It is known that breast milk empties more quickly from the stomach than does infant formula. We studied the difference in gastroduodenal motility between neonates fed with human milk and those fed with infant formula. Twenty-four five-to 36-day-old neonates were fed with mother's breast milk or with a cow's milk-based formula. Postprandlial gastroduodenal contractions were recorded manometrically for three hours. Repetitive, high-amplitude nonmigrating contractions were the dominant wave form during the postprandial period. The number of episodes, duration, amplitude, and frequency of nonmigrating contractions were not different following the different feedings. The migrating myoelectric complex, which signals a return to the interdigestive (fasting) state, appeared in 75% of breast milk-fed infants but only 17% of formula-fed infants (P < .05) within the three-hour recording period. Because contractions were similar following the two meals, but a fasting state recurred more rapidly in breast-fed infants, we conclude that factors other than phasic, nonpropagated antroduodenal contractions were responsible for the differences in gastric emptying between breast milk and formula.

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