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About this study

It is well known that breastmilk contains a host of nutritive, protective and beneficial components. However, it is not so widely known that these components are highly variable and are influenced by all sorts of environmental and personal factors, including maternal diet.

This study will help improve current knowledge on the impacts a mother’s diet has on her breastmilk ©  Prostockstudio

Infants’ nutrition can have life-lasting impacts on their health and we feel it is important for mothers, families and health care professionals to be knowledgeable about the variability of breast milk so that they can make better informed choices during this important time.

Exploring the influence maternal diet has on breast milk is one way for us to further the positive influence of breastfeeding by better understanding its idiosyncrasies. Our research aims to measure the compositional changes that occur in breast milk in real-time whilst mothers consume different diets so that we can get a really good look at how diet affects breast milk.

We are conducting a clinical trial which will occur over a two day period. We will provide mothers with two separate diets over two days; one standardised healthy diet and one with slightly higher sugar/fat content. All food will be supplied and prepared over breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks. Over the two days we will ask you to express small amounts of breastmilk at specific times.

This trial has been designed with mum and baby's best interests in mind and we aim to make the interventions minimally disruptive.

This study has been designed based on an almost identical 'pilot' study which was conducted in the UK in 2019.

Who can participate in the study?

Inclusion Criteria

  • Healthy mothers and singleton infants born at full term
  • Mothers between the ages of 21-35 years
  • Mothers with a Body Mass Index (BMI) between 20 and 30 kg/m2
  • Infants between 6 and 20 weeks of age at the time of recruitment
  • Mother and infants have no self-reported underlying medical conditions/special dietary requirements which result in restriction of any major food groups (e.g. vegan/dairy allergy)
  • Mothers able to give informed consent for themselves and their infants
  • Mothers have been exclusively breastfeeding (with the exception of additional water or medication such as paracetamol suspensions) their infant since birth

Exclusion Criteria

  • Infants who are fed formula milk or fed a mixture of breast milk and formula
  • Mothers who are struggling with breast feeding and/or are unable to manually express milk.
  • Mother and/or baby who has an allergy/intolerance/aversion to the study diet (e.g. lactose intolerance).

The Participant Information Sheet PDF (351 KB) contains further detailed information on the study.

What are the benefits of participating in the study?

As a thank you for contributing to this study you will be provided with a $75 gift card. By participating in this study you will also be providing a valuable contribution to the scientific knowledge in this field. Your personal results will be mailed out to you at the completion of the study, and the overall group results will also be provided.

Register your interest for the study

If you would like to participate in the study please email Ellen Ward at ellen.ward@csiro.au with breastfeeding study in the email title.

Further information

If you have any queries about this study or would like further information about participating do not hesitate to contact Ellen Ward by email ellen.ward@csiro.au and they can assist.

This study has been approved by the CSIRO Health and Medical Research Human Research Ethics Committee.

If you would like to speak with someone with respect to ethical matters or wish to register a formal complaint about the conduct of this research, please contact the Secretary of the Committee via email at chmhrec@csiro.au or phone on (07) 3833 5693.

Want to participate in a study?

We're looking for volunteers to take part in our nutrition and health studies.

Register your interest

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