Nutritional Composition of
Breast Milk
Shannon Black
Colleen Poling
Human Milk Facts
Isotonic Solution

milk and plasma are of similar ion concentration
Designed to protect infants chronic childhood
diseases.

T-lymphocytes, B-lymphocytes, neutrophils,
macrophages and epithelial cells aid in protection
Two forms of breast milk are colostrum and
mature milk.
Lactogenesis
Lactogenesis is the production of human
milk.

Three phases:

Lactogenesis I, II, III
Colostrum in Human Milk
Thick, yellow fluid
Produced during lactogenesis II (2-3 days
after birth)
Provides 58-70 cal/100 ml
High in protein, electrolytes, sodium,
potassium, chloride and vitamin A
Low in fat and carbohydrate
Lactobacillus bifidus factor
Mature Human Milk
Thin and watery texture
Forms during lactogenesis III
Provides 2,730-2,940 cal/L
High in linoleic acid and cholesterol content for brain
development
High in fat content and lactose
Docosahexaenoic acids (DHA)
 Long chain omega-3 fatty acids.
 Used for synthesis of brain tissues, central nervous
system and eyes
DHA and cholesterol not found in human milk
substitutes
Mature Human Milk- PRO
Protein
 Low content
 Dependent on infant’s age
 Antiviral and antimicrobial effects
 Casein
 Major protein in mature milk
 Casein, calcium phosphate, and other ions such
as magnesium and citrate is what makes milk
appear white.
Mature Human Milk- CHO
Lactose
 Disaccharide of galactose and glucose.
 Dominant carbohydrate in human milk.
 Enhances calcium absorption.
Other carbohydrates
 Monosaccharides
 Glucose
 Polysaccharides
 Contribute calories
 Stimulate the growth of bifidus bacteria in the gut
 Inhibit the growth of E. coli and other bacteria
Specific Nutrients in Human Milk
Human Milk Composition (per liter)
Milk Component
Lactose (g)
Total protein (g)
Fat%
Calories
Retinol (mg)
Caretenoids (mg)
Riboflavin (ug)
Niacin (mg)
Vitamin B6 (mg)
Pantothenic acid (mg)
Biotin (ug)
Folate (ug)
Vitamin B12 (ug)
Vitamin C (mg)
Vitamin D (microgram)
Vitamin E (mg)
Vitamin K (microgram)
Calcium (mg)
Phosphorus (mg)
Magnesium (mg)
Copper (mg)
Iron (mg)
Zinc (mg)
Early Milk
20-30
16
2
0
2
2
0
0.5
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
2-12
2-8
250
120-160
30-35
0.5-0.8
0.5-1.0
8-12
Mature Milk
67
9
3.5
2730-2940
0.3-0.6
0.3-0.6
400-600
1.8-6.0
0.9-0.31
2-2.5
5-9
80-140
.5-1.0
100
0.33
3-8
2-3
200-500
120-140
30-35
0.2-0.4
0.3-0.9
1-3
Change in Milk Composition
During Feeding
Foremilk



Released first
Higher in carbohydrate
Lower in fat
Hindmilk




Resembles cream
Higher in fat
Lower in carbohydrate
Released 10-20 minutes into the feeding
Milk Supply and Demand
First month postpartum

About 2.5 cups per day of milk is produced
4-5 months postpartum

About 3 cups produced per day
Variations in milk production


1.8-5 cups per day for women nursing one infant
Infant weight, caloric density of milk and infant’s age
contributes infant’s demand for milk.
Related Hormones
Oxytocin


This hormone causes
the alveoli to contract
and lets the milk flow.
This is called the let
down reflex
Prolactin

This hormone uses the
alveoli to take the
nutrients from the
bloodstream and make
it into milk.
http://www.breastfeedingpartners.org/about
_breastfeeding/aagstobaby.html
Effects on breast milk composition
Alcohol
Nicotine
Caffeine
Marijuana and other drug abuse
Environmental Exposures
Genes
Alcohol
The alcohol transfers to the breast milk.
If the mother consumes a lot of alcohol the
baby will be directly affected.
Slows let down reflex
Not recommended
Nicotine
The nicotine in the milk is 1.5-3 times
higher than in the blood.
10-20 cigarettes per day=.4-.5 mg of
nicotine/L in blood
No evidence of a health risk to the infant.
Over time the infant could metabolize it in
the liver and emit nicotine into kidneys
Not recommended
Caffeine
A cup of coffee results in only low levels in
the breast milk.
It is ok to drink in moderation
Marijuana and other drug abuse
Marijuana, Amphetamines, cocaine, heroin and
phencyclidine hydrochloride (PCP).
Directly affect the infant directly and negatively.
Also very harmful for mother
Harmful because the contents of these substances
are not uniform

Each drug may include different amounts of bacteria,
heavy metals, pesticides.
Environmental Exposures
Not routinely checked for environmental
exposures.
Being exposed to chemicals will most likely
absorb and become part of the breast milk.
Benefits outweigh the exposures.
Avoid eating swordfish, king mackerel, rile fish,
and shark from freshwaters that are contaminated,
(reported by health agencies).
Avoid exposure to paints, non-water based glues,
furniture strippers, nail polish and gas fumes.
Genes
Different variations of Apolipoproteins can
effect the amount of fat absorbed into the
bloodstream and fat metabolism.
These different variants effect the breast
milk composition
ApoA4: variants 347S and 347T (fat
absorption)
ApoE: variant E4 (fat metabolism)
Benefits
Breast fed babies vs. formula fed babies
Positive health affects on mother
Weight loss
 Delays menstruation



Lower iron loss
Decreasing risk of breast cancer

Butyric Acid
Cost and convenience
Class Discussion
What are the two forms of human milk?
What form of milk is DHA most prevalent and
what is its function?
What is the main form of CHO in human milk and
what is its function?
What are the two main hormones involved with
human milk production?
What are some effects on human milk
composition?
Summary
Lactogenesis
Macronutrients of Colostrum
Macronutrients of Human Milk
Two major hormones and function
Effects on human milk composition
Benefits of breast feeding
References
http://www.news-medical.net/?id=10194
http://jds.fass.org/cgi/reprint/82/6/1339.pdf
Brown, J. E. (2005). Nutrition Through the
Life Cycle. Belmont, California: Thompson
Learning, Inc..
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Nutritional Composition of Breast Milk