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Human Milk Intake

Exclusive breastfeeding for 6 months, followed by the introduction of appropriate complementary foods and continued breastfeeding, as recommended by the World Health Organization and UNICEF, are cornerstones in infant nutrition. However, only limited information is available on the quantities of human milk consumed and the time of introduction of other foods into the infants’ diet. The lack of information is, at least partly, due to the difficulties involved in assessing intake of human milk. The IAEA supports the application of the deuterium oxide ‘dose-to-mother’ technique, which measures the average volume of human milk consumed by the baby for 14 days, without interrupting the normal feeding pattern. Please visit the related links for more information on the theoretical background as well as the practical application of the deuterium oxide ‘dose-to-mother’ technique.

IAEA Publications

Stable Isotope Technique to Assess Intake of Human Milk in Breastfed Infants IAEA Human Health Series No. 7; 2010, 67 pp. International Atomic Energy Agency, Vienna, Austria.
The stable (non-radioactive) isotope technique has been developed to assess intake of human milk in breastfed infants. The practical application of the stable isotope technique, based on analysis of deuterium by Fourier transform infrared spectrometry (FTIR), is presented in this book.
More languages available: Spanish Edition, French Edition

IAEA E-learning modules

Additional resources

Web Articles on Breastfeeding