Foremilk hindmilk imbalance is one of the most common breastfeeding problems and usually occurs due to wrong information and misconceptions of how breastfeeding works.
Colostrum is produced only a few days before and after giving birth. It is the clear liquid that is very rich in nutrients and antibodies…read more about colostrum and its benefits.
What is foremilk? Foremilk is the milk that is lying in the front of your breast's milk producing cells (alveoli); this is the first milk that baby drinks with a breastfeeding session and this milk is watery compared to hind milk and is usually bluish in color. Foremilk is also abundant in carbohydrates, protein and vitamins.
What is hindmilk? Hind milk is the milk further at the back of your breast's milk producing cells (alveoli), that is calorie loaded and much higher in fat percentage; it also looks thicker and darker in color.
So why this difference in milk?
When the milk is produced it passes the alveoli (milk producing cells). Most of the fat in the milk then sticks on the back side of these, resulting in hind milk and the rest of the milk collects in the front of the alveoli. (less fatty foremilk)
So the fat actually just becomes stuck further back in the breast's alveoli, and this is what causes the large difference between the milk in the beginning of a feed and the milk at the end. The fat content in the milk increases gradually during a feed as the fat globules are released from the alveoli.
The longer Mom waits between feedings, the more foremilk is allowed to collect and the longer it will take before baby receives the hind milk.
The high lactose level found in the foremilk is important for energy and brain development and also quenches baby’s thirst. The hind milk is important for growth and helps baby feel full.
Foremilk hindmilk imbalance
~ Interesting Fact ~
The less breast milk a Mom has in her breast, the higher the fat content will be.
What is a Foremilk Hindmilk Imbalance ?
This happens when Mom allows baby to breastfeed only for a few minutes on each side; it will result in baby becoming full on only foremilk which again results in an oversupply of lactose, causing gassiness and foamy green explosive stools.
For this reason it is so important that Mom allows baby to drink from one breast until it seems empty (breasts are never fully empty because they are constantly producing milk) before offering the other breast. This will ensure that baby receives the foremilk and hind milk. The hind milk will fill baby more and decrease colic symptoms and explosive stools.
Sometimes Mom might have an oversupply of foremilk which will also result in a foremilk imbalance problem. What causes this? Breastfeeding too often, and not allowing baby to finish one breast at a time.
How can you fix this? Do not allow baby to comfort feed if you already have an oversupply of milk (flutter sucking usually indicates comfort sucking)
Foremilk Hindmilk Imbalance Symptoms
* Green frothy explosive stools.
* Baby spits up a lot.
* Baby wanting to breastfeed all the time; not becoming satisfied.
* Blood in stools.
* Slow weight gain.
* Diaper rash due to acidic stools.
* Baby has a bowel movement immediately after feedings.
The Causes of a Hindmilk Foremilk Imbalance
* Oversupply (read more on how to handle oversupply).
* Nursing for short frequent feedings.
How to Prevent or Stop a Fore milk Hind milk Imbalance
* To prevent this, Moms should breastfeed only from one breast with each breastfeeding session. If the other breast becomes a bit engorged (overfull), Mom can just express some of the milk until her breast feels less full and tight.
* If Mom has an oversupply of breast milk, she can pump out some of the breastmilk before breastfeeding to ensure that baby receives the hind milk as well as foremilk.
* To remedy the imbalance, Mom can breastfeed from each side for a separate 12 to 24 hours. (To prevent engorgement you can express some milk).
* How to reduce breast milk supply: If Mom has an oversupply, she can try reducing milk supply by drinking Sage tea or using cabbage leaves.
* Usually the oversupply is accompanied by a forceful letdown. (Read more on overactive and under active milk let down here).
NB – Information update
Whether foremilk/hindmilk is the reason for problems is a matter of debate at the moment.
The existence of foremilk or hindmilk is questioned.
Updates will be published as soon as this issue has been cleared.
Other pages on “breastfeeding problems” in connection with foremilk hindmilk imbalance
- Lactose intolerance in the breastfed baby
- Breastfeeding on demand
- Breast engorgement
- Overabundant milk supply
- Breastfeeding overfeeding
Want to share your stories? Ask a question or just say hello...
Click below to see contributions from other visitors to this page...
I have a one month old who has symptoms of a mom with milk imbalance or overproduction of fore milk. I'm currently feeding off one breast per feeding, …
My baby is 6 weeks now and I'm not sure whether I have oversupply letdown. But it has been a week now that my baby latches properly for 5 minutes and …
Not enough wet diapers
My daughter is 7 months old and I have a problem wit her not eating to much, she only snacks. She only wets two diapers a day.. What can I do??
My baby is 4 and a half months and I have introduced one formula bottle a day which he can throw alot of it up as he has a reflux problem. We have …
a lot of gas
Hello my name is Joana. I have a 7 month old girl and I was wondering if is normal for my baby to have alot of gases, and also she only eats in one breast …
I'm wondering if there is a printable copy of this article that I would have permission to hand out to my clients.
I have a month old daughter who is suffering terribly. I have been breastfeeding since she was born November, 2011. I decided to pump vs. acutal breastfeeding …
Avoiding foremilk, hindmilk imbalance while pumping
My 10 week old is eating 48 oz a day and I think it's because of this foremilk/hindmilk imbalance. He can't be satisfied and he wants more! He is supposed …
Is this a sign of foremilk/hindmilk imbalance?
My baby is 4mnths old,breastfed with formula being given once in a day.Also she is given TriViSol 0.5ml daily. She passed green pasty poop after a week …
Block feeding - foremilk/hindmilk imbalance Not rated yet
I have been block feeding my baby since 3 weeks old due to oversupply. but now at 10 weeks he has started to produce green explosive poos which has been …
Too much Fore Milk? Not rated yet
I think my baby has this issue. Lots of green foamy diapers and gasy baby. When I pump, I get 4 oz out. When the milk seperates in the fridge, it is …
Too much hind milk??? Not rated yet
Hi, your website is fantastic and I owe you my sanity!! I have an issue though. My son is now 4 months old and I'm back at work this week. For a few …
Block nursing!! Not rated yet
Block nursing works! My 4 week old LO now nurses twice from the same breast. His stools has become yellow again (instead of green), his tummy hurts him …
Big help Not rated yet
The best web site! Thank you.
new mummy Not rated yet
ahh m feeling so relieved m gonna do what i read ...my son has same symptoms for 3 days n i was so worried he has yellow n green vinegary stools 3 to 4 …
This was AWESOME! Not rated yet
This was loaded w/ info and not a lengthy read! Quick and to the point and very detailed!! I found the info I wanted/needed, all my questions were answered …
finally some answers! Not rated yet
This actually helped out a whole lot. I couldn't figure out why my daughter kept passing green watery bowel movements. Now I get why! It makes a whole …
Thank you! Not rated yet
This article helped me so much. When my daughter was two weeks old, I talked to a nurse about how often and how much she was spitting up. Her advice was …
too much foremilk Not rated yet
i often know when piper is getting too much foremilk and not enough hindmilk when her stools are green and yes this is strange but they also smell vinegary.... …