Building on the evidence that mothers’ own milk (MOM) feeding for preterm and very low birthweight infants hospitalised in neonatal intensive care units (NICUs) reduces the risk of many complications of prematurity and their associated costs, Rush University Medical Center, supported by the Family Larsson-Rosenquist Foundation (FLRF), embarked on a project to expand the feeding of MOM to other NICUs.
“While there is a substantial body of research showing that a mother’s own is milk is the most effective option for greatly improving the health of hospitalised, very low birthweight infants, what is missing is the ‘how to’ take the evidence into effective clinical practices, protocols, information sheets and other strategies to actually increase the use of MOM in this specialised environment." – Paula P. Meier, PhD, RN, Director of Lactation Services, Neonatal Intensive Care Unit and Professor of Pediatrics and Nursing at Rush University Medical Center
The 13-month project, to which FLRF donated approximately USD 400,000, has three primary objectives:
1. Update and expand existing hard-copy components of the Rush Mothers’ Milk Club Toolkit with new information and photos on a range of specific topics. These educational materials will serve to standardise evidence-based NICU lactation care and ensure families receive accurate information.
2. Create electronic versions of all hard-copy materials.
3. Create NICU-specific, targeted teaching videos that can be used in ‘train the trainer’ applications and made available through social media platforms.
The partners hope that by making it easier to access and disseminate the educational materials, there will be a higher priority for the use of MOM feeding for premature and other NICU infants. Furthermore, as the evidence-based toolkit and teaching videos can be translated, culturally adapted and disseminated in different countries, the project has the potential to help remove barriers to MOM feeding for infants hospitalised in NICUs globally.
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