The GIFT Trial

Giving donor milk instead of infant formula in moderate-late preterm infants
The GIFT Trial
Project Status: Commencing
Project administered by: University of Adelaide

Babies born 4 to 6 weeks early (moderate-late preterm) often have trouble feeding. Most will need extra nutrition while breastfeeding is established.

Infant formula is regularly used but is often not well tolerated, increasing feeding problems and days spent in hospital.

Pasteurised donor human milk (donor milk) may be a better option but has not been studied in these infants. The GIFT trial will examine the health and economic impacts of providing donor milk versus formula, as a supplement to maternal breast milk, in moderate-late preterm infants. Breastfeeding is encouraged and supported in both groups.

The NHMRC funded study looks to discover whether giving donor milk instead of formula, when there is not enough mother’s own milk available, reduces the time it takes for babies to reach full milk feeds, reduces episodes of feed intolerance and helps the transition to being fed at the breast. The trial will also measure if donor milk affects the number of days babies stay in hospital and their overall growth and development.

At many Australian hospitals, donor milk is given to babies born very early (before 32 weeks of pregnancy), but we do not know if donor milk will be beneficial for babies born just a few weeks early (32-36 weeks). This trial is enrolling babies born between 32 and 36 weeks gestation during their admission to the neonatal unit at participating hospitals.

If you would like more information, please email


Women's and Children's Health Network, Australian Red Cross Lifeblood, Flinders University, Royal Brisbane and Women's Hospital

This project is funded by the National Health and Medical Research Council