Experts discuss link between breast milk components, circadian variation, and infant health

The fat content and levels of several key nutrients and hormones in breast milk vary with the mother's circadian rhythm, which may have implications for the timing of breastfeeding and feeding of expressed milk, especially for high-risk infants. The breast milk components that demonstrate circadian variation and how this may impact infant health are discussed in an article published in Breastfeeding Medicine, the official journal of the Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine, published by Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., publishers. The article is available free on the Breastfeeding Medicine website.

Robert D. White, MD, author of the article entitled "Circadian Variation of Breast Milk Components and Implications for Care," concludes that at least some of the macronutrients, hormones, and micronutrients that show circadian variation produce circadian stimuli that can improve the well-being of breastfed infants.

"The data summarized by Dr. White, if confirmed in future studies, will have major implications for the feeding management of high risk infants," says Arthur I. Eidelman, MD, Editor-in-Chief of Breastfeeding Medicine.

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