January 20, 2020
Nutritional Composition of Breastmilk
Human milk is a dynamic fluid that differs from mother to mother, and is influenced by stage of lactation, time of delivery, degree of prematurity, and maternal age. For example, premature milk is higher in protein than term milk, and the protein level of breastmilk is higher in the first month than in the subsequent 11 months. Its composition changes from feeding to feeding and over the course of time from newborn to toddler1. For example, the fat and protein content of breastmilk increases after 12 months of lactation, while the carbohydrate content decreases. The caloric value of breastmilk increases significantly after 12 months, and continues to steadily increase over time. One study demonstrated an average caloric value of 65.76 +/- 7.92 calories/100ml in the first 12 months, and 106.5 +/-23.46 cal/100ml after 48 months2. There is no clinical evidence that insufficient calories in breastmilk would be an underlying etiology for lack of infant weight gain. The unique qualities of mother’s milk comprise the normal food for her infant, providing unparalleled protective and nutritive properties.
- Czosnykowska-Lukacka M, Krolak-Olejnik B, Orcyk-Pawilowicz M. Breast Milk Macronutrient Components in Prolonged Lactation Nutrients 2018, 10, 1893
- Harris-Haman P, Brown L, Massey S, Ramamoorthy S. Implications of Maple Syrup Urine Disease in Newborns Nursing for Womens Health June/July 2017 21(3) p. 198- 206