Metabolisable energy consumption in the exclusively breast-fed infant aged 3–6 months from the developed world: a systematic review

John J Reilly, S. Ashworth, JCK Wells

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

33 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The present study aimed to evaluate evidence on metabolisable energy consumption and pattern of consumption with age in infants in the developed world who were exclusively breast-fed, at around the time of introducing complementary feeding. We carried out a systematic review aimed at answering three questions: how much milk is transferred from mother to infant?; does transfer increase with the age of the infant?; and what is the metabolisable energy content of breast milk? Thirty-three eligible studies of 1041 mother–infant pairs reported transfer at 3–4 months of age, the weighted mean transfer being 779 (SD 40) g/d. Six studies (99 pairs) measured transfer at 5 months, with a weighted mean transfer of 827 (SD 39) g/d. Five studies (72 pairs) measured milk transfer at 6 months, reporting a weighted mean transfer of 894 (SD 87) g/d. Nine longitudinal studies reported no significant increases in milk transfer after 2–4 months. Twenty-five studies on breast-milk energy content were based on 777 mother–infant pairs. The weighted mean metabolisable energy content was 2·6 (SD 0·2) kJ/g. Breast-milk metabolisable energy content is probably lower, and breast-milk transfer slightly higher, than is usually assumed. Longitudinal studies do not support the hypothesis that breast-milk transfer increases markedly with age. More research on energy intake in 5–6-month-old exclusively breast-fed infants is necessary, and information on the metabolisability of breast milk in mid-infancy is desirable. This evidence should inform future recommendations on infant feeding and help to identify research needs in infant energy balance.
LanguageEnglish
Pages56-63
Number of pages8
JournalBritish Journal of Nutrition
Volume94
Issue number01
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2005

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Breast
Human Milk
Milk
Mothers
Longitudinal Studies
Infant Nutritional Physiological Phenomena
Energy Intake
Research

Keywords

  • infant nutrition
  • breast feeding
  • complementary feeding
  • energy metabolism
  • childhood obesity

Cite this

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Metabolisable energy consumption in the exclusively breast-fed infant aged 3–6 months from the developed world: a systematic review. / Reilly, John J; Ashworth, S.; Wells, JCK.

In: British Journal of Nutrition, Vol. 94, No. 01, 2005, p. 56-63.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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