Table of Contents
- Is hindmilk a different color?
- Do I have a Foremilk Hindmilk imbalance?
- How do I know if baby is getting hindmilk?
- Can you increase fat in breast milk?
- How do I fix a Foremilk Hindmilk Imbalance?
- Is foremilk bad for babies?
- Does hind milk make babies sleepy?
- Foremilk vs. hindmilk
- When should I be concerned about green poop?
- Is it possible for breast milk to be too watery?
- How can I improve the quality of my breast milk?
- How do you make sure you get hindmilk when pumping?
- How long do you have to pump to get hindmilk?
How long does it take to fix a Foremilk Hindmilk Imbalance?
Do Foremilk and Hindmilk Look Different?
Yes, foremilk (the milk your baby receives at the beginning of a feed) is watery compared to hindmilk and usually has a bluish tint. Hindmilk is thicker and usually is a darker creamy color.
How Do I Know If I Have a Foremilk Hindmilk Imbalance?
A foremilk-hindmilk imbalance is apparent when a mother has an oversupply of breast milk. If you don't have an oversupply, then you do not need to worry about the fat content of your milk. See how to recognize the signs of an oversupply of breast milk.
Typically, the foremilk will combine with whatever milk was previously left in the breast, and the baby will drink both foremilk and hindmilk in just the right quantities. This is the perfect food for your baby, but when you have an oversupply of milk, it can result in your baby drinking too much of the watery foremilk before the hindmilk can get to the nipple. When this happens, the baby ingests too much lactose, which will cause gas, pain, and green, explosive foamy stools.
How Do I Know If Baby Is Getting Hindmilk?
You know your baby is not getting enough hindmilk when you answer yes to most of the following:
- You have an oversupply of milk.
- Your baby has foamy, watery, explosive stools.
- Your baby has blood in their stools.
- Your baby's stool is green.
- Your baby is fussy most of the time.
- Your baby is excessively gassy.
- Your baby has a constant diaper rash.
- Your baby spits up excessively.
- Your baby is not gaining enough weight.
- Your baby chokes during feedings.
- You are engorged and may struggle with plugged ducts.
How Can I Increase My Hindmilk?
To increase the amount of hindmilk your baby takes in and increase the amount of fat in your breast milk, you can do the following:
- Make sure to empty your breasts. Allow your baby to drink from one breast per feeding session. This will ensure the maximum amount of milk is removed from the breast. If you switch breasts during feeding, your baby is less likely to reach the fattier hindmilk. (read more about block feeding below)
- Expressing some milk before you breastfeed will help you get to the hindmilk and ensure that the breast is drained sufficiently.
- Take advantage of breast compressions. Breast compressions help get the milk flowing more freely and encourage more let-downs. Fatty milk is more likely to move towards the nipple when using breast compression.
- Like the saying "you are what you eat," your breast milk's quality and fat content can be improved by the foods you eat. By eating more healthy fats and protein in the form of whole foods such as tofu, chickpeas, nuts, chia seeds, avocado, coconut oil, and so on, you can change the fat percentage in your breast milk.
- This supplement reduces the solidity of the fats in breast milk, enabling it to flow more freely. How sunflower lecithin benefits breastfeeding.
- Be sure to have your baby's latch checked. A shallow latch will lead to inferior milk transfer.
How Do I Fix a Foremilk Hindmilk Imbalance?
Block feeding is usually the answer. It is best to avoid the timing or scheduling of feedings. Block feeding releases Serotonin in the breast, which helps to reduce the production of milk. The longer a breast goes unemptied, the more Serotonin will be released.
How to block feed:
- Breastfeed from only one breast per feeding session—alternate breasts with each session or every two to three hours.
- Empty the other breast a little if it feels painfully full.
- Avoid partially emptying both breasts, as this only makes oversupply worse.
How Long Does It Take to Fix a Foremilk Hindmilk Imbalance?
Usually, it will take only one week of block feeding to fix an oversupply issue. Sometimes it might be necessary to empty only one breast for two consecutive feedings instead of just one. (see block feeding above)
Can Too Much Foremilk Be Bad for Babies?
It can cause gassiness, pain, and explosive green stools. The large amounts of lactose can irritate the gut, often resulting in small amounts of blood in the stool. An untreated lactose overload could lead to failure to thrive and dehydration.
Does Hind Milk Make Babies Sleepy?
Yes, in a way, hindmilk does make a baby sleepy. Just like eating a big meal will make you feel lazy and tired. Is hindmilk more filling? Yes, hIndmilk is rich and creamy and helps to satisfy your baby's hunger.
Breastmilk naturally contains an amino acid called Tryptophan, which helps induce and regulate sleep. These amino acids promote the production of Melatonin (the sleep hormone). More and more Tryptophan is found in breast milk as the day continues, with the highest levels at night! Whether hindmilk has anything to do with this is up for debate, but breast milk, in general, will help your baby settle down and get a good night's rest.
Is Hindmilk Better Than Foremilk?
No. Foremilk is there to quench your baby's thirst, and hindmilk provides all the fats your baby needs to grow and gain weight. Both are very important and are the perfect food for babies in the correct balance. Again, you only need to worry about an imbalance if you have an overproduction of milk.
What About Green Poop?
There are many possible reasons for this. Green stools are more common than you might think. You only need to be concerned about green poop if it is accompanied by constant fussiness and if the stools are foamy and explosive—other common reasons for green stools.
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Why Is My Breastmilk Clear and Watery?
Immediately after birth, a mother will produce colostrum, which has a yellowish tinge and is also quite thick compared to mature milk. When the mature milk comes in (around days 3 to 5), you will notice that your milk is more fluid and lighter in color. It is normal for mature breast milk to look watery.
How Can I Improve the Quality of My Breast Milk?
- Breast massage can significantly improve breast milk's solids, lipids, casein, and gross energy levels! Breast massage, therefore, enhances the quality of milk. (1)
- Ensure that you are eating enough calories every day. Use our calorie calculator to determine how many calories you need to eat while breastfeeding.
- If you do not have an oversupply of milk, you can use the following to increase the fat content of your milk. Barley grass and barley water can improve the quality and quantity of breast milk by making it more nutrient-rich and creamy. Flaxseed contains estrogenic properties that increase milk's fat content and supply. See our lactation cookie recipe. Do not eat lactogenic foods if you already have an oversupply issue; doing so could put you at risk for plugged ducts and mastitis.
How Do I Get More Hindmilk When Pumping?
- Always use breast compression during pumping and breastfeeding to ensure that the milk flows freely.
- Breast massage in-between pumping sessions will help increase the milk's fat content. (1)
How to Deal With a Lactose Overload
References1. Composition of Milk Foda, Mervat I.*; Kawashima, Takaaki†; Nakamura, Sadako†; Kobayashi, Michiko‡; Oku, Tsuneyuki†