Human milk feeding protects very low-birth-weight infants from retinopathy of prematurity: a pre-post cohort analysis.
J Matern Fetal Neonatal Med. 2016 Feb 26:1-6. Epub 2016 Feb 26. PMID: 26918740
OBJECTIVES: To examine the effect of early human milk (HM) feeding on the incidence of retinopathy of prematurity (ROP) among very low-birth-weight (VLBW) infants.
METHODS: Observational cohort research in a Level III neonatal intensive care unit. A total of 186 infants were enrolled in this pre-post cohort study (114 infants were included in the HM-fed group and 72 in the formula-fed group). ROP, type of feeding (early exclusive HM versus any formula), and potential confounding variables were measured. Differences between groups were explored.
RESULTS: The clinical characteristics of the neonates did not differ between the two groups. By bivariate analysis, HM feeding was associated with 75% lower odds of Stage 2 or 3 ROP (OR = 0.25, 95% CI: 0.091 to 0.705; p = 0.009) At multivariate logistic regression, type of milk feeding retained significance, exclusive HM being protective with p = 0.002.
CONCLUSIONS: This study found an association between early exposure to formula in VLBW infants and ROP. An initial HM diet, devoid of cow milk-containing products before achieving full enteral feeding, may help prevent ROP.