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The Pediatric Forum
October 2003

Odorants in Breast Milk

Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2003;157(10):1031. doi:10.1001/archpedi.157.10.1031

Infants can distinguish the odor of their mother's breast milk from that of other mothers.1 However, infants prefer the odor of other mothers' breast milk to that of formula,2 implying that the pattern of odor compounds liberated from formula differs from that of human milk. To identify odorant compounds of breast milk vs formula, we performed gas chromatography/olfactometry (GC/O) on premature infant formula (Similac Special Care 24 cal/oz; Ross Products, Division of Abbott Laboratories, Columbus, Ohio) and on breast milk from mothers of premature infants. This population was chosen because of our interest in the therapeutic effects of controlled odor exposure on feeding in this population.3

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