Many mothers become exhausted because the demands of seemingly breastfeeding a baby round the clock create for them a lot of stress. How do you keep your breastfed baby fuller for longer, enabling them to sleep so you can also catch forty winks or do something interesting? We know that healthy mothers make healthy babies, so your wellbeing is a priority too.
You may have heard about hind milk. Hind milk is the thicker, creamier latter part of breastmilk that comes as your baby feeds or you express breastmilk. Hind milk keeps your baby more satisfied for longer. It is also responsible for better weight gain, because it contains more fat and calories than foremilk. The initial part of the breastmilk, known as foremilk, serves more to quench your baby’s thirst than to keep him full for long. If your baby doesn’t get enough hind milk, you may find an occasional green poop, or poop that is foamy.
During a breastfeed, when does foremilk change into hind milk? There is no specific moment when foremilk changes into hind milk. It mostly happens gradually during a feed, so it is really no use watching the clock when you breastfeed. What is important is to empty the breasts, because we know hind milk is the latter part of the milk. Sometimes, your baby may not empty one breast during a feed. If you can remember which breast it is, you can start with same breast at the next feed. Apart from your baby getting enough hind milk, emptying the breast increases your milk supply as well.
Foremilk is not always light. It is sometimes high fat, like hind milk. This is the case when your baby feeds frequently. It is only when there is a prolonged interval between feeds that foremilk is low fat and more of a thirst-quencher. So don’t get hooked on whether your baby is feeding on foremilk or hind milk unless you have been told that your baby is gaining weight poorly, which is actually rare among breastfed babies. However, if your baby really is gaining weight poorly and you have an over-abundant milk supply, you may consider pumping for a minute or two to get rid of some of the fore-milk before starting to feed.
Both parts of breastmilk are important. Nature has got it right. Whether it is foremilk or hind milk, be sure to empty the breasts. This will keep your baby fuller for longer.