Safe and Effective Human Milk Feeding for Small and Sick Newborns

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A Do No Harm Technical Brief

Human milk feeding and breastfeeding have immediate and long-term benefits for all babies. Small and sick newborns face considerable problems with breastfeeding because of immaturity or medical conditions that interfere with effective oral feeding including sucking and swallowing. Small newborns are further handicapped by variation in the gut microbiome and increased risk for infections. They often need care in special newborn care units (SNCUs) or neonatal intensive care units (NICUs) which can result in separation from their mothers creating additional challenges to feeding. This brief highlights the promotion of safe, optimal use of human milk and subsequent breastfeeding for small and sick newborns, who require extra care and supervision to ensure they receive the support they need without inadvertently causing harm. 

The Every Preemie—SCALE project is pleased to share the Do No Harm Technical Brief Series. This series highlights the safe and effective use of specific inpatient newborn care interventions, with the guiding principle of “Do No Harm”. The briefs are designed to provide stakeholders with evidence-based information regarding safe and effective inpatient care in low-resource settings as an important step to avoid harm and improve health outcomes for newborns. See complete series here.  

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