Measurement of Breast Milk Intake Using Deuterium Oxide and Fourier Transformed Infrared Spectrophotometer - A Pilot Study

  • T Adom
  • D Bansa
  • R Boatin
  • S Timpo
  • P Asamoa-Tutu
  • T Vuore
  • D Datohe


The measurement of breast milk intake of infants is essential to the estimation of nutrient re-quirements during infancy and lactation. The conventional method, test-weighing procedure for measuring breast milk is time consuming, most often inaccurate and may interfere with the mother�s normal activities. A more practical and accurate method is isotope dilution using stable isotope-labelled water. The accuracy and ready availability of deuterium oxide (D2O) have led to its extensive use in measuring body composition and breast milk intake of infants. The D2O turnover method was field-tested in 13 lactating Ghanaian mother-baby pairs. Maternal and baby anthropometric measurements were made. Baby milk intake and maternal body composi-tion were measured with the dose-to-mother method. Pre-dose samples of saliva were taken from each mother-baby pair. A measured D2O dose (30g) was administered orally to the mother. Post-dose saliva samples were collected from mother and baby on days 1, 2, 3, 4, 13, and 14. Samples were analysed using Fourier Transformed Infrared Spectrophotometer (FTIR). The mean � SD maternal age was 24 � 5 years. Babies were aged 3.5 months on the average and weighed 6.7 � 0.7 kg. Mean milk intake of babies was 828 � 132 ml/day with a range of 610 to 1040 ml/day. Maternal fat free mass and % body fat were 44.8 � 5.3 kg, 23.1 � 5.1 respectively. This non-invasive and convenient method has been used successfully to measure breast milk intake of Ghanaian infants.

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