Long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids in breast milk and early weight gain in breast-fed infants
The long-chain PUFA (LCPUFA) content of an infant's diet might affect early weight gain. In early trials on supplementation of formula feeding n-3 LCPUFA affected weight gain adversely. n-6 LCPUFA are thought to promote adipose tissue development and might be associated with higher weight gain. We studied the association between the natural n-3 and n-6 LCPUFA content of breast milk of Dutch women and weight and BMI gain of their breast-fed infants in the first year of life. The children in this study were enrolled in the Prevention and Incidence of Asthma and Mite Allergy (PIAMA) birth cohort study and were born in 1996-1997 in the Netherlands. Parents reported their child's weight and length in a questionnaire. Of a subgroup of the total population breast-milk samples were collected (n 244). The fatty acid composition of breast milk was determined by GLC and expressed as weight percentages. Linear regression was used for data analysis. Mean gain in weight, length and BMI per week from birth to 1 year of age was 119.5 (sd 16.1) g, 0.48 (sd 0.05) cm and 0.06 (sd 0.03) kg/m2, respectively. The associations between n-6 and n-3 LCPUFA in breast milk, and infant weight, length and BMI gain were weak and inconsistent. The n-3 and n-6 LCPUFA content in breast milk did not affect weight or BMI gain in the first year of life in breast-fed term infants.