Short-term variations in breastmilk composition: associations with feeding patterns and gastric emptying in term infants

Sadaf Khan

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

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Abstract

[Truncated] Breastmilk is the ideal form of nutrition for the normal growth and development of newborn babies. Breastfed infants vary greatly in their feeding frequency and in the volume of milk taken at each breastfeed throughout the day. This variation suggests that a self‐regulatory mechanism determines milk intake from feed to feed in breastfed infants. Milk consumption by breastfed infants can be affected by either maternal (e.g. short‐term variation in milk composition) or infant factors (e.g. gastric emptying rates) or a combination of both.

Little research has been undertaken on gastric emptying of breastfed infants, it is likely that variation in the composition and volume of breastmilk alters the rate of gastric emptying. Mostly studies have used formula milk to investigate the effect of nutrient content on gastric emptying in infants and report that factors such as high levels of fat, carbohydrate and protein, together with the high energy density of formula resulted in delayed gastric emptying. Therefore, it is important to investigate whether the same relationships occur with breastmilk, as this would help in understanding the regulation of energy intake in breastfed infants.

This project aims to characterize the short‐term variations in milk composition and to establish the relationship between maternal (breastmilk composition, particularly whey and casein proteins) and infant factors (breast feeding patterns and gastric emptying).

Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Publication statusUnpublished - 2012

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