Human breast milk is believed to be the best food for newborns. Donor breast milk can be fed to a neonate in the intensive care unit (ICU) if indications are present.


Reasons to feed donor breast milk to an infant in the ICU:

(1) Breast milk from the mother is not available, is insufficient or cannot be used.

(2) The physician identifies one or more clinical conditions where the benefits of human breast milk outweighs the risks.


Breast milk from the mother may not be available if:

(1) There is a considerable distance between the mother and infant.

(2) The mother's milk production is inadequate.

(3) The mother's milk cannot be used because of illness, medication or other reason.


Donor milk from a milk bank can be accessed if:

(1) The physician writes a prescription for its use.

(2) The family gives informed consent.

(3) The donor milk meets quality standards.


Conditions considered indications for human milk may include:

(1) prematurity or low birth weight (less than 1,750 grams)

(2) evidence of fetal distress

(3) following gastrointestinal or other surgery

(4) malabsorption syndrome (short gut, other)

(5) feeding intolerance

(6) immunodeficiency

(7) one or more organ failures

(8) inborn error of metabolism

(9) bronchopulmonary dysplasia


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