Human Milk Rheology: a Path Toward Understanding the Physiology of Breastfeeding


December 2021


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Breastfeeding is the recommended method of feeding infants and requires coordinated mechanical activities from both the mother and infant to succeed. Previous studies on breastfeeding biomechanics have been limited to infant-applied forces that are easily obtained. The flow of milk within the human mammary ducts plays a critical role in breastfeeding but lacks extensive study. The rheological profile of raw human milk provides a medium to facilitate further study on the mechanics of breastfeeding with greater emphasis on the contribution of the mammary gland in response to infant-applied forces. The following work presents a new understanding in infant-applied pressures, an expanded exploration of milk rheological behavior, and the response of milk to specific suckling patterns. The results of these experimental studies provide greater insight into breastfeeding mechanics.



Engineering, Biomedical, Engineering, Mechanical, Health Sciences, Nutrition