BACKGROUND: Asymptomatic infants born to women with pregestational diabetes mellitus (PGDM) are usually admitted to the well baby nursery (WBN) while those who are symptomatic or in need of specialized care are admitted to the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU).
OBJECTIVE: To determine if changes in the NICU admission rate of asymptomatic infants born to women with PGDM during two different epochs affected breastfeeding (BF) initiation rates.
DESIGN/METHODS: Retrospective cohort investigation of 386 women with PGDM and their infants who delivered in 2008-11 (epoch 1) and 457 who delivered in 2013-16 (epoch 2) at a single institution.
RESULTS: NICU admissions: Comparison between epoch 1 and epoch 2 showed a decrease in the number of admissions from 243 (63%) to 175 (38%) *(chi square * p < 0.05). Respiratory distress (39 and 43%) and prematurity (28 and 23%) as admission diagnoses remained unchanged. Admissions for prevention of hypoglycemia declined (32% to 21%)*. At discharge from the NICU, exclusive BF (12 to 19%)* and any BF increased (41 to 55%)* while formula feeding (FF) decreased (59 to 45%)*. Admission to the NICU remained a strong predictor of BF initiation failure (a OR 0.6, 95% , CI 0.4–0.9, p 0.005). WBN admissions: Comparison between epoch 1 and epoch 2 showed an increase in the number of admissions from 143 (37%) to 282 (62%)*. The incidence of hypoglycemia (31% and 38%) and its correction with oral feedings (76% and 71%) remained unchanged. At discharge from the WBN, exclusive BF (15 to 27%)* and any BF (52 to 62%)* increased while FF decreased (48 to 38%)*. CONCLUSIONS: A decrease in the number of NICU admissions of asymptomatic infants born to women with PGDM is associated with improvements in BF initiation rates.
Decreasing NICU admissions of asymptomatic infants of women with pregestational diabetes mellitus improves breastfeeding initiation rates