Human milk is infant food, but it also has medical benefits for sick, hospitalized babies, according to a series of articles published in the August issue of Advances in Neonatal Care.
The immunological and anti-inflammatory properties of human milk are especially important for the critically ill infants in our intensive care units, Diane L. Spatz, RN-BC, PhD, FAAN, nurse researcher and director of the lactation program at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, said in a news release. Spatz was the invited guest editor of the August issue of the journal, published by the National Association of Neonatal Nurses.
Multiple public health and professional medical associations from the World Health Organization to the American Academy of Pediatrics have endorsed the widespread advantages of human milk and breast-feeding for all infants, according to the release.
In the issue of Advances in Neonatal Care, Spatz and her nurse colleagues from CHOP and other institutions cover a variety of topics on the provision of human milk in the NICU, including original research articles, ethical rationales for the provision of human milk, and evidence-based methods for implementing particular programs.
Supporting the use of human milk is one of the most effective evidence-based strategies to ensure an infants safe journey through the NICU and promote optimal health and developmental outcomes for these children, Spatz said in the release.
In addition to her CHOP position, Spatz holds a joint appointment as a professor of perinatal nursing and the Helen M. Shearer Professor of Nutrition at the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing in Philadelphia.