Mother’s milk or breastmilk is the very first food the baby consumes after birth. From immunity to nutrient intake and balance, mother’s milk provides all of it to the baby. Breast milk is generally known to have two components – foremilk and hindmilk. Hence, any imbalance in the composition of foremilk and hind milk can badly affect the health of the baby. Read more to understand what is foremilk and hind milk imbalance and ways to overcome them.
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What are hind milk and fore milk?
Hindmilk and foremilk are not at all separate milk. These terms indicate the time of feeding whether in the beginning or end of feeding the baby. The breast milk that the infant receives at the beginning of a nursing session is referred to as foremilk; it contains less fat and more water. As breastfeeding continues, the amount of breast milk decreases and its fatty content steadily rises. The hindmilk is the breast milk that is produced at the end of the nursing session and has a lower volume but a much higher fat content.
Also, check NUTRITIONAL NEEDS FOR BREASTFEEDING MOMS
What is hind milk and foremilk imbalance?
Hindmilk and foremilk imbalance is a condition where breast milk does not have a good mixture of hindmilk and foremilk for feeding the baby.
Usually, the mother’s breast produces only one type of milk which is naturally rich in fat. But, as the feeding is continued, the amount of fat in the breast milk varies. When the milk is produced in the breast, the globules of the fat in the milk stick to each other and move towards the walls of the alveoli. When there is a gap between the feedings, the milk gets collected inside the breast and then slowly moves towards the nipples leaving behind the fat in the milk ducts. When there is more gap between the two feedings, the fat content in the milk reduces in comparison with the fat content at the beginning of the feeding.
Causes of hind milk and foremilk imbalance:
When the baby is breastfed in the proper manner, it receives a good mixture of hindmilk and foremilk. However, the baby when too hungry and quickly drinks the milk, or when the baby switches between breasts, there will not be proper mixing of foremilk and hindmilk and as a result, the baby consumes more foremilk than the hindmilk.
Also, check HOW TO INCREASE BREAST MILK: 7 FOODS TO EAT?
Symptoms of hindmilk and foremilk imbalance:
1. Baby when passes blood in poop:
When there is foremilk and hindmilk imbalance while baby feeds, there is more pressure on the digestive system. They may pass gas which causes their sensitive anal area and intestine to be pressurized frequently. This might result in the blood spots occuring in the poop of the baby.
Also, check BABY POOP TYPES AND COLOUR: WHAT DOES IT MEAN?
2. Regular and Repetitive Problems of digestion:
Milk imbalance usually causes digestion problems regularly. The major evidence for that is gastric problem. Babies may fart more often and burp many times in this case.
3. Reduced weight:
Breast milk forms a strong foundation for a baby’s nutrition as it facilitates weight gain and builds the fat necessary to keep the body warm and immune. But, as the hindmilk contains more of these nutrients than the foremilk, any imbalance in their composition may result in reduced weight of the baby.
Also, check HOW TO INCREASE WEIGHT IN BABIES?
4. Required to feed more frequently:
As the hindmilk has more fat, it fills up the stomach of the baby and makes him feel satisfied. If there is no hindmilk, the foremilk which is thin and light cannot satisfy the baby and the baby demands to be fed more and more.
5. Occurrence of diaper rashes:
The hindmilk and foremilk imbalance changes the whole milk’s nature. It may result in slightly acidic milk, resulting in difficulties in pooping, leading to diaper rashes.
6. Gastric Problems:
The baby may suffer from stomach pain due to gas, and sometimes colic attacks. Some babies release gas by farting and burping but others may not do that. As a result, the stomach muscles may tighten and spasm, and your child may tend to cry loudly, and may sleep in a foetal position to relieve the pain. It may also result in a swollen belly.
7. Babies may poop immediately after being breastfed:
In case of an imbalance of hindmilk and foremilk, there will be a larger amount of foremilk which hardly gives the stomach and intestines any time to do their work. Milk now passes directly forward, resulting in immediate bowel movement and poop.
8. Unnatural texture and nature of poop:
A Baby’s poop indicates how healthy the child is and whether or not the baby is receiving the right nutrition. Breast milk, if imbalanced, will contain more lactose than usual. The baby’s poop may get a green tint and liquid nature rather than solid.
How to combat foremilk and hind milk imbalance?
Give Breastfeeding the Time and Patience it Deserves:
For most of the mothers and every baby, breastfeeding is a new experience. After many trials and errors, both will adjust to each other’s preferences, positions, and time schedules and finally end up on the one that works for both. So, it’s important for both baby and mother to be patient so that the breastfeeding experience is comfortable.
Pump Out a Little Milk Before Breastfeeding Your Baby:
Foremilk comes first before the fatty hindmilk. Hence, it’s important to pump out some of it before feeding the baby if it is getting full by the foremilk itself. This would frame a good balance of both foremilk and hindmilk, enabling the baby the right kind of nutrition.
Having a break in between breastfeeding cycles:
It’s common for many moms to finish one breast’s milk before switching to the other. This gap is much more before continuing the feeding by the other breast. It’s good to make the child burp and then giving him some rest ensures that he can feed for a longer time and mom can get a good proportion of hindmilk, too.
Trying different breastfeeding positions:
In cases of milk imbalance, lying on your side helps to provide a good flow of milk, also helps the baby to take a small nap in between feeding, and makes him drink more. Otherwise, you can lie down and place the baby on top of you or adopt an upright position of sitting, which helps to give the baby more control over feeding.
Also, check 12 BEST FOODS TO INCREASE BREAST MILK SUPPLY
Initiate Breastfeeding the Moment Your Baby Is Hungry:
If the child is hungry for a longer time, it will become more aggressive and his breastfeeding will be devouring. This may result in drinking higher foremilk compared to hindmilk. Immediately feed him once you understand he is hungry and he will get both kinds of milk in the right proportion.
Extend Your Feeding Duration as Much as Possible:
The breastfeeding cycle of a baby can be compared to a three-course meal. The foremilk increases the appetite, whereas the hind milk supplies the majority of the proportion of a meal. Biologically, the hindmilk may take some time to start flowing from your breast. Hence, by increasing your breastfeeding time frame, you can make sure a fulfilled meal for your baby each time.
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