Human milk (HM) components influence infant feeding patterns and nutrient intake, yet it is unclear how they influence gastric emptying (GE), a key component of appetite regulation. This study analyzed GE of a single breastfeed, HM appetite hormones/macronutrients and demographics/anthropometrics/body composition of term fully breastfed infants (n = 41, 2 and/or 5 mo). Stomach volumes (SV) were calculated from pre-/post-feed ultrasound scans, then repeatedly until the next feed. Feed volume (FV) was measured by the test-weigh method. HM samples were analyzed for adiponectin, leptin, fat, lactose, total carbohydrate, lysozyme, and total/whey/casein protein. Linear regression/mixed effect models were used to determine associations between GE/feed variables and HM components/infant anthropometrics/adiposity. Higher FVs were associated with faster (-0.07 [-0.10, -0.03], p < 0.001) GE rate, higher post-feed SVs (0.82 [0.53, 1.12], p < 0.001), and longer GE times (0.24 [0.03, 0.46], p = 0.033). Higher whey protein concentration was associated with higher post-feed SVs (4.99 [0.84, 9.13], p = 0.023). Longer GE time was associated with higher adiponectin concentration (2.29 [0.92, 3.66], p = 0.002) and dose (0.02 [0.01, 0.03], p = 0.005), and lower casein:whey ratio (-65.89 [-107.13, -2.66], p = 0.003). FV and HM composition influence GE and breastfeeding patterns in term breastfed infants.
Keywords: anthropometrics; appetite hormones; body composition; feed volume; feeding frequency; gastric emptying; human milk; macronutrients; stomach volumes; term breastfed infants; ultrasound.