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Possibly daft question about concentration of breastmilk

(8 Posts)
GrannysLittlePickle Fri 09-Sep-11 19:35:16

Having been told that breastmilk adapts to hot weather - if I drink more, does it get more dilute? Or does the baby's feeding behaviour change in hot weather - ie drink more often, less volume, to get more foremilk.

AND if a baby just has short feeds so doesn't get fattier hindmilk - what happens to those fatty globules that have stayed up the ducts to make the initial milk more watery? Do they get reabsorbed?

And what about that oft repeated fact that babies who have unrestricted breast access in certain cultures feed every 25ish minutes - how would they get the fat.... would they not get an imbalance?

... am I overthinking it? I just hate it when things don't make sense! grin

Purplebuns Fri 09-Sep-11 19:58:39

If it is hotter than there is a greater volume of the watery stuff + baby will just feed more anyway.

If it helps foremilk and hindmilk is a load of balls (and is confusing,) all that happens is the milk gets progressively fattier as baby feeds.
If the baby stops a feed then the fattier milk will still be waiting for them next time.
Also the interaction between the babies saliva and some glands in your nipples, lets your body know what sort of milk or nutrition your baby needs so your body is constantly adjusting to what baby needs.

Sometimes a baby does get an imbalance but that would be a separate issue.


LoveBeingAMummyAgain Fri 09-Sep-11 20:20:10

The way I think of it is as a percentage, so they may have a lower fat/higher water type content bit cause they feed more often the fat adds up to the same and they got more liquid stuff iyswim?

RitaMorgan Fri 09-Sep-11 20:27:30

It might be easier to think about it not as beginning of a feed = foremilk, end of a feed = hindmilk but as full breast = watery milk, empty breast = fatty milk. So a baby feeding frequently will be getting fatty milk.

I have no idea by what mechanism milk adapts to the weather though. Milk is about 80% water, so I would assume a hot and thirsty baby just feeds and wees more often?

GrannysLittlePickle Sat 10-Sep-11 11:58:59

Ah RitaMorgan - that makes sense!

FormbyDoula Sat 10-Sep-11 12:58:41

As I understand it, foremilk/hindmilk only becomes an issue if you wait a long time between feeds. It separates and the fatty stuff goes to the top, like it does in a bottle of whole milk.

If you feed frequently, the milk never has time to separate and your baby always gets a nice mix of both fore and hind milk.

In hot weather your baby and your boobs know what to do (thanks to millions of years of evolution) - baby feeds more and gets just what he needs!

Yes you are overthinking it wink

RitaMorgan Sat 10-Sep-11 15:07:37

Milk doesn't separate in a breast - though if you express milk into a container you may see it separate.

This article is a good explanation.

FormbyDoula Sat 10-Sep-11 20:17:47

LOVE the Analytical Armadillo!

Yes that does explain it well - the 'fore' milk moves down the breast quicker than the 'hind' milk which is stuck to the areola and only dislodges a while into the feed.

So the answer is: just keep feeding smile

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