Characteristic Differences between Pumping and Hand Expressed Human Milk
The nutritional properties of human milk have long been recognized as crucial to infant growth and health. It is reported that 85% of breastfeeding mothers will use electric pumps to transfer milk out of the breast, which is then delivered to the infant via bottle or other delivery systems. Little is known regarding any differences in the composition of human milk when it is removed from the breast by means other than an infant feeding directly from the breast. The objective of this study is to evaluate macronutrient content and the number of leukocytes and non-leukocytes cells in human milk. To perform this study, fifty-four samples were taken from consenting participants, with half of the participants being non-pumpers whom hand expressed their samples, and half of the participants being pumpers who used vacuum systems to extract their milk samples. The samples were analyzed for leukocyte cell count using an Amnis Image Stream X imaging flow cytometer to count CD45+ cells. For macronutrient analysis, the milk samples were analyzed using a MIRIS Human Milk Analyzer. The results showed that there were no statistically significant differences between pumped or hand expressed human milk when evaluating the means for macronutrients. There was no statistically significant difference between pumping and hand expressing were seen when evaluating the number of leukocytes. Additional research is needed to better understand leukocytes amounts in human milk.