Breast-feeding Success Among Infants With Phenylketonuria

Sandra A. Banta-Wright, Kathleen C. Shelton, Nancy D. Lowe, Kathleen A. Knafl, Gail M. Houck

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


Breast milk is the nutrition of choice for human infants (American Academy of Pediatrics, 2005; American Association of Family Physicians, 2008; Association of Women's Health Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses, 2005; Canadian Paediatric Society, 2005; U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, 2008; World Health Organization, 2009). In comparison to standard commercial formula, human breast milk has a lower concentration of protein and a lower content of the amino acid phenylalanine (Phe). For infants with phenylketonuria (PKU), these attributes of human breast milk make it ideal as a base source of nutrition. The purpose of this study was to compare the incidence and duration of breast-feeding and corresponding Phe levels of breast-fed and formula-fed infants with PKU in the caseload of a pediatric metabolic clinic at an urban tertiary-care medical center. Charts were reviewed for infants diagnosed with PKU beginning with 2005 and ending with 1980, the year no further breast-feeding cases were identified in the PKU population. During the first year of life, most of the infants, whether breast-fed or formula-fed, had similar mean Phe levels. However, the frequency distributions revealed that more breast-fed infants with PKU had Phe levels within the normal range (120-360 μmol/L) and were less likely to have low Phe levels (<120 μmol/L) than formula-fed infants with PKU. Further research is needed to understand how mothers manage breast-feeding in the context of PKU.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)319-327
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of pediatric nursing
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 2012


  • Breastfeeding
  • Diet therapy
  • Infant-Newborn
  • Phenylalanine
  • Phenylketonuria

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics


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