for females ages 18-59 (full criteria)
Healthy Volunteers
healthy people welcome
study started
estimated completion



This study will investigate the effects of breastfeeding and breastmilk composition on infant gut microbiome development as well as obesity and cognitive outcomes. Breast milk contains certain natural sugars that can promote the growth of 'good' bacteria in the intestines and reduce the growth of harmful bacteria. The purpose of this study is to look at the effects of these natural sugars in breast milk on the infant's bacteria and the impact of this on development of obesity and cognitive outcomes by 2 years of age with plans for longer term follow up contingent upon funding.

Official Title

Mother's Milk Study: Determining the Impact of Human Milk Oligosaccharides (HMOs) on Healthy Infant Growth and Development


This project will examine specific factors in breast milk that may impact infant's gut microbiome development, and thereby impact their adiposity and weight gain in early life. An important early-life experience that could meaningfully impact the development of the gut microbiome, as well as future obesity risk, is breastfeeding. Breast milk has been shown to contain certain macronutrients (human milk oligosaccharides; HMOs) that not only vary greatly among women, but recent studies suggest that these factors are significant predictors of infant weight gain and adiposity. Examining early onset obesity during infancy is important because accelerated weight gain and adiposity in the first few years of life are major predictors for later obesity, and because neuronal, metabolic, and gut microbiome systems are especially vulnerable by programming from nutritional and maternal factors during this stage of life. This study will be conducted in Los Angeles. The investigators will recruit two-hundred-and-forty mother-infant pairs. Mothers and infants will be monitored during the first 36 months of life, with sampling of breast milk (while the mother is still breast feeding) and infant and maternal stool at 1, 6, 12, 18, and 24 months of age (or as close as possible to each month). Only an infant stool sample will be collected at 36 months of age. The main outcomes of this study will be infant body weight-for-length growth during this period, as well as body composition (fat and lean mass), which will be measured by skin-fold thickness using a caliber, height, weight, and waist circumference measurements at 1, 6, 12, 18, 24, and 36 months of infant age (or as close as possible to each month). The investigators will also assess maternal and infant diet using 24-hour recalls, and maternal feeding style and infant eating behaviors using questionnaires.


Obesity microbiome nutrition growth breastfeeding mother infant cognitive development


You can join if…

Open to females ages 18-59

  • Mothers who self-identify as Hispanic
  • Mothers who have or have had singleton births
  • Mothers will be recruited prior to their infant's birth or up to 1-month postpartum
  • Mothers must be able/willing to understand the procedures of the study, and must be able to read English or Spanish at a 5th grade level

You CAN'T join if...

  • Physician diagnosis of a major medical illness (including type 1 or type 2 diabetes) or eating disorder in mothers
  • Physical, mental, or cognitive issues that prevent participation
  • Chronic use of any medication that may affect body weight or composition, insulin resistance, or lipid profiles
  • Current smoking (more than 1 cigarette in the past week) or use of other recreational drugs
  • Clinical diagnosis of gestational diabetes
  • Pre-term/low birth weight infants, or diagnosis of any fetal abnormalities
  • Mothers less than 18 years of age at the time of delivery will not be eligible as to avoid potential confounding from those subjects who might still be completing adolescent growth


  • Children's Hospital Los Angeles accepting new patients
    Los Angeles California 90027 United States


accepting new patients
Start Date
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University of Southern California
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