Target fortification of breast milk: how often should milk analysis be done?

Nutrients. 2015 Apr 1;7(4):2297-310. doi: 10.3390/nu7042297.


Target fortification (TFO) reduces natural macronutrient variation in breast milk (BM). Daily BM analysis for TFO increases neonatal intensive care unit work load by 10-15 min/patient/day and may not be feasible in all nurseries. The variation of macronutrient intake when BM analysis is done for various schedules was studied. In an observational study, we analyzed 21 subsequent samples of native 24-h BM batches, which had been prepared for 10 healthy infants (gestational age 26.1 ± 1.3 weeks, birth weight: 890 ± 210 g). Levels of protein and fat (validated near-infrared milk analyzer), as well as lactose (UPLC-MS/MS) generated the database for modelling TFO to meet recommendations of European Society for Paediatric Gastroenterology Hepatology and Nutrition. Intake of macronutrients and energy were calculated for different schedules of BM measurements for TFO (n = 1/week; n = 2/week; n = 3/week; n = 5/week; n = 7/week) and compared to native and fixed dose fortified BM. Day-to-day variation of macronutrients (protein 20%, carbohydrate 13%, fat 17%, energy 10%) decreased as the frequency of milk analysis increased and was almost zero for protein and carbohydrate with daily measurements. Measurements two/week led to mean macronutrient intake within a range of ± 5% of targeted levels. A reduced schedule for macronutrient measurement may increase the practical use of TFO. To what extent the day-to-day variation affects growth while mean intake is stable needs to be studied.

Publication types

  • Observational Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Birth Weight
  • Dietary Carbohydrates / administration & dosage
  • Dietary Fats / administration & dosage
  • Dietary Proteins / administration & dosage
  • Energy Intake
  • Female
  • Food, Fortified*
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant Nutritional Physiological Phenomena
  • Infant, Premature / growth & development
  • Infant, Very Low Birth Weight / growth & development
  • Milk Proteins / administration & dosage
  • Milk Proteins / analysis
  • Milk, Human / chemistry*
  • Tandem Mass Spectrometry


  • Dietary Carbohydrates
  • Dietary Fats
  • Dietary Proteins
  • Milk Proteins