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The odour of human milk: Its chemical variability and detection by newborns

: Loos, Helene M.; Reger, Daniela; Schaal, Benoist


Physiology & Behavior 199 (2019), pp.88-99
ISSN: 0031-9384
ISSN: 1873-507X
Journal Article
Fraunhofer IVV ()

Human milk odour has for long elicited research interest with regard to its function in breastfeeding initiation. The present review aims to provide an overview of the behavioural effects of human milk odour in the human neonate, considering different types of response measures in a feeding or non-feeding context. Further, an overview of the current knowledge of odorant composition and factors influencing milk odour is provided by summarizing results from analytical studies using olfactometry, and addressing changes in milk odour due to storage, lactational stage, and maternal dietary intake of odorous substances. We finally highlight some issues for future research.