fat in infant milk

Last reviewed 03/2019

Milks (human and formula) have a fat content of about 4%. The fat in the milk will provide approximately 50% of the neonate's energy intake.

Both cow's milk and human milk contain fat mainly as triglycerides. These are hydrolysed in the stomach to form free fatty acids.

Linoleic acid is an essential free fatty acid and is a precursor for long chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (LCPUFAs) such as arachidonic acid. LCPUFAs are important in the formation of cell membranes. Human milk has five times the content of linoleic acid compared to cow's milk and so supplements of this must be added to cow's milk formulas.