How to make breastmilk fattier? 5 easy method to do it.
Ensuring that our babies get the proper nutrition is at the top of our priority list. Since breasts don’t come equipped with gauges telling us how much baby has eaten (although that would probably be kind of cool…or maybe a little weird), breastfeeding mothers often struggle with doubt—is baby getting enough to eat? Is my breastmilk nutritious enough?
Break out the breast pump, and sometimes concerns are amplified. After breastmilk sits for a while, it separates with the fattier hindmilk rising to the top and the waterier foremilk settling at the bottom of the container. Fortunately, increasing the fat content of your breastmilk, or at least the amount of breastmilk fat that your baby consumes, can be easily done.
Why is breastmilk fat so important for babies?
Fat facilitates brain development and assists in the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins. Brain, eye, and nervous system development is also dependent upon long chain fatty acids for proper development. Human milk contains approximately 22 kcal/oz and 1.2 grams of fat per ounce. However, these numbers vary greatly throughout each feeding as well as throughout the day. These variations are caused by increasing or decreasing fat levels, caused by the fullness of the breast. A full breast has lower levels of fat in the milk whereas an empty breast contains more fat.
After finding that fat plays such a critical role in the development of our little ones, I decided to put together a list of five simple things that can be done to increase the fat content of your breastmilk while decreasing your doubts about whether your baby is getting the nutrition that he needs to grow and thrive.
1. Increase your consumption of unsaturated fats.
The amount of fat in your breastmilk is not as important as the type of fat in your breastmilk. Unsaturated fats (healthy fats), such as those found in nuts, salmon, avocados, seeds, eggs, and olive oil, are important for both you and baby’s diet.
I am not suggesting that you need to follow a strict diet if you are breastfeeding. However, whatever you eat, baby will eat, so focus on working more unsaturated fats into your diet and eliminating saturated and trans fats. An occasional splurge is fine, though, so go ahead and enjoy that bacon cheeseburger…with pimento cheese…and sweet potato fries…and the milkshake. 😊 You deserve it, mama.
2. Allow your baby to finish the first breast before switching sides.
Many women believe that they need to switch sides during each feeding. This is not always the case. As milk is produced, fat globules in the milk stick to each other and to the walls of alveoli, the structures where milk is produced. As breasts fill, the milk gradually moves toward the nipple, leaving behind the denser and fattier hindmilk. Switching baby from breast to breast while he is still actively sucking means that he isn’t getting enough time to reach that fattier hindmilk that helps him pack on the pounds. Wait until he is done emptying one breast, and if he still hungry, switch him to the other.
3. Nurse frequently.
Think about when you turn on a faucet in your house. At first, the water comes out cold and then gets warmer and warmer until it is hot. If you come back five minutes later and turn the faucet on again, it will still be relatively warm. However, if you come back five hours later, the water will be cold, and you will have to wait for it to warm up again.
Your breasts are the same way. When the baby first latches on, the relatively low-fat foremilk is released. Little by little the milk becomes fattier and fattier. If you nurse frequently, the milk doesn’t have time to “get cold.” In other words, the less time in between feedings, the higher the fat content at the beginning of that particular feeding.
4. Do breast compressions while the baby is nursing.
It’s exactly what it sounds like—compress your breast while the baby is suckling to stimulate the milk ejection reflux. To do this, encircle your breast with one hand, and squeeze your breast whenever baby stops drinking; he should start drinking again. Continue applying pressure until baby stops drinking.
5. Pump before nursing.
Being a mother is a hard job, and one of the perks of breastfeeding is not having to worry about washing baby bottles. However, but if you’re interested in increasing the fattiness of your milk, a breast pump can help. As previously mentioned, a relatively empty breast contains higher fat milk. Pumping before nursing allows you to empty your breast of some of that foremilk so that baby doesn’t get full before getting to the hindmiIk.
My wife currently uses the Ameda Purely Yours Double Electric Pump, and it works great. It’s super easy to use, extracts a good amount of milk, and it was free! You can order yours here, but check with your insurance provider first, as many will provide mothers with a breast pump, free of charge.
Breastmilk isn’t called liquid gold for nothing! There are benefits galore with breastfeeding your little one. To learn more about the benefits of fat in mothers’ milk, check out video below:
To sum it all up
These five simple steps are meant to help you increase the fattiness of your breastmilk and ensure that your baby is getting all the nutrition that he needs. It’s important to remember that the most fatty milk is expelled from the breast when it is near empty, so be sure to pump often and let your little one finish nursing from one breast before moving him to the other.
Breast is best, and some breastmilk is better than no breastmilk, so don’t be discouraged by any blips or hiccups you may experience on your journey. It happens! Just go with the flow; you and your little one will be grateful you did.
We’d love to hear about your breastfeeding journey, so please feel free to submit your questions and comments below.
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