On World Breastfeeding Day, researchers from the University of Adelaide and South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute will receive over $2.2 million to study the benefits of donor milk for pre-term babies.
They are one of 28 research teams from across Australia to share in almost $73 million from the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC).
The researchers will compare the health and economic impacts of using pasteurised donor human milk (donor milk) versus infant formula as a supplementary source of nutrition for pre-term babies, when maternal breast milk is not available or in short supply.
Led by Associate Professor Rumbold, the project team will partner with Australian Red Cross Lifeblood to conduct a randomised controlled trial at five sites in three states.
The GIFT Trial aims to determine whether the use of donor milk helps babies get home sooner, with fewer feeding-related complications, benefitting infants, their families and the wider health system.
This research funding is in addition to $6 million announced in the 2023-24 Budget for continued funding of donor breast milk bank services.
The grants announced today will fund 28 research projects through NHMRC’s Clinical Trials and Cohort Studies grant scheme. A full list of projects funded is attached.
Quotes attributable to Minister Butler:
“Having a baby born before its due date can often be a difficult experience for families, particularly when it comes to complications with breastfeeding.
“This research will help provide evidence for the scientific community, along with some hope and comfort for new parents of pre-term babies across Australia.
“Our health and medical researchers are addressing a range of critical health issues in our community today, from preventing vaping, to male infertility and nutrition for premature babies.
“These are examples of the vital role Australian researchers play in improving the health of our community, across the country and at all stages of life.”
Quotes attributable to NHMRC Acting CEO Ms Prue Torrance:
“Clinical trials and cohort studies are essential for producing the evidence we need to make advances in health and healthcare.
“The research grants announced today will lead to better clinical care, health services and health policy in the years to come.”