Yes, foremilk (the milk that your baby receives at the beginning of a feed) is watery when compared to hindmilk and usually has a bluish tint to it. Hindmilk is thicker and usually is a darker creamy color.
How Do I Know If I Have a Foremilk Hindmilk Imbalance?
A foremilk-hindmilk imbalance is apparent when a mother has an oversupply of breast milk. If you don't have an oversupply, then you do not need to worry about the fat content of your milk. See how to recognize the signs of an oversupply of breast milk.
Typically, the foremilk will combine with whatever milk was previously left in the breast, and the baby will drink both foremilk and hindmilk in just the right quantities. This is the perfect food for your baby, but when you have an oversupply of milk, it can result in your baby drinking too much of the watery foremilk before the hindmilk can get to the nipple. When this happens, the baby ingests too much lactose, which will cause gas, pain and green, explosive foamy stools.
To increase the amount of hindmilk your baby takes in and increase the amount of fat in your breast milk you can do the following:
Make sure to empty your breasts. Allow your baby to drink from one breast per feeding session. This will ensure that the maximum amount of milk is removed from the breast. If you switch breasts during a feeding, your baby is less likely to get to the fattier hindmilk. (read more about block feeding below)
Expressing some milk just before you breastfeed will help you get to the hindmilk and will ensure that the breast is drained sufficiently.
Take advantage of breast compressions. Breast compressions help to get the milk flowing more freely and will encourage more let-downs. Fatty milk is more likely to move towards the nipple when using breast compression.
Like the saying "you are what you eat," your breast milk's quality and fat content can be improved by the foods you eat. By eating more healthy fats and protein in the form of whole foods such as tofu, chickpeas, nuts, chia seeds, avocado, coconut oil and so on you can change the fat percentage in your breast milk.
Take a sunflower lecithin supplement. This supplement is used to reduce the solidity of the fats in breast milk, enabling it to flow more freely.
Block feeding is usually the answer. It is best to avoid the timing or scheduling of feedings. Block feeding releases Serotonin in the breast which helps to reduce the production of milk. The longer a breast goes unemptied, the more Serotonin will be released.
How to block feed:
Breastfeed from only one breast per feeding session. Alternate breasts with each session or every two to three hours.
Empty the other breast a little if it feels painfully full.
Avoid partially emptying both breasts, this only makes oversupply worse.
How Long Does It Take to Fix a Foremilk Hindmilk Imbalance?
Usually, it will take only one week of block feeding to fix an oversupply issue. Sometimes it might be necessary to empty only one breast for two consecutive feedings instead of just one. (see block feeding above)
Can Too Much Foremilk Be Bad for Babies?
An oversupply may cause your baby to drink a lot of foremilk, which contains a lot of lactose. Babies have a special enzyme called lactase that digests lactose, but if there is too much lactose, your baby will struggle to digest the milk. This can lead to excessive gassiness, pain, and green, explosive stools. The large amounts of lactose can irritate the gut, which can oftentimes result in small amounts of blood in the stool. A lactose overload that goes untreated could lead to failure to thrive and dehydration.
Does Hind Milk Make Babies Sleepy?
Yes, in a way, hindmilk does make a baby sleepy. Just like eating a big meal will make you feel lazy and sleepy. Is hindmilk more filling? Yes, hIndmilk is rich and creamy and helps to satisfy your baby's hunger.
Breastmilk naturally contains an amino acid called Tryptophan that helps to induce and regulate sleep. These amino acids promote the production of Melatonin (the sleep hormone). More and more Tryptophan is found in breast milk as the day continues with the highest levels at night! Whether hindmilk has anything to do with this is up for debate, but breast milk, in general, will definitely help your baby settle down and get a good nights rest.
Foremilk vs Hindmilk ~ Is Hindmilk Better Than Foremilk?
No, definitely not. Foremilk is there to quench your baby's thirst, and hindmilk provides all the fats your baby needs to grow and gain weight, both of these things are very important, and in the correct balance they are the perfect food for babies. Again, the only time you need to worry about an imbalance is if you have an overproduction of milk.
Why Is My Newborn's Poop Green?
There are many possible reasons for this. Green stools are actually more common than you might think. You only need to be concerned about green poop if it is accompanied by constant fussiness, and if the stools are foamy and explosive. Other common reasons for green stools.
Why Is My Breastmilk Clear and Watery?
Immediately after birth, a mother will produce colostrum, which has a yellowish tinge to it and is also quite thick when compared to mature milk. When the mature milk starts to come in (around day 3 to 5), you will notice that your milk is more fluid and lighter in color. It is normal for mature breast milk to look watery.
How Can I Improve the Quality of My Breast Milk?
Breast massage can significantly improve the levels of solids, lipids, casein and gross energy of breast milk! Breast massage, therefore, enhances the quality of milk. (1)
Ensure that you are eating enough calories every day, use our calorie calculator to determine how many calories you need to eat while breastfeeding.
If you do not have an oversupply of milk you can use the following to increase the fat content of your milk. Barley grass and barley water can improve the quality and quantity of breast milk by making it more nutrient-rich and creamy. Flaxseed contains estrogenic properties that increase the fat content in milk and increases supply. See our lactation cookie recipe. Do not eat lactogenic foods if you already have an oversupply issue, doing so could put you at risk for plugged ducts and mastitis.
Does Pumping Help with Foremilk Hindmilk Imbalance?
Expressing some foremilk just before a breastfeeding session is a good way to get to the hindmilk, but some recommend pumping in-between breastfeeding session to reduce the amount of foremilk in the breasts; this advice could be very counterproductive. If you have an oversupply of milk, pumping could make you produce even more milk!! My recommendation would be to use block nursing (mentioned above) and to avoid expressing milk between breastfeeding sessions.
How Do I Get More Hindmilk When Pumping?
Always use breast compression during pumping and breastfeeding to ensure that the milk flows freely.
Breast massage in-between pumping sessions will help to increase the fat content of the milk. (1)
How Long Do You Have to Pump to Get Hindmilk?
To ensure that you get to the hindmilk when pumping it is imperative that you know how much milk you usually get during a pumping session. Once you have this amount, you can plan to express the first one-third of milk, which is the foremilk and the rest is hindmilk. For example, if you usually pump 90ml per breast, you can pump and dump 30ml of foremilk. The rest can be expressed as hindmilk.