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Helping Bring Mothers’ Milk to Infants in Neonatal Intensive Care Units Worldwide

Helping Bring Mothers’ Milk to Infants in Neonatal Intensive Care Units Worldwide

Rush University Medical Center, supported by the Family Larsson-Rosenquist Foundation, has produced a series of educational materials to train health care professionals in mothers’ own milk feeding practices in neonatal intensive care units worldwide.

Mothers' own milk — or MOM — feeding is a life-saving intervention for preterm infants whose organs and systems are not as developed as those of full-term infants. MOM helps to develop healthy lungs, brains, intestines, digestive systems and immune systems, protecting these infants from serious and costly health complications.

Combining decades of research with clinical practice, the PROVIDE Training Compendium includes mother-focused information sheets and educational videos that cover the essentials of lactation care and MOM feeding that are specific to NICUs. It will include the following materials:

  • More than 40 videos featuring staff, infants and families in live NICU settings. Ranging from Mouth Care with Mother’s Own Milk in the NICU to Positioning Premature Babies at Breast for Feeding, the videos depict innovative NICU approaches to improving the use of MOM. Videos are accompanied by the evidence as well as clear, step by step guidance.
  • More than 20 illustrated information sheets appropriate for NICU staff, trainers and families. From colostrum (a woman’s first secretions from the mammary glands after giving birth) to the impact of MOM on the developing premature brain, each topic is presented in a fact-based, straightforward manner with illustrative artwork.

“Mothers’ own milk is one of the most clinically effective, accessible interventions we have for vulnerable infants,” says Dr. Paula P. Meier, PROVIDE Training Compendium creator and professor of pediatrics and nursing, Rush University Medical Center. “Premature infants that receive more MOM over longer periods in the NICU have a reduced risk of potentially preventable complications that are life-threatening and costly.”

The benefits of MOM feeding also extend beyond the short term and into adulthood. Breastmilk has been shown to provide lifelong preventative benefits against chronic illnesses, including allergy and asthma, diabetes and heart disease.

“Breastmilk is a vital element of every child’s first 1,000 days, particularly for vulnerable or preterm infants, and its benefits extend well into adulthood,” says Janet Prince, registered midwife, International Board of Lactation Consultant Examiners, and head of relationship management, Family Larsson-Rosenquist Foundation. “Breastfeeding is also linked to better nutrition, health and greater well-being for children and mothers, which directly contributes the United Nations’ 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.”

“Rush is a pioneer in mothers’ own milk feeding for preterm infants, and we are delighted to have supported them in the creation of this training programme,” says Göran Larsson, chairman of the board of the Family Larsson-Rosenquist Foundation. “It is our hope that by compiling this knowledge in a comprehensive training package and making it freely available to all health care professionals, MOM feeding will become common practice for every infant, and notably for those in low resource settings where there is potential for profound impact.”

Fully digitalised for global dissemination, the PROVIDE Training Compendium can be locally adapted with translations and subtitles. PROVIDE Training Compendium is intended for use by health professionals in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). All parts of this package are primarily for training purposes and for additional information to be given to parents by NICU health professionals. PROVIDE Training Compendium , provided by Rush University Medical Center, is not intended for use by parents or private persons without medical education and we do not raise any claim to completeness of the resources..

Health care professionals can access the PROVIDE Training Compendium at no cost via LactaHub – a resource for evidence-based breastfeeding intelligence.


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