Human Milk in the NICU

Every Drop Counts...Watch the video and learn the importance of human milk in the NICU.

Click to watch the Every Drop Counts video

They're in your hands.  We're here to help. 

Medela understands the importance of human milk in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.  We know that the content of human milk can substantially improve outcomes for critically compromised and premature infants.  

Our Goal

Medela supports mothers and health care professionals to successfully provide human milk to all newborns for as long as possible.  We are committed to you and the work you do each day because we share the same goals -- improving outcomes and improving the overall health of your patients.  To help meet our goal, Medela is proud to announce its new Medical Advisory Board.  These national experts in neonatology, nutrition, human milk research and lactation, will provide invaluable expertise.

Human Milk in the NICU
The practices that you promote today have life-long implications that extend far beyond discharge.  We are here to help because by promoting and providing human milk to babies in the NICU, we know that research demonstrates:

  • Length of stay was reduced from an average of 88 days to 73 days for babies fed more than 50 ml/kg day of breastmilk versus preterm formula.
  • Days of oxygen therapy was significantly reduced from 33 days for infants fed preterm formula to only 19 days for infants fed fortified human milk.
  • Late onset sepsis was reduced from 22% for infants fed preterm formula to only 19% for infants fed fortified human milk.*

In addition we know that by feeding human milk you can significantly reduce the risk of:
          • Necrotizing Entercolitis by up to 86%.
          • Ear infections by up to 50%.
          • Serious respiratory tract infections by 72%. 
          • Gastroenteritis by more than 50%. 
          • Re-admission of infant by 60%.

Research also shows that the lack of human milk may have serious consequences.  Literature states that infants that are exclusively fed human milk are 6-7 times less likely to develop necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC - a condition associated with a high mortality rate in the NICU).   Studies also indicate that infants who are partially fed human milk and given formula supplementation are 3 times less likely to develop NEC than babies exclusively fed formula. This translates into a 66% reduction in the risk of developing NEC. 

Our Commitment 
Medela is committed to helping NICU professionals help their patients achieve these critical health benefits through the latest in research and education as well as a portfolio of products including diagnostic equipment to assist in weight and nutrition management.  Medela's products support mother and baby from birth to discharge and beyond.  Our commitment to your patients, their families and you is why the majority of NICUs across the country have chosen Medela products to meet their needs.

 Learn more about Medela's Commitment in the NICU:
          • NICU Education
          • The Value of Human Milk
          • Human Milk Science and Research
          • Symphony® Preemie+™ Card


 *Schanler, R.J.,;"Feeding Strategies for Premature Infants:  Beneficial Outcomes of Feeding Fortified Human Milk Versus Preterm Formula."  Pediatrics. Vol. 103, No.6 June 1999.