Title : Low cost breast pump hire in the neonatal intensive care unit: An evaluation of womens experiences and infant feeding outcomes at hospital discharge
Background: Premature infants are at increased risk for mortality and long-term comorbidities. Mother’s own breast milk is considered the nutritional ‘gold standard’ for high-risk infants, due to the immediate, short, and long-term benefits.
Low birth-weight infants may not exhibit the physiological maturity to feed at the breast directly for weeks or months after birth, therefore mothers are reliant on the need to express their breast milk for their infant. Mothers are encouraged to express their milk 8-12 times per day (24hr period) to establish and maintain their milk supply. The most efficient way to achieve this long-term breast expression is with a hospital grade double electric breast pump.
To respond to women’s need for low cost breast pump hire, hospital grade double electric breast pumps were made available for families to hire at a significantly reduced cost. To be eligible, women needed to have given birth to an infant less than 32 weeks and/ or less than 1500gm. The aim of this study was to determine women’s satisfaction of using the low-cost breast pump hire program and their breastfeeding outcomes following discharge.
Methods: A prospective telephone survey was undertaken to evaluate women’s experiences and satisfaction of using the low-cost breast pump hire program. A retrospective audit was undertaken to evaluate infant feeding outcomes at hospital discharge of women involved in the program.
Results: The majority of women surveyed were extremely satisfied with the low-cost breast pump hire program. All infants of mothers who had hired a low-cost breast pump received breast milk during their admission and most were receiving some breast milk at hospital discharge. There were no breast pump losses or damages and all but one woman paid their hire fees.
Conclusion: The implementation of a low cost breast pump hire service supported the provision of equitable care, increasing women’s ability to access a double electric hospital grade breast pump and provide expressed breast milk for their infant.