/DTD XHTML 1.0 Strict//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/xhtml1/DTD/xhtml1-strict.dtd"> Correcting Foremilk Imbalance and Oversupply

Correcting foremilk/hindmilk imbalance and oversupply

Because babies with colic and reflux are frequently fussy it’s easy for a less experienced mom to assume that baby is finished with the first breast and ready for the next one. This can contribute to both oversupply and a foremilk/hindmilk imbalance, both of which can aggravate colic and reflux. Another thing these can cause is green stools. These are easily correctible by altering nursing habits.

Recognizing milk composition - telling foremilk from hindmilk

Your breastmilk changes in composition throughout a feeding. Early in the feeding your baby receives your foremilk. Foremilk looks much like skim milk, it is thin and watery and may have a bluish tinge to it. It is very thirst quenching, high in volume but low in calories and fat. Later in the feeding your baby receives your hindmilk. It resembles whole cream, low in volume but high in calories and fat.

How foremilk/hindmilk balance and oversupply happen

Your baby is quite possibly comfort nursing, probably either to receive the natural antacid contained in your breastmilk or because sucking relaxes his digestive tract and allows him to pass gas that may be bothering him. By offering the second breast too soon you are doing several things:

  • telling your body to make more milk, possibly increasing your milk supply

  • increasing the amount of foremilk versus hindmilk that your baby is receiving.

  • overfilling your baby’s tummy
  • This can also be happening if you are pumping between feedings on a regular basis, or taking supplements to increase your breastmilk supply like fenugreek. Oatmeal is also said to increase milk supply.

    Correcting foremilk/hindmilk imbalance and oversupply

    Your baby has different suck patterns depending on what he needs. When he is hungry he will have deeper, more intense and rhythmic sucks. When he is comfort sucking he will have shallower, more “fluttery” sucks that seem more contented. Leave your baby on the first breast as long as he appears to be comfort sucking. This may be over the course of several feedings even. Only offer him the second breast when he begins to truly seem hungry.

    Anytime you experiment with nursing patterns consider meeting with a lactation consultant or la leche league leader. Always be sure baby is gaining well and has the appropriate number of wet or soiled diapers for his age.

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    More information:

    Understanding overactive letdown and oversupply
    Block nursing to improve foremilk/hindmilk imbalance
    Elimination diet for nursing, foods that cause reflux and using probiotics and enzymes to improve infant reflux.