Nutrition Support Team Guide to Maternal Diet for the Human-Milk-Fed Infant

Kathleen Copp, Emily A. DeFranco, Jeanne Kleiman, Lynette K. Rogers, Ardythe L. Morrow, Christina J. Valentine

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Background: Human milk feeding is encouraged for all infants; however, the mammary gland depends on maternal dietary intake of vitamins A, B1, B2, B6, B12, D, docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), choline, and iodine. Nutrition support team knowledge of maternal feeding guidelines for these nutrient sources can therefore impact infant intake. We hypothesized that these key nutrients for lactation in the mother's diet would be less than the dietary guidelines in the United States. Methods: This was a secondary analysis of nutrition data collected during a randomized, controlled trial. Dietary records were analyzed from 16 mothers (13 with singleton and 3 with multiple births) completing the study. Mean dietary intakes of selected nutrients were calculated and compared with the current dietary reference intakes. Results: Mean maternal dietary intake for singletons was significantly (P <.05) lower than the dietary reference intakes for (vitamin A (58%), vitamin D (44%), and choline (58%);) DHA comprised only 5% of the current expert recommendation. Based on singleton recommendations, mothers to twins consumed an adequate intake except for DHA. Conclusions: Women providing breast milk for singleton preterm infants did not consume dietary reference intakes for key nutrients. Twin mothers’ diets were adequate except for DHA, but these guidelines are based on singleton pregnancies and remain poorly understood for twin needs. The nutrition support team can have a unique role in maternal dietary education to impact human milk nutrient delivery to the infant.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)687-693
Number of pages7
JournalNutrition in Clinical Practice
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 2018

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 American Society for Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition


  • diet
  • human milk
  • infant
  • maternal nutritional physiological phenomena
  • maternal-child nursing
  • mothers

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


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