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The Effect of Readmission for Phototherapy on Early Breast Milk Feeding

To estimate the effect of readmission for inpatient phototherapy on parent-reported exclusive and any breast milk feeding at 2-month well-child visits. We performed a retrospective cohort study using electronic health record data. From births at 16 Kaiser Permanente Northern California hospitals (2013-2017), we identified a cohort of infants ≥35 weeks’ gestation with outpatient total serum bilirubin levels ranging from 1 mg/dL below to 2.9 mg/dL above the American Academy of Pediatrics phototherapy threshold at <15 days of age. We compared breast milk feeding at 2-month well-child visits among those readmitted and not readmitted to the hospital for phototherapy, adjusting for bilirubin and other confounding variables. Approximately one-quarter (26.5%) of the cohort (n = 7729) were readmitted for phototherapy. Almost half (48.5%) of the infants who were not readmitted for phototherapy received exclusively breast milk at the 2-month visit compared with slightly fewer infants who were readmitted (42.9%). In both groups of infants, most (82.2% not readmitted and 81.2% readmitted) received any breast milk. Readmission for phototherapy was associated with a lower adjusted risk of exclusive breast milk feeding (adjusted risk ratio 0.90; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.84 to 0.96), corresponding to a marginal absolute reduction in exclusive breast milk feeding of 5.0% (95% CI, -7.9% to -2.1%). It was not associated with a reduction in any breast milk feeding (adjusted risk ratio, 1.00; 95% CI, 0.97 to 1.02). Infants readmitted for phototherapy were more likely to receive any formula, but no less likely to receive any breast milk at 2-month well-child visits.

Authors: Digitale, Jean C; Chang, Pearl W; Li, Sherian X; Kuzniewicz, Michael W; Newman, Thomas B

Hosp Pediatr. 2022 05 01;12(5):e146-e153.

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