Early consumption of human milk oligosaccharides is inversely related to subsequent risk of respiratory and enteric disease in infants.

Mary Beth Flanders Stepans, Susan L. Wilhelm, Melody Hertzog, T. Kim Callahan Rodehorst, Susan Blaney, Beth Clemens, Josef J. Polak, David S. Newburg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

47 Scopus citations


A pilot study tested the relationship between human milk oligosaccharide consumption, oligosaccharide content of feces, and subsequent disease in breastfed infants. Forty-nine (49) mother-infant pairs provided milk and fecal samples 2 weeks postpartum; infant health was assessed through 2, 6, 12, and 24 weeks. LNF-II (lacto-N-fucopentaose II), a major human milk oligosaccharide, was measured to represent levels of total oligosaccharides consumed in milk and remaining in feces. LNF-II levels in milk at 2 weeks postpartum were associated with fewer infant respiratory problems by 6 weeks (p = 0.010), as were LNF-II levels in infant feces (p = 0.003). LNF-II levels in milk at 2 weeks were also associated with fewer respiratory problems by 12 weeks (p = 0.038), and fewer enteric problems by 6 weeks (p = 0.004) and 12 weeks (p = 0.045). Thus, consumption of human milk oligosaccharides through breastfeeding, represented by LNF-II, was associated with less reported respiratory and gastrointestinal illness in infants.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)207-215
Number of pages9
JournalBreastfeeding medicine : the official journal of the Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2006


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics
  • Health Policy
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology
  • Maternity and Midwifery

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