How to Know the Difference Between Foremilk and Hindmilk

Breastfeeding offers your child all the nutrition they need in the first six months of life, and mothers produce two kinds of milk, the foremilk and the hindmilk.

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Up next in How to Feed Your Baby (19 videos)

Learn how to feed your baby properly with these Howcast videos. Advice includes how to know the difference between foremilk and hindmilk; how to increase breast milk production; how to pick finger foods for your baby; how to know when to stop breastfeeding; how to start your baby on solid food; how to bottle feed a baby; how to use a breast pump; how to make baby food; how to burp a baby; and much more.

You Will Need

  • Breastfeeding baby

Steps

  1. Step 1

    Recognize the foremilk

    Understand that foremilk has a thinner consistency. The foremilk is the milk that, when nursing, a baby will draw first; it has a lower fat content and higher lactose content.

  2. Step 2

    Recognize the hindmilk

    Understand that hindmilk has a thicker, creamier consistency. The hindmilk is the milk behind the foremilk. The baby will receive the hindmilk after drawing the foremilk.

  3. Step 3

    Understand the difference

    Understand that the difference is in the fat content. Your baby will receive the foremilk first, and this will quench their thirst; the hindmilk will come next and will relieve your child's hunger because it is richer and fattier than the foremilk.

  4. Your child instinctively knows how long to suckle to get what they need. They will suck lighter if they are thirsty and harder when they are hungry.

  5. Step 4

    Comprehend the process

    Understand the process of milk production. When the mother produces milk, fat clings to the milk-making cells and the watery part moves towards the milk ducts, where it will mix with unused milk and become the foremilk, while the fattier liquid stays higher up in the breast.

  6. Step 5

    Recognize an imbalance

    Recognize that while your body normally naturally produces a balanced mix of foremilk and hindmilk, sometimes an imbalance can occur. If your child is not gaining weight or seems fussy, it could be due to an imbalance.

  7. Step 6

    Correct the imbalance

    Correct a hindmilk/foremilk imbalance if it occurs by feeding your child on one side per feeding. If your child wants to nurse again within a few hours, try to feed them on the same side. This way the baby will empty the breast of both foremilk and hindmilk and can also help to slow down your milk production.

  8. Research has shown that people who were breastfed often have lower blood pressure and cholesterol, as well as lower obesity and type-2 diabetes rates.

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