Milk trial aims to boost infant health

by MedicMall Admin


A new trial is investigating if donated human milk can help improve breastfeeding rates and counteract health problems affecting disadvantaged groups in Australia.

Up to 40 percent of term-born babies receive cow’s milk formula in the first week of life, but pasteurised donor human milk is not an option.

This is due to a lack of robust research evidence to support its use in infants born after 32 weeks’ gestation. 

The new study aims to evaluate short-term supplementation of pasteurised donor human milk as a bridge to breastfeeding for term-born infants. 

"This Australian-first research will answer questions about how donor milk should be used for term infants in Australia," said trial co-leader, Associate Professor Jennifer Koplin of the University of Queensland.

The study is a collaboration between the Ramsay Hospital Research Foundation (RHRF) – which provided a grant of $720,000 – Australian Red Cross Lifeblood, University of Queensland, and Murdoch Children’s Research Institute (MCRI).

The partnership aims to drive research dedicated to significantly improving outcomes for women and babies, especially those in groups disproportionately affected by issues including infant morbidity and mortality, poorer metabolic health, and maternal breast cancer.  

RHRF CEO Nicola Ware said the study could potentially reshape nutritional protocols for term-born infants at Ramsay, Australia’s largest private hospitals operator. 

"If the proposed program of research demonstrates a benefit for donor human milk, this intervention could be rapidly implemented for the benefit of patients in Ramsay hospitals," Ms Ware said. 

"This will ultimately improve the experience of patients and families who give birth at Ramsay."

Study co-leader Dr Vanessa Clifford of MCRI said the milk used in the trial would come from donations from mothers in Sydney, Brisbane, and Adelaide.

"This project allows us to continue listening and responding to patients and staff and keeping at the forefront of healthcare delivery," she said. 

To learn more, or become a donor, please visit the Australian Red Cross Lifeblood Milk website.


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