Importance of Hindmilk in Breastfeeding

Importance of Hindmilk in Breastfeeding

As a new mother, you want the best for your little one. Breastfeeding is the best way to ensure your baby gets the best nutrition for good health and growth. The numerous advice and information can overwhelm the mother. Advised and being informed is good, as it is beneficial to feed the baby in the right manner. Information also helps in clearing doubts or concerns regarding breastfeeding and makes the mother do the right thing. One such concern nowadays is Hind milk and its importance. There are a lot of questions floating around regarding Hind milk, read on the article to know in detail about Hind milk and its importance in breastfeeding.

What Is Hindmilk?

Breast milk is differentiated in two broad parts- foremilk and hindmilk. The general perception is the breast produces only one type of milk. The milk produced at the starting of feeding is called the foremilk and the milk produced towards the end or remainder of feeding is called the hindmilk. At the start of the feed, your baby gets access to the breast milk closest to your nipple. During milk production, the fat in the breast milk sticks to sides of the cells which produce milk. The watery part of the milk flows easily in the starting towards the nipple and there it mixes with the leftover milk from the last feed and so the milk at the starting of the feed is a bit watery and has fewer milk fats. This visually thinner milk is called the foremilk. The fat which was stuck to the cells making milk, mix with the leftover milk or the milk located deep in the breast. This milk is slightly thicker as the watery part has already flowed out.

This thicker milk towards the end of the feed is called Hind Milk. As the baby keeps on feeding, he/she pulls the milk from deep within or from where the fatty cells are located and feed on the thicker milk. So we can say hindmilk definition is the milk which is stored deep in fatty cells of breast and the baby gets at the end of the feed. This creamy white milk has higher calories and fats as compared to the milk at the starting of the feed. Hind milk is visibly thicker and creamier in taste than the foremilk. As the hindmilk has more calories and fats, it satiates your baby for long hours and makes them feel full and fall asleep. Though both foremilk and hindmilk are the same milk produced by the same individual, the difference between foremilk and hindmilk is the fat content and visible appearance.

Importance of Hindmilk

Hindmilk is similar to foremilk, though has more calories and fat in comparison. During the full feeding, your baby feeds on both foremilk and hindmilk. Full feeding is important for the nutrition of the baby as well as the breast to produce more milk. Your baby will become healthy, gain weight and have proper development on the basis of the volume of milk they consume or ingest not on the basis of the fat content of the milk. So the more they feed on breast milk, then more it is beneficial for their development and the more milk is produced. Nurse your baby till they are satiated and satisfied, as the amount of milk not the volume of hindmilk or foremilk will contribute to their health.

Does Hindmilk Help Underweight Babies?

Parents especially mothers sometimes feel their baby is not growing adequately. In case you feel your baby is not growing adequately or have any concern with the baby’s weight, you should visit the baby’s doctor. The doctor can guide and advise you regarding your baby’s weight and growth and suggest special measures to ensure your baby grows well. Sometimes the baby doesn’t drink enough milk or complete their full feed. Then the baby’s doctor might suggest feed more of hindmilk to your baby as it has more calories and fats. A simple way to feed more hindmilk is to first pump for 1-2 minutes before you start nursing your baby. When you first pump, then the initial breast milk or foremilk is removed. Your baby will now drink more of hindmilk which is high in calories and fats.

Sometimes the mother is not producing enough milk, so the baby may be underweight due to not getting enough nourishment. In such a scenario don’t pump before you nurse the baby. Instead, ensure the baby gets ample breast milk and feeds on both sides until the breasts are empty. This will create a demand for breast milk and more milk supply will be there.

Does Hindmilk Help Premature Babies?

Premature babies are babies born before nine months of pregnancy or before the completion of pregnancy. As the baby was born premature, they might have certain health issues or are weak in health and weight. Sometimes they are kept in the hospital for proper care for a long duration. If your baby is premature, then to increase their weight you can feed them hindmilk which has high-calories and high-fat. This will help the baby in gaining weight. In case your baby is in hospital, then talk to the baby’s doctor or the hospital staff about feeding your baby hindmilk.

Symptoms That Baby Is Getting More of Foremilk And Less of Hindmilk

To gain weight and feel satisfied, your baby needs to drink more volume of hindmilk. To ensure your baby gets enough hindmilk, he/she should breastfeed long enough to get a full feeding. Sometimes the baby doesn’t get enough hindmilk due to overabundant milk supply, as when the baby gets more of foremilk and he/she is full before they get to the hindmilk. In such a scenario, breastfeed your baby from only one breast during each feeding, to enable them to reach the hindmilk. There are few symptoms which indicate your baby is feeding on or getting more supply of foremilk and less of hindmilk.  The symptoms are:

Though sometimes these symptoms can be normal and have no concern for worrying about your baby’s growth.

How Can You Make More Hindmilk?

Few mothers get worried that they might not be making enough hindmilk. You can increase hindmilk production by a few easy methods. Hind milk production increases as you start making more breast milk. The easiest means to increase breast milk production is the baby demanding more milk. The more the baby consumes, the more milk is produced. In case the baby is not feeding on the entire milk, then the leftover hindmilk will mix with new milk and make the foremilk for the next feed. You can pump and store leftover fatty hindmilk if your baby doesn’t feed on entire breast milk. Pumping hindmilk will provide stimulation to your breasts and increase your milk production or supply. You can also feed your baby more frequently to help your body make more milk. Milk production is dependent on demand, more the demand and more the supply.

Steps to Separate and Store Hindmilk

Steps to Separate and Store Hindmilk
You produce more breast milk than your baby consumes. This results in the baby not getting enough hindmilk, as he/she is already full by drinking the foremilk. To rectify this, you can store your hindmilk and feed them later on. You also need to store hindmilk, in case your baby is prematurely born. Feeding more of hindmilk will result in premature baby gaining weight and becoming healthy. To collect only hindmilk, you need to separate it from the foremilk. You will need a breast pump to separate and store the hindmilk. Few steps to separate and store hindmilk are:

  • When you begin pumping your breast milk, initially for the first few minutes it will be thin and watery foremilk. Pump and collect this foremilk in a separate container.
  • Now take a new container and continue pumping your breast milk. You will see thicker and creamier breast milk. This is hindmilk. Keep pumping till your breasts are empty.
  • To avoid confusion separately label the containers as foremilk and hindmilk.
  • Keep them in the refrigerator for future use.

Breast milk is important for your baby as it provides all the essential nutrients required for their proper growth.  Your baby just needs to consume ample breast milk to grow and develop. Though in some cases, your baby might need the hindmilk more than the foremilk. Mostly your body produces enough milk for your baby naturally. However, if you feel, you are not producing sufficient milk, consult your baby’s doctor.

Also Read:

Hindmilk and Foremilk Imbalance
Side-Lying Breastfeeding Position
Foods That Increase Your Breast Milk Supply

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Ruchelle has a vast experience working with clients in hospitality, health and wellness, entertainment, real estate, and retail. She aims to utilise her learnings to deliver quality content which will in turn help drive sales and customer engagement.