The proposed study will investigate if milk immunobiology and volume are associated with enteral health, skin immunity and clinical outcomes in very preterm infants (750 to 1500 gm). Human milk may play a moderating role in the multiple risks these vulnerable infants face, yet the total volume of human milk preterm infants receive is extremely variable. In the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) where the study will be performed, only 40% of infants are discharged receiving any human milk at all, and this is not atypical. Little is known about the essential components of preterm mother’s milk and whether there may be some components that are critically involved in the most optimal infant outcomes.
Public Health Relevance
This will be the first careful study that will provide a computation of human milk factors and volumes across a NICU stay and a measurement of relationships to infant health, biomarkers and clinical outcomes. It will provide effect sizes for important relationships about which we currently know so little.