Breastfeeding Norfolk Blog

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Relax; it's all breastmilk

Nikki Adlam

Hi – Jan here again.


I've been promising myself and others that I would write something sensible and simple about breastmilk in relation to "getting to the fatty creamy bit". So many mums worry that their babies are lacking this part of their milk and often ask about it.


Well the good news is that it's all the same milk. What I mean by this is that there's no division between what has come to be known as "foremilk and hindmilk"; in fact research into breastmilk tells us that there is fat from the start of the breastfeed, so in the "foremilk". The "hindmilk" is put simply, the fattier part of the milk that sticks to the milk sacs for longest which is why our old friends positioning and attachment are so important.


Another little gem is that offering babies both breasts at each feed is a great thing as it encourages milk supply, makes it less likely that blocked milk ducts will form, and we know that regularly fed from, therefore softer breasts have a greater fat volume available to the baby as the baby reaches it faster.


So a simple way of answering the "foremilk/hindmilk" question is for every mum to be sure that her baby is positioned to get a deep attachment to breastfeed, and then allow the feed to finish before offering the second breast. Sometimes babies only want one side and will have a little snooze before having the second, and I've met babies who just don't want both breasts. Most often I've noticed that mums with larger breasts and therefore greater storage capacity have the "one breast not two" babies. The key really is to offer, not force!


My youngest baby is now 26, and in my generation of mums a common theme was "having the quantity but not the quality". Unfortunately, so many seeds of doubt can be sown in mums. Getting together with other breastfeeding mums really helps, although sometimes a competitive element can emerge, so be aware that every mum and baby is different, and mums are experts in their own babies and not everybody else's!