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Am J Clin Nutr. 1991 Jul;54(1):69-80.

Studies in human lactation: milk composition and daily secretion rates of macronutrients in the first year of lactation.

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  • 1Department of Physiology, University of Colorado School of Medicine, Denver 80262.


Time-dependent changes in milk composition and secretion from pregnancy through greater than or equal to 6 mo of exclusive breast-feeding were studied in 13 multiparous women. Concentrations and secretion rates of lipid, lactose, protein, sodium, chloride, potassium, total calcium, ionized calcium, magnesium, glucose, citrate, inorganic phosphate, creatinine, and urea and pH were analyzed longitudinally from day 6 until weaning commenced. The composition of the antepartum secretion was related to the permeability of the junctional complexes between mammary cells. Significant increases in lactose, glucose, pH, and ionized calcium and significant decreases in protein, sodium, potassium, chloride, and calcium concentrations were observed between 1 and 6 mo. Significant differences among individuals, which persisted through lactation, were observed for the concentrations of sodium, potassium, chloride, and inorganic phosphate. The amount of lactose, ionized calcium, and magnesium transferred to the infant was also characteristic of each mother-infant pair. Our data imply that lactation performance is determined in the first month postpartum.

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