Human milk feeding is associated with several short and long term beneficial effects for premature and term infants and is recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics. When medical complications interfere with at-breast feedings mothers must rely on milk expression to establish an abundant milk supply and this is often challenging. The care and support provided to these mothers has improved over the years but how do mothers’ perceive this support and what do mothers’ perceive as the barriers to and supports for milk expression?
Research conducted with mothers of very low birth weight infants illuminates for clinicians the challenges experienced by pump dependent mothers as they struggle with medical complications, maternal-infant separation, and establishment of an adequate milk supply. These research findings can guide hospital policies and procedures for providing optimal care to mothers who are pump dependent.
1. Identify lactation counseling and support components which minimize maternal anxiety after preterm delivery.
2. Discuss the maternal benefits of milk expression.
3. Define the disparities in maternal milk expression and infant feeding.
4. Examine the lived experiences of pump dependent mothers of very low birth weight infants and the perceived barriers to and supports for milk expression.