The present study was designed to compare milk production and hormone responses (prolactin [PRL], oxytocin [OT]) and to determine associations of hormone levels with milk production in mothers of preterm (PT) and term (TM) infants during the first 6 weeks postpartum. Mothers of PT infants (n = 95) were all pump dependent; mothers of TM infants (n = 98) were all feeding their infant at breast. Mothers of nonnursing PT infants produced less milk over time compared to mothers of TM infants. A higher proportion of PT mothers had lower basal PRL levels compared with TM mothers. PRL and frequency of breast stimulation combined positively influenced milk production in PT mothers. OT levels were higher in PT versus TM mothers, but OT was not related to milk production. Further study is warranted regarding interventions to enhance milk production, particularly in pump-dependent mothers of PT infants.
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