What are the effects of maternal malnutrition on breast-milk
Composition of breast-milk depends to some extent on maternal nutrition. In general, even the undernourished mothers can successfully breast-feed. But in the case of severe malnutrition, both the quality and quantity of breast-milk may be affected. Protein content of breast-milk appears to be much less affected as compared to fat in malnutrition. Concentration of water-soluble vitamins as well as fat soluble vitamin A (beta-carotene) is influenced by the quality of the maternal diet. Supplementation of vitamins A and B-complex to lactating mothers increases the levels of these vitamins in breast-milk. Zinc and iron from breast-milk are better absorbed than from other food sources. Trace element composition of breast-milk, however, is not affected by the mother’s nutritional status.