Why should I test my milk?

Every mother’s milk is unique. Test your own milk.

Check the key nutrients in your breast milk if you are:

Woman whose diets are short of animal food sources were shown to have relatively low levels of vitamin A, B6 and B12 in their milk. This include women that are vegan, vegetarian, or just a low consumer of animal source food. During lactation the daily recommended intake for certain vitamins is increased, and many mothers fail to stand with recommendations. Suboptimal maternal nutrient intake can result in low milk nutrient levels. Low vitamin in breast milk can lead to further infant stores depletion and can have undesirable health and developmental effects on the breastfed baby.

Vitamin B6: vitamin B6 is used as a cofactor in the metabolism of protein, fat and sugars, and is required for the development of the brain and the immune system, and for adequate growth of the infant. According to the CDC about 10% of the population in the USA aged 20-35 has a clinical deficiency of the B6 vitamin, and hypovitaminosis or subclinical deficiencies are expected to be common.  

Vitamin B12: Extreme deficiencies, which stem from vegetarianism or veganism or undiagnosed anemia, are a known risk factor for the development of deficiencies in the breastfed infant. Infancy is considered as a vulnerable period for deficiencies in vitamin B12. Breastfed infants are at risk for a deficiency in vitamin B12 even if the mother does not show vitamin deficiency symptoms. The mother’s status before and during pregnancy is associated with the state of the reserves in the infant at birth. However, all cases of clinical deficiencies in the infant are reported for exclusively breastfed infants. Vitamin B12 in human milk is associated more with the current consumption by the mother than the vitamin reserves in her body. Studies show that clinical deficiencies in the breastfed infant may result from low levels in the mother’s milk, even when the mother herself has blood vitamin B12 levels considered within normal range.

Pregnancy and lactation are periods of high nutrient demand, that is known to deplete mothers’ stores. Therefore, close pregnancies (<3 years between births), or prolongs lactation periods, put mothers at risk for various nutrient depletions. This was defined by the WHO as one of the risk factor for vitamin A deficiency in breast milk.

Dairy free, food restrictive, or imbalanced diet put the mother at risk for low vitamin intake. The daily recommended intake for lactating women is increased for many of the vitamins. Breast milk levels of group 1 vitamins is linked to the mothers’ current diet, rather than her vitamin stores. Low vitamin in breastmilk precede maternal imbalance. Infancy is considered as a vulnerable period for vitamin deficiencies, that can lead to growth and developmental delay.

There are not enough studies evaluating dairy consumptions on vitamin status in population. A study in the UK in 2001 showed that 66% of adults who restricted their consumption of dairy products demonstrated a borderline riboflavin (Vitamin B2) deficiency that could be improved by supplementation.

Suboptimal maternal nutrient intake can result in low milk nutrient levels of priority 1 vitamins. Imbalanced weight loss diet can cause low vitamin consumption. Lactating women have higher daily recommended intake requirements, and surveys have shown that most women fail to stand with these recommendations.

Mothers that have history of low vitamin absorption, before or during pregnancy, are at higher risk to redevelop vitamin imbalance during lactation. Low vitamin storage during pregnancy results in higher nutrient demand of the breastfed baby, relying on breastmilk to prosper.

Breast milk nutrient levels are affected by maternal ability to absorb vitamins from her diet. Gastrointestinal disease, crohn’s disease or other inflammatory conditions involving the gastrointestinal tract, digestive disorders, celiac disease, postgastrectomy conditions or bariatric surgery put mother at higher risk for low vitamin absorption from her diet.

Extreme maternal vitamin B12 deficiencies, which stem from vegetarianism, veganism or undiagnosed anemia, are a known risk factor for the development of deficiencies in the breastfed infant. Infancy is considered as a vulnerable period for deficiencies in vitamin B12. Breastfed infants may develop a deficiency in vitamin B12 even if the mother does not show vitamin deficiency symptoms. The mother’s status before and during pregnancy is associated with the state of baby’s reserves at birth. All cases of clinical deficiencies in the infant are reported in exclusively breastfed infants. Vitamin B12 in human milk was shown to be associated more with the current consumption by the mother than the vitamin reserves in her body. Studies show that clinical deficiencies in the breastfed infant may result from low levels in the mother’s milk, even when the mother herself has normal levels of the vitamin in her bloodstream.

Other causes, beyond vegetarianism and autoimmune pernicious anemia, that put mothers at risk for vitamin B12 deficiencies includes celiac disease, helicobacter pylori, Crohn’s disease, gastric bypass, partial ileectomy, eating disorders, use of proton-pump inhibitors, histamine2 blockers, metformin, or nitrous oxide.

The CDC survey for micronutrient deficiency showed that 1.5-5% of the population are at risk for B12 clinical deficiency, and women at their fertility age are at higher risk.

Vitamin stores are formed primarily in the last trimester of pregnancy and therefore preterm infants have lower reserves. In any case, an infant is born with small reserves that even in the case of balanced nutrition of the mother during pregnancy, are sufficient for a few days, and the toddler needs the vitamin in his diet (as an answer to daily consumption and for forming reserves for childhood). For preterm babies, as they are born with lower storages, have higher requirements for vitamins in their diet. Preterm are therefore more susceptible to low vitamins levels of priority 1 vitamins in mother’s milk, and at higher risk to develop related symptoms. Levels in the breast milk correlate with maternal consumption.

Low birthweight babies <2.5kg, were shown to be at higher risk for delayed growth and development due to low or marginal nutrition. Early gross motor development in infant with a birth weight between 2000-3000g was linked to B vitamin balance during exclusive breastfeeding.

Knowledge is power. Every mother can be curious about her milk. As research have found high prevalence of relative low deficiency in the population, every mother can benefit from learning about her milk nutritional value and get the chance to optimize it.

MyMilk tests and reports are not intended to diagnose or treat any clinical condition, or to substitute for a healthcare provider’s consultation.
MyMilk test and reports are not intended to diagnose or treat any clinical condition, or to provide a medical recommendation and does not substitute the advice of your health care provider (lactation consultant, doctor, or nurse). These reports are not intended to tell you anything about your or your baby’s current state of health, or to be used to make medical decisions, including whether or not you should take a medication or how much of a medication you should take. Our reports can identify potential nutritional deficiencies in breast milk and provide suggestions for improving the breastfeeding mom’s nutrition. It is advised to consult with a nutritionist or a medical health provider before making any nutritional changes. Furthermore, nutritional supplements should not be taken without consulting with a physician.