The Basics of Breast Milk

Breast milk develops in stages.


Colostrum is the milk produced by moms in the first few days of a newborn infant’s life. Colorstrum is colorless, thick and sticky. It contains high amount of immunoglobulins, which is an anti-infective component.

It is common that only very small amounts of colostrums are produced during the first few days after a child is born. This often frustrates mothers who expect a greater amount of milk. However, it is important to continue the breastfeeding as the volume of breast milk will increase after 3 or 4 days.

Mature Milk

Mature milk is produced after 3 or 4 days. This milk consists of two different components:

  • Foremilk: Fore milk is the milk that baby receives at the beginning of each feeding. It has high water and sugar content, which will help to quench baby’s thirst. It is produced between feeds in response to previous suckling.
  • Hindmilk: This milk is produced during each feed as the pressure in a mother’s breast decreases. Hindmilk is rich in fat and calories.

It is important the baby receive adequate hindmilk as this calorically dense milk provides the nutrients and calories needed by the newborn. To ensure the infant receive this milk, mother should continue breastfeed until:

  • baby pulls away or
  • baby begins to nibble at the breast or
  • baby falls asleep at the breast or
  • baby doesn’t start to feed again if milk is squeezed into his mouth.

Baby who is not receiving sufficient hindmilk may feel hungry often and require frequent feeding. Because hindmilk provides the needed nutrients for the baby, insufficient hindmilk will result in inadequate weight again. Besides, infant will tense to have lot of gas and explosive production of green stools. The normal stools should be yellow and seedy in texture.

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