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      40 years of breast milk research

      Baby Looking At Mum While Breastfeeding

      40 years of breast milk research

      Read time: 2 minutes

      Feeding pioneers: A history of progress

      Aptamil is committed to exploring and understanding the wonderful and unique properties of breast milk. That’s why our globally renowned scientists have been dedicated to pioneering research for over 40 years.

      More than 250 talented scientists, including biologists, nutritionists, food technologists and doctors, work at our state-of-the-art research units – three in Europe and one in Australia – and collaborate closely with laboratories, universities and hospitals worldwide. We’re also advised by an international panel of experts in paediatrics, allergy and immunology. These partnerships allow us to bring the very latest scientific thinking into our research.


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      In the late 1970s a ground-breaking research programme was developed to decipher the various components and benefits of breast milk, and their effects on infant growth and healthy development, vastly improving our understanding of the nutritional needs of preterm babies.




      The 1980s heralded a decade of extraordinary breakthroughs. 1982 saw the discovery of long chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (LCPs) in breast milk – nutrients important for brain and visual development. Further key developments in the dietary management of infant food and intolerances followed soon after.



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      Our researchers detected human milk oligosaccharides (OS) in breast milk for the first time. These non-digestible carbohydrates encourage healthy gut bacteria, and help support the immune system.



      40 years after we took our first steps in breast milk research, we continue to lead the way. Our latest research, focusing on the complex structure and composition of breast milk and how this can affect the absorption and digestion of nutrients, is just one exciting area we’re looking forward to exploring further. 

      Inspired by breast milk, our pioneering research continues. 

      Advantages of breastfeeding

      Oriana Hernandez Carrion


      Oriana has a BSc (Hons) in Nutrition and Food Science (1st class) from University Iberoamericana in Mexico, the country where she completed an internship in a Children’s Public Hospital (HIMFG) and later on worked in a private nutrition clinic. 

      Read more

      1. Nutricia research. The Composition of Breast Milk and its health benefits are our inspiration to support breastfeeding and to develop innovative nutritional solutions. [Online]. 2018. Available at [Accessed July 2021]
      2. Boehm et al. (2002) Archives of Disease in Childhood-Fetal and Neonatal Edition, 86(3), F178-F181. 
      3. Bennet et al. (1992) Acta Paediatrica, 81(10), 784-787
      4. Pietrobelli, A. and Agosti, M. (2017). Nutrition in the First 1000 Days: Ten Practices to Minimize Obesity Emerging from Published Science. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 14(12), p.1491.
      5. FAO/WHO Expert Consultation on Fats and Fatty Acids in Human Nutrition, Interim Summary of Conclusions and Dietary Recommendations on Total Fat& Fatty Acids, 10-14 November, 2008, WHO, Geneva
      6. Youdim, K.A., Martin, A. and Joseph, J.A., 2000. Essential fatty acids and the brain: possible health implications. International journal of developmental neuroscience, 18(4-5), pp.383-399.
      7. Lee, J. (2013). Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids in Children. Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology & Nutrition, 16(3), p.153.
      8. Brain and eye development: Koletzko B et al. J Perinat Med 2008; 36:5–14, Birch E et al. Am J Clin Nutr 2010; 91:848-859,Koletzko B et al. Am J Clin Nutr 2019;00:1–7

      Last reviewed: 28th July 2021
      Reviewed by Oriana Hernandez Carrion

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