Responses of Pre-term Infants to the Odour of Mother’s Milk
Fourteen premature infants (born at 30–33 weeks gestational age) were tested for their responses to the odours of different categories of human breast milk that are commonly available in intensive care nurseries: viz. their own mother’s fresh and frozen milk, and frozen / pasteurized donor milk. Freezing reduced, but did not eliminate the stimulating effect of breast milk odour. The pattern of results obtained at 36 weeks post-conceptual age suggests that preterm infants may recognize the odour of their own mother’s milk, and/or pasteurisation reduces the salience of milk odour. Breast milk odour elicits heightened sucking activity, which could have a positive effect on the development of breastfeeding behaviour.
KeywordsBreast Milk Human Breast Milk Odour Stimulus Donor Milk Sucking Rate
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