Your delivery type affects the nutrient content of your breast milk

This is just fantastic and important research. I have already Blogged that new mothers have particularly poor eating habits as they are in such a rush looking after their baby. This coupled with the fact they may be breast feeding, they have just grown a baby inside themselves for 9 months and they are under the stress of sleep deprivation can lead to a tired, poorly mother. But importantly it can lead to nutrient deficiency in the breast milk. This research shows that it can get worse!

If you have had a C-section then your milk will actually be protein deficient anyway. I have stated that I find new mothers eating very little protein as it is, a double whammy. Of course, research offers no solution as usual, which is why I dedicate my time to reading it and unravelling the practical solutions that can be found from it. This one is fairly simple; mums – eat more protein! Put simply this is meat, for veggies it will needs to be nuts, pulses, seeds, dairy etc. Watch out for these foods conflicting with the colic aggravating foods though.

Effect of mode of delivery on macronutrient content of breast milk


Objective: To determine the effect of delivery type on macronutrient content of colostral milk.

Materials and methods: The study was conducted at Zekai Tahir Burak Maternity Teaching Hospital. Colostral milk samples from term lactating mothers who gave birth by vaginal or cesarean delivery (CD) were obtained on the 2nd postpartum day. Milk protein, fat, carbohydrate (CHO) and energy levels were measured by using a mid-infrared human milk analyzer.

Results: A total of 204 term lactating mothers were recruited to the study; 111 mothers gave birth by vaginal route and 93 mothers by CD. Protein levels were statistically lower in colostral milk of mothers after CD compared to mothers who delivered vaginally (median 2.4 (range 0.3ā€“6.4) g/dl versus 3 (0.5ā€“6.3) g/dl, respectively; pā€‰=ā€‰0.036). Colostral fat, CHO and energy levels were similar between groups. In linear regression analysis, CD and maternal age were independently associated with lower protein content in colostrum.

Conclusion: Vaginal delivery is associated with higher colostrum protein content. Hormonal activity induced by labor pain and uterine contractions might account for the alterations in the protein composition of human milk to facilitate optimal development of important physiologic functions in newborns.

Evrim Alyamac Dizdar1, Fatma Nur Sari1, Halil Degirmencioglu1, Fuat Emre Canpolat1, Serife Suna Oguz1, Nurdan Uras1, and Ugur Dilmen2
1Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, Zekai Tahir Burak Maternity Teaching Hospital, Ankara, Turkey and
2Department of Pediatrics, Yildirim Beyazit University, Ankara, Turkey
Address for correspondence: Fatma Nur Sari, MD, Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, Zekai Tahir Burak Maternity Teaching Hospital, 06230, Hamamonu, Ankara, Turkey. Tel: +90 312 306 52 70. Fax: +90 312 312 49 31. E-mail:

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