All breastfeeding moms are aware about foremilk and hind milk. They very often ask, “How do I know that my baby is getting the hind milk?”
Why do they want to be so sure that their baby is getting the hind milk? That is because of their general belief that the foremilk is rich in lactose (i.e. the main carbohydrate in the breast milk) and is more watery, whereas hind milk is rich in fat. Hence they want to be sure that their baby gets the fat rich milk, which will satisfy the baby’s hunger and help in his weight gain.
What these moms need to understand is that these terminologies are used to indicate milk at the beginning of the nursing session (foremilk) and milk at the end of the feeding(hind milk). This change from foremilk to hind milk is very gradual and there is no sharp distinction between the two. Research from Dr. Peter Hartman’s group (University of Western Australia) tells us that the fat content of the milk is primarily determined by the EMPTINESS OF THE BREAST-THE LESS MILK IN THE BREAST,THE HIGHER THE FAT CONTENT.
As a mother begins to nurse, the milk starts pouring out in the baby’s mouth. As the milk ejection reflexes gradually get stronger, they tend to dislodge the fat globules held up in the milk producing tissue in the breast. So as the feed progresses, the milk ejection reflexes get stronger and hence the fat content in the breast milk.
Thus the more frequently the mother nurses, more the breast stays empty and it is possible in these situations for the fat content to be higher in the beginning of the feed rather than the end.
Hence the message to all moms is – TRY TO NURSE ON ONE BREAST COMPLETELY, SO AS TO EMPTY IT THOROUGHLY, AND THEN NURSE ON THE OTHER BREAST.