Nutrient Needs During Lactation



The lactating mother requires additional energy for the production

of milk which is calculated from the volume of milk secreted, its energy

content and the efficiency of conversion of food energy to milk energy.

Based on the optimal output of 850 ml/day, energy content of 65

/ 100 ml of breast milk and conversion efficiency of 80 percent, the

additional allowance recommended during first six months of lactation

is 550 / day. This is after taking into account the energy contribution

from fat stores deposited during pregnancy. Most Indian mothers

continue to lactate even after six months but the milk production is

reduced. Hence ICMR has recommended an additional allowance of

400 / day for the period from 6 -12 months of lactation


For production of milk, protein requirement also increases, as the

produced milk contains 1.15g of proteins /100ml. The recommended

additional protein intake during lactation is 25g per day for 0-6 months

and 18g per day for 6-12 months


ICMR has suggested an intake of 45g of visible fat per day.

Although the total fat in breast milk is not influenced by the mothers

diet, the composition of milk fat does. The fat also provides energy

density to meet the higher energy requirement during lactation


Mothers milk contains 30-40 mg of calcium per 100 ml. Since

about 850ml of milk is produced, around 300mg of calcium is secreted

through milk per day. Therefore the additional intake of calcium is

essential to enable the retention of 300mg of extra calcium daily. Since

the dietary calcium retention in lactating women is 60 percent, ICMR

has recommend 1000 mg of calcium per day for a lactating mother.

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