Format

Send to

Choose Destination
Pediatr Res. 2019 Mar 11. doi: 10.1038/s41390-019-0368-x. [Epub ahead of print]

Human milk as "chrononutrition": implications for child health and development.

Author information

1
Department of Psychology, University of California, Merced, CA, USA. jhahn-holbrook@ucmerced.edu.
2
Health Sciences Research Institute, University of California, Merced, CA, USA. jhahn-holbrook@ucmerced.edu.
3
Center for Excellence in Biopsychosocial Approaches to Health, Chapman University, Orange, CA, USA. jhahn-holbrook@ucmerced.edu.
4
Department of Psychology, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA, USA.
5
Department of Neonatology, Children's Hospital of Orange County, Orange, CA, USA.
6
Department of Pediatrics, University of California, Irvine, CA, USA.
7
Clinical Nutrition and Lactation Services, Children's Hospital of Orange County, Orange, CA, USA.
8
Center for Excellence in Biopsychosocial Approaches to Health, Chapman University, Orange, CA, USA.

Abstract

Human biology follows recurring daily rhythms that are governed by circadian cues in the environment. Here we show that human milk is a powerful form of "chrononutrition," formulated to communicate time-of-day information to infants. However, 85% of breastfed infants in the US consume some milk that does not come directly from the breast but is pumped and stored in advance of feeding. Expressed milk is not necessarily circadian-matched (e.g., an infant might drink breastmilk pumped in the evening on the following morning). Ingesting mistimed milk may disrupt infants' developing circadian rhythms, potentially contributing to sleep problems and decreased physiological attunement with their mothers and environments. Dysregulated circadian biology may compromise infant health and development. Despite wide-ranging public health implications, the timing of milk delivery has received little empirical study, and no major pediatric or public health organization has issued recommendations regarding the circadian-matching of milk. However, potential adverse developmental and health consequences could be ameliorated by simple, low-cost interventions to label and circadian-match stored milk. The current paper reviews evidence for human milk as chrononutrition and makes recommendations for future research, practice, and policy.

PMID:
30858473
DOI:
10.1038/s41390-019-0368-x

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Nature Publishing Group
Loading ...
Support Center