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  1. O'Connor, Deborah L. PhD, RD
  2. Merko, Susan BASc, RD
  3. Brennan, Joan BASc, RD


Most very low birth weight (<1500 g at birth) infants are growth restricted at hospital discharge and are at high risk of rehospitalization and poor cognitive and motor development. This article provides an overview of the advantages of feeding human milk to the VLBW infant and the evidence indicating that human milk feeding alone often does not meet the nutritional requirements of many VLBW infants, both during initial hospitalization and after hospital discharge. The effect of pumping and fortifying human milk on the duration of breast-feeding is reviewed as is the evidence linking early nutrition and long-term development. Finally, a discussion of some strategies to increase the energy and nutrient intake of human milk-fed infants after hospital discharge is provided.