Teenage Moms Require Formula Boost
February 4, 1997
Teenage mothers don't meet the nutritional needs of their infants through
breast feeding alone and rely on formula to supplement.
That's what researchers with USDAs
Agricultural Research Service found when
they compared quantity and quality of breast milk and breast-feeding behavior
of 11 teen mothers with 11 adult mothers during the first six months after
Nutritionally speaking, the teens' breast milk was about equivalent to the
adults' breast milk in calories, sugar (lactose), fat, protein and major
minerals. But the teen moms only produced about half to two-thirds as much
breast milk as the older moms.
Also, the teens did not nurse as long or as often as the adult moms. It's
not known whether this behavior is the cause or the result of teens' lower milk
production. But the end result was that teen moms fed their babies more formula
to supplement the lack of breast milk.
Education and support aimed at increasing teens' daily nursing duration
might improve production and reduce the need for formula, researchers say.
Scientific contact: Kathleen J. Motil,
Children's Nutrition Research
Center, Houston, TX (713) 798-7180; e-mail: