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Type: Journal article
Title: A methodological approach to identify the most reliable human milk collection method for compositional analysis: a systematic review protocol
Author: Leghi, G.E.
Middleton, P.F.
Muhlhausler, B.S.
Citation: Systematic Reviews, 2018; 7(1):122-122
Publisher: BMC
Issue Date: 2018
ISSN: 2046-4053
Statement of
Gabriela E. Leghi, Philippa F. Middleton and Beverly S. Muhlhausler
Abstract: BACKGROUND:Breast milk composition has been reported to vary significantly between individual women and between different populations. However, the composition is also known to vary within the same woman between different days, within the same day, and even across the same feed. Therefore, it is unclear to what extent variations in composition are due to variations in sampling methodology between studies. The purpose of this systematic review is to compare the results obtained for breast milk macronutrient composition between studies utilizing different sampling methodologies and to use this as a basis to determine the most robust and consistent sampling approach as an alternative to full expression (gold standard). METHODS:The EMBASE, MEDLINE/PubMed, Cochrane Library, Scopus, Web of Science, and ProQuest Dissertations and Theses Global databases will be searched for relevant articles. Observational studies, including cross-sectional, comparative cohort, and longitudinal cohort studies which involve lactating women who are breastfeeding (exclusively or not) or expressing (manually or using a breast pump) at any lactation stage will be included. This review will compare different methods of breast milk collection used in research studies which report macronutrient levels (protein, fat, lactose). Two review authors will independently screen titles and abstracts of studies identified by the literature search to determine articles for the full text screening. Quality assessment of included articles will be conducted independently by two review authors using the Newcastle-Ottawa scale. DISCUSSION:It is important to identify the most reliable and practical method of human milk collection which best represents the average composition of the milk that is being consumed by the infant. This systematic review will be critical for ensuring that we determine a robust and consistent sampling approach to use in future studies of evaluating breast milk composition in a larger population. Identifying a recommended standard collection protocol will also provide more opportunities for sharing and combining data from different research groups, thus enhancing replicability and knowledge in the field. SYSTEMATIC REVIEW REGISTRATION:PROSPERO CRD42017072563.
Keywords: Systematic review; human milk composition; breast milk collection; infant health
Rights: © The Author(s). 2018 Open Access This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver ( applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.
DOI: 10.1186/s13643-018-0788-4
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