XL59: Dr. Kathleen Marinelli: Breastfeeding the Late Preterm and Early Term Infant

The late preterm infant is defined as being born between 34 0/7 to 36 6/7 weeks’ gestation, while the early term infant is born between 37 0/7 - 38 6/7 weeks’ gestation. The advantages of breastmilk feeding for premature infants are even greater than those for term infants; however, a large body of literature in the past 15 years documents the increased risk of morbidity, mortality, and long term sequalae of the late preterm infant often related to feeding problems, especially when there is inadequate support of breastfeeding. Early term infants can demonstrate some of these same characteristics, so deserve to be discussed and often managed similarly.

This discussion defines the characteristics of late preterm and early term infants, noting the effects on early postnatal adaptation and outlining ideal clinical management and morbidity prevention.

Dr. Kathleen Marinelli

Following this session, participants will be able to:

  • List the characteristics of late preterm and early term infants;
  • Describe and anticipate the common perinatal issues and postpartum problems particularly as they relate to breastfeeding;
  • Apply this knowledge to appropriate discharge planning and anticipatory follow-up with these infants and their families.
1 L CERPs / 1 Lactation Specific Hours
Access period:
One week
Lecture recorded:

Dr Marinelli is a Clinical Professor of Pediatrics at the University of Connecticut School of Medicine and has served as a neonatologist, and member of the Human Milk Research Center at Connecticut Children’s Medical Center, Hartford, CT, USA. She graduated from Cornell University and Cornell University School of Medicine and was a pediatric intern, resident, nephrology fellow, and neonatology fellow at Children’s National Medical Center, George Washington University, Washington DC.

She served 12 years on the Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine Board of Directors and many as chair of its Protocol committee, is Past-Chair of the United States Breastfeeding Committee, Chaired the Baby-Friendly Hospital USA NICU Initiative, serves on the Baby-Friendly USA Medical Advisory Committee, and served on the International Lactation Consultant Association's Board of Directors.

She has worked in donor milk banking as a medical director of two HMBANA milk banks for many years, and as Associate Editor of the Journal of Human Lactation from 2016-2023. She has authored many chapters, research papers, and ABM protocols. Among her research interests are breastfeeding and human milk in the NICU, Baby-Friendly and Baby-Friendly NICU, donor milk and milk banking, infant and young child feeding in emergencies, and educating medical professionals. She has lectured extensively around the world. Her proudest achievements are her four accomplished children, ages 27 to 37.