How Much Calcium In Breast Milk

1

How much Calcium is in breast milk? Is it enough to prevent osteoporosis and other health problems?

Calcium is a mineral required by your body to regulate muscle contraction and blood clotting, as well as maintain healthy bones. It contributes to the growth and maintenance of teeth and the health of your nails, while also contributing to hair growth and normal immune system functioning.   Thousands of women are breastfeeding their children right now, but how much calcium will they provide in their breast milk?

How Much Calcium In Breast Milk

Human milk is the best food for newborn nutrition. There is no ideal composition of human milk and also no easy way to control the complexity of its nutritional quality and the quantity received by breastfed infants. Pediatricians and nutritionists use charts of infant growth (weight, size, head circumference) and neurodevelopment criteria that reflect the food that these infants receive. These charts reflect first the infant physiology and likely reflect the composition of human milk when infants are breastfed. In a situation of preterm birth, mother physiology impacts partly breast milk composition and this explains how this is more difficult to correlate infant growth or neurodevelopment with milk composition. Some biomarkers (lipids, oligosaccharides) have been identified in breast milk but their function is not always yet known. A better knowledge on how human milk could act on infant development to the mid- and long-term participating thus to nutritional programming is a challenging question for a better management of infants’ nutrition, especially for preterm infants who are most fragile.

If you’re still breastfeeding, your milk adjusts to this based on how toddler nurses; how the breast is emptied tells your body what kind of milk to make. When breast milk is the primary diet, like in the first 6 months, your milk is made for growth and immunity. When your toddler is taking lots of table foods and nursing, your milk is made for development and immunity.

At 1 you don’t need a fancy toddler formula or cow’s milk. If you’re exclusively formula feeding, switching to whole cow’s milk is fine. While cow’s milk is a convenient source of calcium, protein, fats, and vitamin D, there’s no need to switch to that, either. As long as your child takes a wide variety in their diet and has a good source of calcium (yogurt, cheese, dark leafy greens like spinach, fortified cereals or juice, soybeans, etc), just choose what you offer your child wisely. If you’re still breastfeeding, know your child is getting good nutrition from your milk suited to their growing needs. If you’re concerned about your toddlers diet or they don’t eat a wide variety, consult your pediatrician or a pediatric nutritionist for advice and help.

Woman breastfeeding

Breast calcifications are calcium deposits within breast tissue. They appear as white spots or flecks on a mammogram.

Breast calcifications are common on mammograms, and they’re especially prevalent after age 50. Although breast calcifications are usually noncancerous (benign), certain patterns of calcifications — such as tight clusters with irregular shapes and fine appearance — may indicate breast cancer or precancerous changes to breast tissue.

On a mammogram, breast calcifications can appear as macrocalcifications or microcalcifications.

  • Macrocalcifications. These show up as large white dots or dashes. They’re almost always noncancerous and require no further testing or follow-up.
  • Microcalcifications. These show up as fine, white specks, similar to grains of salt. They’re usually noncancerous, but certain patterns can be an early sign of cancer.

If breast calcifications appear suspicious on your initial mammogram, you will be called back for additional magnification views to get a closer look at the calcifications. If the second mammogram is still worrisome for cancer, your doctor may recommend a breast biopsy to know for sure. If the calcifications appear noncancerous, your doctor may recommend returning to your usual yearly screening or have you return in six months for a short-term follow

When choosing a non-dairy milk, make sure it’s fortified with calcium and vitamin D. Homemade versions won’t have this fortification. Shake milk substitutes well before serving, the calcium settles on the bottom. Look for varieties labeled “unsweetened” as many milk alternatives contain lots of added sugar! If you’re choosing not to offer your toddler cow’s milk, make sure they’re getting a wide variety of fruits, vegetables, beans, grains and protein to get them the vitamins, minerals, fats and protein they need for growth. When in doubt, discuss nutrition with a pediatric dietician

Milk is a very convenient source of calcium, but not essential. It is recommended that a 1-3 year old child have 700mg (2-3 servings) of calcium per day. Eating a diet rich in beans, tofu, spinach, kale, broccoli, kiwi, figs, brown rice, oatmeal and certain fish such as salmon can give your child just as much calcium as drinking milk. No one ever “has” to drink milk. Human milk contains less calcium than cow’s milk, but the calcium in human milk has over twice the bioavailability of the calcium in cow’s milk. Increasing your calcium intake does not increase the calcium in your milk – your milk always has the right amount of calcium for your baby. Getting adequate calcium in your diet is recommended because if you’re not getting enough, your body will take calcium from your bones to provide to your baby, making you more prone to bone fractures. However as soon as you wean, your body regains bone mass and your bones will actually be stronger than before.

Human milk averages 5.9-10.1 mg/oz calcium. 67% of this calcium is absorbed by the body.

Vegans

Non-vegans get most of their calcium from dairy foods (milk, cheese and yoghurt), but vegans will need to get it from other foods.

Good sources of calcium for vegans include:

  • fortified soya, rice and oat drinks
  • soya beans
  • calcium-set tofu
  • sesame seeds and tahini
  • pulses
  • brown and white bread (in the UK calcium is added to white and brown flour by law)
  • dried fruit such as raisins, prunes, figs and dried apricots

How much calcium does my child need?

Depending on their age, children require a certain amount of calcium every day. Calcium is an essential mineral at any stage of life but is vital in childhood when growth, tooth formation and the proper function of the nervous and muscular systems can be compromised with even small deficiencies.

98% of the calcium that we consume is stored in the teeth and bones. As children’s bones are growing constantly, they need a continuous intake of this mineral, although the recommended amounts vary depending on age:

From 0 to 6 months

Just 200 milligrams of calcium a day. If the baby is breastfeeding, you need not worry as breast milk provides all the calcium your baby needs. If you are bottle feeding, the paediatrician will make sure that your baby is getting enough calcium through his daily feeds (although it is easy to do the calculation by looking at the directions for use for the formula). Keep in mind that premature babies usually require more calcium.

From six months to one year

270 milligrams/day is the recommended amount. At this age, children are basically getting their calcium from breast milk, if still breastfeeding, or from the infant formula they consume. From 10 months, when yoghurt can be introduced into their diets (provided this is recommended by the paediatrician), it is even easier to reach the required levels.

From one year

Between the ages of one and three, your child needs more than 500 milligrams of calcium a day. It is important that this amount is consumed daily because at this age one day’s intake cannot be compensated for with another day’s intake. Make sure then that each day your child has a large glass of milk, some yoghurt, a piece of cheese and some custard, for example. However, there is no need to overly worry: a lot of vegetables such as spinach and broccoli are rich in this mineral.

Remember that the body requires appropriate levels of vitamin D to absorb calcium (vitamin D is found in egg yolks, oily fish and cheese).

Whole milk contains 36.4 mg/oz calcium. 25-30% of cow’s milk is absorbed by the body.

Infant formulas contain 15.6 mg/oz calcium; toddler formulas contain 24-27 mg/oz calcium. Extra calcium is added to infant formulas because of the lower bioavailability of the calcium from formulas as compared to human milk (they aim for baby to absorb the same amount of calcium as would be absorbed from breastmilk).

Toddler formulas have come on the market in recent years touting that they’re great nutrition for the 12+ month group. In reality, it’s all clever marketing. If you supplement baby with formula, there’s no need to switch to a toddler formula at 12+ months. In the second year of life, growth slows. Your toddler doesn’t gain weight or length as quickly as they did right after birth.

If you’re still breastfeeding, your milk adjusts to this based on how toddler nurses; how the breast is emptied tells your body what kind of milk to make. When breast milk is the primary diet, like in the first 6 months, your milk is made for growth and immunity. When your toddler is taking lots of table foods and nursing, your milk is made for development and immunity.

At 1 you don’t need a fancy toddler formula or cow’s milk. If you’re exclusively formula feeding, switching to whole cow’s milk is fine. While cow’s milk is a convenient source of calcium, protein, fats, and vitamin D, there’s no need to switch to that, either. As long as your child takes a wide variety in their diet and has a good source of calcium (yogurt, cheese, dark leafy greens like spinach, fortified cereals or juice, soybeans, etc), just choose what you offer your child wisely. If you’re still breastfeeding, know your child is getting good nutrition from your milk suited to their growing needs. If you’re concerned about your toddlers diet or they don’t eat a wide variety, consult your pediatrician or a pediatric nutritionist for advice and help.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Like
Close
TheSuperHealthyFood © Copyright 2022. All rights reserved.
Close