Preterm human milk composition: A systematic literature review

Catherine Boyce, Mistral Watson, Grace Lazidis, Sarah Reeve, K. Dods, Karen Simmer, G. McLeod

    Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

    78 Citations (Scopus)


    © The Authors 2016.There are wide variations in the macronutrient values adopted by neonatal intensive care units and industry to fortify milk in efforts to achieve recommended intakes for preterm infants. Contributing to this is the variation in macronutrient composition of preterm milk between and within mothers and the variable quality of milk analyses used to determine the macronutrient content of milk. We conducted a systematic review of the literature using articles published in English between 1959 and 2013 that reported the concentrations of one or more macronutrients or energy content in human preterm milk, sampled over a representative 24-h period. Searched medical databases included Ovid Medline, Scopus, CINAHL and the Cochrane Library. Results are presented as mean values and ranges for each macronutrient during weeks 1-8 of lactation, and preferred mean values (g/100 ml) for colostrum (week 1) and mature milk (weeks 2-8; protein: 1·27, fat: 3·46, lactose: 6·15 and carbohydrate: 7·34), using data from studies employing the highest-quality analyses. Industry-directed fortification practices using these mean values fail to meet protein targets for infants weighing
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1033-1045
    Number of pages13
    JournalBritish Journal of Nutrition
    Issue number6
    Publication statusPublished - 28 Sept 2016


    Dive into the research topics of 'Preterm human milk composition: A systematic literature review'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this