How Much Human Milk Do Infants Consume? Data from 12 Countries Using a Standardized Stable Isotope Methodology

Teresa H. M. da Costa*, Hinke Haisma, Jonathan C. K. Wells, Adrian P. Mander, Roger G. Whitehead, Leslie J. C. Bluck

*Corresponding author for this work

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The WHO has developed new growth curves based on breast-fed infants Recommendations for energy intake have been adopted based on measurements of total energy expenditure Data on human milk (HM) intake are needed to estimate the energy intake from this food source However objective HM data from around the world have not been available because these measurements are difficult to obtain Stable isotope methods have been developed to provide objective measurements over a 14-d period A pooled analysis of 1115 data points of HM intake obtained using the dose to the mother deuterium oxide turnover method was undertaken in infants aged 0-24 mo from 12 countries across 5 continents A hierarchical model was needed to estimate mean HM intake and its variance within and between countries given the complexity of the data The overall mean HM intake was 0 78 (95% Cl = 0 72 0 84) kg/d and the age-specific estimates indicated that intake increased over the first 3-4 mo and remained above 0 80 kg/d until 6-7 mo The variability of intake increased in late infancy Boys consumed 005 kg/d more than girls (P <0 01) HM intake was strongly inversely associated with non-HM water intake [r = 0 448 (95% Cl 0 511 to 0 385) P <0 0001] These objective isotope values of HM intake improve our understanding of the magnitude and variability of HM intake within and across populations and help to estimate nutrient intakes in breast-fed infants J Nutr 140 2227-2232 2010

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2227-2232
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Nutrition
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - Dec-2010



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