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Fore & Hind milk

  1. #1
    AG2007 is offline Registered User
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    Fore & Hind milk

    I went to the Paed the other day and was told that once breastfeeding is established, the baby gets to the hind milk in about a minute or two - as opposed to about 10-15 mins for a newborn baby. Anyone heard of this as well?

    My baby is now 4 months and is only drinking 5-10 mins (and only 1 breast per feed), but about 7-8 times between 7am-7pm and then 3-4 times between 10pm to 7am. She is healthy and has more than doubled her birth weight!

  2. #2
    LLL_Sarah is offline Registered User
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    The relationship between how much sugar and fat is in your milk is much more complicated than saying “the hind milk comes after x minutes”.

    When your breasts are full the milk has more sugar in it (this is called foremilk) and as your breasts are emptying the fat content of the milk increases (this is called hind milk). The change – a decrease in sugar and an increase in fat – occurs smoothly. There is no jump when the milk suddenly has more fat and becomes hind milk.

    If your baby manages to take most of the milk in your breasts when he feeds then at each feed your milk will have more sugar at the beginning and more fat at the end.

    If, however, you have more milk than the baby can take in one feed (the usual case) then your milk will have more sugar in the morning and more fat in the evening. And it is possible that the milk at the start of an evening feed has more fat content than the milk at the end of a morning feed.

    What I really want to say is please don’t worry about foremilk and hind milk. Your baby is already 4 months old and doubled her birth weight. You have no problems with your milk or, from the sound of it, your breastfeeding.

    It is very normal for babies to become very efficient at breastfeeding as the months go by and only take 5 minutes to get loads of milk. Usually you will find that around 4 or 5 months they are so interested in the world around them they want to get the feeds over very quickly. Expect for the falling to sleep feed before bedtime – often they like to have a long slow feed at this time (but not always).

  3. #3
    capital is offline Banned
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    I agree with Sarah, I wouldn't worry too much about fore/hind milk. Many babies feed quickly once they are a little older. Follow your babies lead and you wil be fine. If you are feeding baby on demand, baby is gaining and happy then there is nothing to worried about how many minutes she/he is eating. My second baby was a very quick nurser.

  4. #4
    AG2007 is offline Registered User
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    Thanks Sarah and Capital.
    Sarah, don't know if you remember me but you helped me out lots (over phone and email) when I first had problems breastfeeding. My baby was the one who had to be weaned off the bottom (of EBM).
    I'm just wondering if my girl is waking 2-3 times between 10pm and 7am because she isn't drinking enough during the day time and is making up at night. But although I try to encourage her during the day to take more she simply refuses!

  5. #5
    LLL_Sarah is offline Registered User
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    I know I’m going to be very unpopular for saying this but it is actually healthier for your baby to have lots of small meals than a few large ones. And most babies know this instinctively and ask for lots of small meals. So most young breastfeed babies ask for milk at night. And there is nothing medically wrong with this.

    Occasionally a mother can get the baby to drink more during the day by using breast compression – but often babies don’t like this as they get too much milk at once and this can cause chocking problems. Dr. Jack Newman web site has details of breast compression at http://www.breastfeedingonline.com. There are also videos of the technique at http://www.breastfeedingonline.com/newman.shtml under the heading Breast Compression.

    The ways I found the best to cope with disturbed nights were to breastfeed lying down. This allowed me to get rest if not sleep while I was feeding the baby. And to sleep when the baby slept – this is hard because I always had loads of other things to do!

    Sometimes I would be very tired after a night of disturbed sleep. On these occasions I’d take a sick day off work or ask someone else to take the baby out and sleep. It is amazing how much better I felt with a sleep of just a couple extra hours. This wasn’t something I had to do every day, or even every week – more like once a month or once every six weeks but it really helped.

    Also if I was too tired in the evening I’d ask my husband to look after the baby and I’d get an extra hour or two before he and the baby came to bed. Again this wasn’t something I had to do every night but it helped when I did do it.

    I also think it helps to remember the benefits of the baby waking up at night. You are much less likely to have milk supply problems if you baby wakes at night then if she were to sleep through. Also the baby is less likely to die from SIDS if she wakes up a lot. And your infertility from breastfeeding is much more likely to continue if the baby is waking up a lot. This has health benefits for the mother – less likely to get anaemia, less likely to get pregnant quickly and so less likely to have complications in your next pregnancy.

    It is our society and our bottle feeding culture that expects babies to eat large meals and sleep for long periods. Other cultures don’t expect this. The !Kung San of the Kalahari desert in Southern Africa breastfeed frequently and intensively, "giving the breast about four times an hour during the day and several times at night for at least the first two years of life." They would worry if their babies had long feeds and slept for long periods.

    What I’m hoping to get across is that if both you and your baby are happy and healthy it really don’t matter what the feeding or sleeping pattern is like.

  6. #6
    AG2007 is offline Registered User
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    Thanks Sarah. I do agree with you somewhat. Only problem is my baby seems to be quite clingy - well I shouldn't really say it's a "problem"! She always wants me, otherwise cries. Even dad is no good after a few minutes! So that leaves me little time to rest. Also I only have help two afternoons a week, which takes care of the cleaning of the house, but I still need to do grocery shopping, cook & clean babies things. I'm not complaining - even though it sounds like I am - I just can't help feel a bit envious of mothers with babies that can sleep for long periods during the night in order to get some much needed sleep!!

  7. #7
    LLL_Sarah is offline Registered User
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    If you are finding your daughter to be high needs (or higher than you want) I would recommend the book The Fussy Baby by Dr. William Sears. http://www.shopinhk.com/product.php?productid=1276

    This book can also be borrowed from the La Leche League library (but we ask you to be a member to use our library). Please contact Maggie on 2817-7475 or [email protected]

    Dr. Sears also has a web site, http://www.askdrsears.com/ and answers questions about fussy babies at http://www.askdrsears.com/faqs.asp#fb
    Last edited by LLL_Sarah; 09-25-2007 at 01:46 PM.

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