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Variation in fat, lactose and protein in human milk over 24h and throughout the first year of lactation

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  09 March 2007

Leon R. Mitoulas*
Affiliation:
Departments of Biochemistry, The University of Western Australia, 35 Stirling Highway, Crawley WA 6009, Australia
Jacqueline C. Kent
Affiliation:
Departments of Biochemistry, The University of Western Australia, 35 Stirling Highway, Crawley WA 6009, Australia
David B. Cox
Affiliation:
Departments of Biochemistry, The University of Western Australia, 35 Stirling Highway, Crawley WA 6009, Australia
Robyn A. Owens
Affiliation:
Department of Computer Science, The University of Western Australia, 35 Stirling Highway, Crawley WA 6009, Australia
Jillian L. Sherriff
Affiliation:
School of Public Health, Curtin University, GPO Box U1987, Perth WA 6845, Australia
Peter E. Hartmann
Affiliation:
Departments of Biochemistry, The University of Western Australia, 35 Stirling Highway, Crawley WA 6009, Australia
*
*Corresponding author:Leon R. Mitoulas, fax +61 8 9380 1148, email Leon.Mitoulas@uwa.edu.au
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Abstract

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Fat in human milk is extremely variable and can represent up to 50 % of infant energy intake. To accurately determine milk composition and infant intake at 1 (n 17), 2 (n 17), 4 (n 17), 6 (n 15), 9 (n 6) and 12 (n 5) months of lactation, samples of fore- and hind-milk were collected from each breast at each feed over 24 h periods from an initial group of seventeen women. The content of fat in milk varied over 24 h, with a mean CV of 47·6 (SE 2·1) % (N 76) AND 46·7 (se 1·7) % (n 76) for left and right breasts respectively. The 24 h amounts of fat, lactose and protein in milk differed between women (P=0·0001), but were consistent between left and right breasts. Daily milk production differed between breasts (P=0·0001) and women (P=0·0001). Accordingly, amounts of fat (P=0·0008), lactose (P=0·0385) and protein (P=0·0173) delivered to the infant over 24 h also differed between breasts and women (P=0·0001). The energy content of milk and the amount of energy delivered to the infant over 24 h were the same between breasts, but differed between women (P=0·0001). The growth rate of a group of only six infants in the present study was not related to either the concentrations or amounts of fat, lactose, protein and energy in milk over the first 6 months of life. These results show the individuality of milk composition and suggest that only a rigorous sampling routine that takes into account all levels of variation will allow the accurate determination of infant intake of fat, lactose, protein and energy.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
Copyright © The Nutrition Society 2002

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