Foremilk VS Hindmilk
If you’re a new mom nursing your baby, there’s probably a lot that you’re still learning about breastfeeding.
One little-known aspect of breastfeeding is that the quality of your milk changes during an encounter. It changes from watery foremilk to creamier hindmilk towards the end.
What is the difference between foremilk and hindmilk?
Foremilk is what your baby gets at the start of a feeding session. It is watery, lower in fat, and slightly higher in lactose. In comparison, hindmilk is thicker, calorie-rich, and has a higher fat content. And your baby receives it at the end of a feeding session.
Foremilk satisfies your baby’s hunger, while hindmilk provides them with essential macronutrients for growth.
Often, your baby might be receiving too much foremilk without much hindmilk. It is known as foremilk/hindmilk imbalance.
What happens if my baby only drinks foremilk?
Since foremilk is released earlier in the feeding session, babies often get too full from it without drinking up much hindmilk. If this happens, your baby is getting less fat in their diet since hindmilk contains more fat.
The lower fat content of your baby’s diet means that food gets digested more quickly without giving the digestive system time to properly break down lactose and other important nutrients in your baby’s diet.
This undigested lactose gets accumulated in your baby’s gut causing bloating and symptoms of imbalance which can include:
- Increased irritability after a feeding session
- Watery or foamy stools
- Increased bloating and gassiness
- Short feeding sessions
How to know if my baby is getting hindmilk?
The biggest indicator of your baby getting hindmilk is the duration of feeding. Usually, it takes about 10-15 minutes into a feeding session for your baby to start receiving hindmilk. If they feed for long enough, it means they’re getting proper amounts of both kinds of milk.
The absence of imbalanced symptoms and good health progress also indicate that your baby is feeding properly. If you still have questions, feel free to consult a Lactation Consultant for help! At Willow Midwife Center, midwives are trained to assist with breastfeeding; and phone support is available for our clients 24/7. We also have International Board-Certified Lactation Consultants to refer you to if more intensive help is required.
If you ever have any questions, please don’t hesitate to give us a call!