Human milk is a ‘life-saving intervention’ for infants with congenital heart disease

Congenital heart disease (CHD) is the most common category of birth defects, diagnosed in an estimated 1 in 1,000 newborns and infants each year. While the benefits of human milk for preterm and healthy infants are well documented, little attention has been given to the role of human milk in improving outcomes for infants with CHD. The researchers examined evidence on the benefits of human milk on key outcomes for infants with CHD.

two bottles of breast milk with pump flange and infant in background

Penn Nursing’s Diane L. Spatz, professor of perinatal nursing, the Helen M. Shearer Term Professor of Nutrition, and director of the Lactation Program, and Jessica A. Davis of UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh, analyzed six studies on the benefits of human milk and breast-feeding for infants with CHD. They conclude, “Due to the overwhelming evidence of improved outcomes related to human milk feeing for critically ill infants, human milk should be considered a medical intervention for infants with CHD.”

Read more at Penn Nursing News.