Pooling expressed breastmilk to provide a consistent feeding composition for premature infants

Lisa M. Stellwagen, Yvonne E. Vaucher, Christina S. Chan, Taylor D. Montminy, Jae H. Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Objective: We hypothesized that pooling a mother's expressed breastmilk for 24 hours compared with individual pump session collection of milk would provide a more consistent caloric product without increasing bacterial contamination. Study Design: We investigated 24-hour pooled breastmilk collection by enrolling 19 mothers who were expressing milk for their infants. Mothers followed a standardized milk collection protocol for 4 study days: daily milk was pooled in a sterile 1-L bottle on Day 1, and on Day 2 milk was aliquoted for each pump session into a sterile 120-mL container. The next week the order of collection was reversed. Milk samples were plated, incubated, and evaluated for bacteria colonization. Milk samples were analyzed for protein, fat, and carbohydrate content. Results: There was inherently less variability in the caloric and nutrient content of pooled milk compared with individual samples, in which caloric density varied by as much as 29%. Mother's milk had highly variable bacterial counts ranging from 0 to greater than 100,000 colonies/mL. High bacteria counts (>100,000 colonies/mL) occurred in 14.7% (31 of 211) of individual samples compared with 8.6% (three of 35) of pooled samples (p=0.39). Conclusions: Twenty-four-hour pooling of human milk reduces nutrient and caloric variability without increasing bacterial counts.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)205-209
Number of pages5
JournalBreastfeeding Medicine
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 1 2013

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics
  • Health Policy
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology
  • Maternity and Midwifery


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