Background: Lipid-based ready-to-use foods are currently used for infant feeding, but their potential effect on breast-milk intake is not well documented.
Objective: The objective was to assess the breast-milk intake of 9-10-mo-old infants given either a ready-to-use complementary food (RUCF) paste or a standard corn-soy blend (UNIMIX) porridge in South Kivu, Democratic Republic of Congo.
Design: Infants were randomly assigned at 6 mo of age to receive either RUCF (n = 700) or UNIMIX (n = 700) for 6 mo. Breast-milk intake was measured at 9-10 mo in a subsample of 58 infants (29 from each group). Mothers received a dose of ≈30 g deuterium oxide. Predose and postdose saliva samples were collected from both mothers and infants over 2 wk. Breast-milk intake (g/d) was measured from saliva samples by using infrared spectroscopy.
Results: Mean (±SD) breast-milk intake was not significantly (P = 0.69) different between the 2 groups: RUCF (705 ± 236 g/d) and UNIMIX (678 ± 285 g/d). Mean (±SD) nonmilk oral water intakes were 338.3 ± 251.1 and 336.4 ± 227.2 g/d for RUCF and UNIMIX, respectively (P = 0.98).
Conclusions: No differences in breast-milk intake were observed between infants consuming either RUCF or UNIMIX. The deuterium-dose-to-the-mother dilution technique is an affordable technique that we recommend for periodic evaluation of breast-milk intake in resource-poor settings. This trial is registered at controlled-trials.com as ISRCTN20267635.