How much breast milk does an entire country produce in one year? (Hint: Only one country measures it!)

Toni Harman
5 min readJul 25, 2022

A new study reveals the amount of breast milk produced by an entire country in one year. Norway is the only country to estimate how much human milk is produced per year by breastfeeding mothers. The study reveals the true value of a nation investing in proper support for breastfeeding.

How much breast milk does an entire country produce in one year? Hint: Only one country measure it. http://microbiomecourses.com

As you know, breastfeeding is important for a healthy population, and for creating sustainable secure health systems.

But most nations do not include human milk production within their food surveillance reports. Most nations ommit breastfeeding as an indicator of child food security and dietary quality.

Except Norway.

A new study by an Australian and Norwegian based research team reveals the amount of breast milk produced annually by mothers in Norway.

How many other countries monitor consumption of this essential food source?

None.

The Study:

To come up with their estimate, researchers used data on the proportion of children who were breastfed at each month of age (0–24 months), annual number of live births, and an assumption on daily human milk intake at each month.

Then the researchers used the assumption that each breastfeeding mother on average produces 306 litres of milk over 24 months of lactation.

The Results:

So how much milk did Norwegian mothers produce in one year?

The Norwegian Health Directorate estimated total production of human milk for babies and toddlers in Norway in 1983 and 2018/19.

In 1993: 8.2 million litres of human milk were produced.

That’s 69 litres of human milk per child per year.

In 2018–2019: 10.1 million litres of human milk were produced.

That’s 91 litres of human milk per child per year.

Wow.

What is Norway doing right:

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Toni Harman

I help parents and health professionals better understand the science of pregnancy, birth, breastfeeding and the microbiome. https://linktr.ee/toniharman