The hormonal and metabolic response to the first feed of breast milk was studied in 12 infants at 4-6 hours of age. After the feed there was an increase in blood glucose concentration but no changes in the concentrations of lactate, pyruvate, alanine, or ketone bodies. The feed was followed by an increase in the concentrations of plasma insulin, growth hormone, gastrin, and enteroglucagon, but no change in levels of plasma glucagon or gastric inhibitory peptide. Several hormone systems are functionally active at birth and are stimulated by the first feed of milk.
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