Document Detail

Infant sex predicts breast milk energy content.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  19533619     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
During human evolutionary history, and for many around the world, breast milk is the primary source of nutritional energy for infants. Variation in breast milk quality might logically have important effects on infant health, growth, and development, yet the sources of this variation remain largely unelucidated. We quantified nutrient and energy content of breast milk from 25 healthy, well-nourished Massachusetts mothers with infants aged 2-5 months. We examined several potential sources of variation in milk quality, particularly feeding patterns, infant sex, and maternal breast growth during pregnancy. After controlling for time since last feeding, a known correlate of milk composition, we found that mothers of male infants produced milk that had 25% greater energy content than mothers of female infants (P < 0.001). Change in maternal bra cup size during pregnancy was associated with 16.17 kcal/100 ml greater energy content of milk (P = 0.009), but was not significant after taking infant sex into account. Greater nutritional investment in sons may account for the greater observed growth rates in male compared to female infants.
Camille E Powe; Cheryl D Knott; Nancy Conklin-Brittain
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Journal Article; Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't    
Journal Detail:
Title:  American journal of human biology : the official journal of the Human Biology Council     Volume:  22     ISSN:  1520-6300     ISO Abbreviation:  Am. J. Hum. Biol.     Publication Date:    2010 Jan-Feb
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2009-12-16     Completed Date:  2010-01-27     Revised Date:  -    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  8915029     Medline TA:  Am J Hum Biol     Country:  United States    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  50-4     Citation Subset:  IM    
Copyright Information:
2009 Wiley-Liss, Inc.
Department of Anthropology, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02138, USA.
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MeSH Terms
Milk, Human / chemistry*
Sex Characteristics

From MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine

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