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Fat content of breast milk - is it variable?

🍼🥑Do MACROnutrients vary among lactating mothers?

Of all the nutrients to discuss, fat is the macronutrient that varies THE MOST among lactating mothers. In fact, it can vary anywhere from less than 20g fat per litre to more than 50g fat per litre between moms!

There are three main sources of fat in breast milk:

1️⃣maternal fat stores

2️⃣fat consumed via maternal daily intake

3️⃣unique fatty acids that are exclusively synthesized in the mammary glands of the breast.

Because fat is very nutrient dense, it is crucial for baby’s brain development & aids in the absorption of the fat soluble vitamins A, E, D & K.

A randomized crossover study conducted on lactating women assessed the fat content of breast milk after 14 days of following either a high fat (85g/day) or low fat (48g/day) maternal diet. The results showed that the mothers consuming a higher fat diet had a 28% increase in the fat content of their breast milk. 🤯

Eating plenty of healthy fats not only has beneficial impacts for your baby, but it also helps to support your body’s recovery from pregnancy and improves your postpartum health! This is why many women can gain weight while breastfeeding - it is physiologically normal.

🤱🏻Since fat is the biggest contributor to total milk energy (calories) for your baby, a higher fat maternal diet might positively impact the caloric density of breast milk. It was previously assumed that breast milk fat accounts for 20 calories per ounce, but recent research demonstrated that an individuals nutrition can account for a 34% variability in total breast milk fat content.

Chat with your healthcare team about strategies to support your diet during preconception, pregnancy and the postpartum period - we love talking about alllll those healthy fats. 😉👍🏼

[ISBN 0-309-04391-3]

[doi: 10.1177/0890334416672200]



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