Longitudinal changes in milk composition of mothers delivering preterm and term infants

Early Hum Dev. 1984 Feb;9(2):153-62. doi: 10.1016/0378-3782(84)90096-3.


The concentrations of protein nitrogen (PN), non-protein nitrogen (NPN), energy, fat, sodium (Na), calcium (Ca), phosphorus (P), magnesium (Mg), and zinc (Zn) were determined in human milk from mothers giving birth to full-term (n = 13) and preterm infants (n = 8). Milk samples were collected under controlled conditions at two-week intervals for 12 weeks postpartum. Statistically significant differences in PN, Ca, and P concentrations were detected between the milk from mothers of preterm and term infants. The mean PN concentration in the preterm milk was statistically higher than that of term milk (198 vs. 164 mg N/dl), in contrast to the lower mean Ca (220 vs. 261 mg/l) and P (125 vs. 153 mg/l) concentrations detected in the preterm milk. No other differences in mean nutrient concentration were observed between the two groups. Concentrations of PN, NPN, Na, P, and Zn decreased over time. The concentration of Mg increased slightly. The content of fat, energy, and Ca did not change.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Calcium / analysis
  • Fats / analysis
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infant, Premature*
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Milk Proteins / analysis
  • Milk, Human / analysis*
  • Nitrogen / analysis
  • Phosphorus / analysis
  • Pregnancy


  • Fats
  • Milk Proteins
  • Phosphorus
  • Nitrogen
  • Calcium