Fat supports the normal development of the central nervous system, helps to maintain body temperature, cushions the vital organs, imparts taste and satiety, provides essential fatty acids and helps in absorption of fat soluble vitamins. Lipids play an important role during pregnancy and infancy.
Linoleic acid, is an essential fatty acid and its absence causes problems like dermatitis and inability to thrive. Breast milk contains sufficient linoleic acid as does a formula. Linolenic acid, an omega 3 fatty acid is found in both breast milk and formula. However the other two omega 3 fatty acids- Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) are found only in breast milk. EPA and DHA have physiological significance as they improve the visual acuity and development of the infant.