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What Is Hindmilk? Why Is It Important For Babies?

Breastfeeding is the best way to ensure that your baby receives proper nutrition to ensure good health and growth. Breast milk contains antibodies which help protect your baby from many common childhood illnesses and provides all the energy and nutrients that your baby needs during the first months of life up to two years of age and beyond.

If you are a new mother and have been researching everything about breastfeeding, you might have read or heard about two kinds of breast milk - foremilk and hindmilk.

In this article, we'll discuss what is hindmilk and its importance for your baby.

What Is Hindmilk?

Your breasts produce one type of milk, which can be categorised as foremilk and hindmilk. Foremilk is the milk that your baby gets first at the start of a feed and hindmilk is the milk your baby gets at the end of a feed.

At the start of a feed, your baby receives the first milk closest to your nipple. When your breasts are producing milk, the fat in the milk sticks to the sides of the cells which produce milk while the watery part of the milk flows easily towards your nipple, where it blends with the leftover milk from the last feed. As the feeding progresses, this milk gets diluted. The first watery milk that comes out has less fat, which is called foremilk and as your baby continues to feed, they begin to pull milk from deep within the breast where the fatty milk cells are located, which is called hindmilk.

Hindmilk is thicker, creamier and high in fat, calories, vitamin A and E than foremilk. Hindmilk is creamy white in colour and satisfies your baby's hunger and makes your baby feel full and sleepy [1] [2].

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Why Is Hindmilk Important?

Your baby needs sufficient amounts of hindmilk to feel satisfied between feedings and to gain weight and ensure proper growth. Your baby's weight gain depends on the volume of the milk they consume and doesn't depend on the fat content of the milk. At every feed, your baby should get enough breast milk until they feel satisfied and satiated.

Studies have also shown the importance of hindmilk for premature babies with low birth weight. Preterm very low-birth weight babies fed hindmilk had a higher rate of weight gain [3].

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How To Know If Your Baby Is Getting Enough Hindmilk?

You should breastfeed your baby for about 10 to 15 minutes on each breast. However, to ensure that your baby gets enough breast milk, it is essential to breastfeed your baby for longer as this will allow your baby to empty your breasts fully so that they can get the hindmilk.

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What Happens If Your Baby Is Not Getting Enough Hindmilk?

As mentioned above that you need to breastfeed your baby for longer during each feed to get enough hindmilk and not doing so, they certainly won't get enough of it.

Also, an overabundant supply of breast milk can prevent your baby from getting enough hindmilk. Your baby will get more of foremilk and they will feel full before they get to the hindmilk.

If your baby gets more foremilk and not enough hindmilk, you will notice the following symptoms:

• Your baby is having gas

• Crying, abdominal pain and colic-like symptoms

• Your baby feels hungry more often

• Loose, green bowel movements

These symptoms are completely normal and may not cause a concern. If you are concerned that your baby isn't getting enough hindmilk, consult your doctor. Meanwhile, you can try pumping before you breastfeed to remove some of the foremilk so that your baby gets the hindmilk, feed your baby more often and allow your baby to feed for longer from each breast.

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How Can You Make More Hindmilk?

If you have a healthy supply of breast milk and you are breastfeeding your baby often for longer, your body will produce more breast milk. Also, pumping breast milk after breastfeeding will stimulate your breasts which can help increase your breast milk supply. This breast milk that you collect when you pump is hindmilk.

To Conclude...

Breast milk is important for your baby as it provides all the nutrients that your baby needs. It is important for your baby to get a sufficient amount of breast milk so that they get the hindmilk for feeling satiated and gaining weight.

Story first published: Saturday, November 21, 2020, 8:00 [IST]