 259, 2115 g), length (3.8 cm, 95%CI 1.2, 6.4 cm) and head circumference (1.0 cm, 95%CI 0.1, 1.9 cm) were statistically significantly greater in the intervention group. No evidence of an effect on neurodevelopmental assessments at 18 months corrected age was found. The limited available data suggest that feeding preterm infants following hospital discharge with multinutrient fortified breast milk compared with unfortified breast milk increases growth rates during infancy. The importance of these effects on long-term growth and development is unclear and deserves further assessment in randomised controlled trials. Since fortifying breast milk for infants fed directly from the breast is logistically difficult and has the potential to interfere with breast feeding, it is important to determine if mothers would support further trials of this intervention.