Incidence and correlates of breast milk feeding in hospitalized preterm infants

Kimberly Andrews Espy, Theresa E. Senn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

40 Scopus citations


The majority of epidemiological studies of breast feeding have been conducted in healthy, fullterm infant samples. Little is known about the incidence and correlates of breast milk feeding in preterm infants, particularly in those born outside of metropolitan areas. Therefore, hospital medical charts of 151 consecutively admitted preterm infants (≤34 weeks gestational age), in the US, were reviewed and daily feeding, maternal demographic, pregnancy, and infant medical condition information was recorded. About half of the preterm infant sample was fed breast milk, receiving at least one breast milk feeding per day for 44% of their hospital stay. Although maternal demographic variables were important predictors of breast milk feeding, perinatal medical condition of the infant played a unique role in feeding practices in preterm infants. Specific interventions could be targeted to families with preterm infants to modestly increase population breast feeding rates.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1421-1428
Number of pages8
JournalSocial Science and Medicine
Issue number8
StatePublished - Oct 2003
Externally publishedYes


  • Breast feeding
  • Incidence
  • Preterm infant
  • USA

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • History and Philosophy of Science


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