Lactation education

Implications for breast milk banks

For one study, researchers sought to identify the nutritional content and bioactive substances of long-term lactation milk in order to locate milk from new donors for human milk banks. Approximately 43 mothers of term infants (TIHM) (3–6 weeks lactation) and 50 women who had breastfed for more than one year provided samples of long-term lactation breast milk (LNHM). The milk had to be collected within 24 hours. The fat, protein, carbohydrate and energy content of breast milk was determined using the MIRIS Breast Milk Analyzer; lactoferrin and vitamin C content was determined by reversed-phase high-performance liquid chromatography (RP-HPLC); total antioxidant activity (TAC) and lysozyme were determined using an enzyme immunoassay (ELISA), and glutathione peroxidase (GPx) and catalase (CAT) activity by methods spectrophotometric. Both sets of socio-demographic information on mothers were combined. LNHM had a higher fat content and energy value than TIHM. The protein composition of LNHM and TIHM was the same. LNHM has a lower carbohydrate content than TIHM. Compared to TIHM, LNHM had increased TAC, CAT and GPx activity. There were no significant variations in the concentration of lysozyme, lactoferrin or vitamin C between the groups studied. The results indicate that breast milk retains high nutritional value after 12 months of breastfeeding, does not lose bioactive components and can be used in breast milk banks.