Nursing mothers are often concerned about the quantity and quality of their milk. Especially in the first months after birth, they regard crying, anxiety and other changes in the baby’s behavior as a sign that he is hungry.
And then there are questions about how to increase the fat content of breast milk and how to increase its production. To cope with a shortage of milk, you need to properly and often apply the crumb to the breast. But what to do with his fat?
Is it possible to somehow influence it and should it be done?
How to increase the fat content of breast milk, you can find a lot of articles and tips. As a rule, they do not provide scientific justification for the recommendations presented. Nevertheless, many mothers willingly listen to them and apply on personal experience.
You can go the other way and to begin to determine why there is a desire to influence the fat content of breast milk, and what to do so that there is no reason for anxiety.
At the heart of worries about the lack of nutritional value of breast milk lies the uncertainty of the mother that her baby is fed. Crying, anxiety at the chest, long or, conversely, too short sucking, frequent or rare attachments – all these behavioral features of an infant in the first half of the year are usually attributed to his hunger.
Sometimes women are prompted by similar thoughts about the color and amount of expressed milk.
Often mothers worry in vain, not knowing how to actually determine whether their baby is hungry or not. The lack of clear guidelines on this issue pushes women to experiment with their diet, drinking regimen and other unnecessary manipulations.
In addition to the fact that a stressful situation in itself takes a lot of energy, mothers feel even more tired because of the endless measures to eliminate the imaginary problem.
In some cases, there are doubts that breast milk is not enough fat?
- The color of milk is light white or translucent. Sometimes mom notices that breast milk has become transparent. Not knowing that this is a variant of the norm, a woman begins to doubt its quality and look for ways to adjust the color and composition.
- The child is often applied to the chest. If, in addition to color, the mode of attachments has changed, the woman may panic at all: “Why did breast milk become like water?” The logic is this: if a baby often asks for breasts, it does not eat. So, milk is “empty”.
- Baby is gaining weight poorly. In this situation, mothers tend to doubt their own power to feed the child. Low nutritional value and fat content is attributed to milk, and often it is beginning to be replaced by an industrial mixture.
These worries lose their meaning when a nursing mother knows for sure that her baby is full. Making sure this helps track the dynamics of the weight of the baby.
According to the standard scheme, control weighings are carried out once a month, but to keep mom calm, you can monitor increases more often (for example, every three days, a week, ten days).
Making sure that the child is well and consistently gaining weight, the nursing mother can forget about past experiences. But if the baby doesn’t add enough, is it worth wondering how to make fatter breast milk? Even if a woman tries to influence this value, her efforts will not bring results.
For this there are at least three reasons related to the physiology of lactation.
- Hormonal influence. The composition of breast milk is affected by the hormone prolactin. His presence in the mother’s body activates the synthesis of milk proteins, lactose and fat, that is, it significantly affects the qualitative composition of the secret.
- Individual characteristics. Breast milk fat content is an individual and changeable value. According to a study published in the journal Pediatrics in 2006, on average, the fat content of breast milk is 4.11%. In fact, this figure varies from mother to mother. Moreover, the fat content of breast milk changes during the day and even in the process of one feeding.
- Mechanical factor. The fat content in breast milk depends on the fullness of the gland. If the breast remains full more than one and a half hours in a row, the milk begins to exfoliate. Fat molecules are deposited on the walls of the ducts and alveoli. When the baby after a long break is applied to the breast, he first gets the “front” milk. It is saturated with lactose, proteins and in its consistency and color really looks like water. However, in the process of sucking fatty particles stick off from the walls and get into the milk. The longer the child eats, the more fatty food he will receive.
Therefore, the menu of a nursing mother does not affect the percentage of fat in her milk.
If the intervals between feedings are less than one and a half hours, then the milk does not have time to separate into “front” and “back”, and during the whole feeding the child receives the same fatty food. But if the baby is applied less frequently than every hour and a half, at the beginning of feeding, he will eat less nutritious milk. And the longer the baby will suck one breast, the more fatty milk it will receive.
In this regard, it is not necessary to shift the crumb from one breast to the other during its active sucking ahead of time, because there is a risk that he will receive less nutritional milk from the first breast.
It makes no sense to try to check the fat content of breast milk at home or in any other way. Visually determine this value is quite difficult, and the objectivity of the result is questionable.
After all, the fat content of milk changes during the day, in the process of feeding and from one application to another. Moreover, getting a “back”, more nutritious milk by expressing milk is very difficult.
Only a child can do it best, and a breast pump or mother’s hands.
Are foods able to increase the fat content of breast milk?
Obviously, the percentage of fat content of the secretion of the mammary glands is not determined by the mother’s diet. However, attention should be paid to popular products that “increase” the fat content of breast milk:
- cottage cheese and dairy products;
- cream oil.
In small quantities, these products are harmless to a nursing mother and her baby. Danger arises when, because of the excitement that breast milk is low in fat, mother begins to eat them in excess. Nuts and dairy products are potential allergens.
Once in the body of a woman, they penetrate into her bloodstream and, therefore, into breast milk. Some children may loyally react to such a mother’s diet, while others will immediately develop side reactions: rashes, abnormal stools, and even a decrease in gains.
So that mom has no doubts that the baby gets enough fat milk, you should pay attention to some nuances of breastfeeding. What you need and do not need to do?
- Correctly apply the crumb to the breast. This will allow the baby to effectively suck and get as much milk as he needs. In this case, the feeding itself can take less than five to ten minutes.
- Apply at least 10-12 times a day. This applies to children older than three months. Infants younger than this age should be fed on demand. This number of attachments maintains stable milk production. Even if some intervals between feedings will be longer than one and a half hours, due to the long and high-quality sucking the baby will receive the required amount of full-fat milk.
- Do not take away the breast of a child. Prematurely taking the baby’s breasts or shifting them to the other side, there is a chance that he will receive less nourishing milk. If the pussy actively sucks and swallows, then it is not yet time to finish feeding.
- Correctly alternate the chest. If the next feeding occurs in less than an hour and a half after the previous one, you can safely offer the same breast to the baby. When the break is longer, you can attach the baby to any breast. Sometimes children express a desire to suck both breasts at a time. As soon as it became apparent that the child stopped swallowing, it is worthwhile to allow him to attach to the breast on the other side. You can change the breast several times at one feeding.
- Feed the baby at night. At least one full attachment per night allows the crumbs to get enough, and mom – to ensure stable and long-term production of milk.
- Minimize substitutes. Each time, receiving the nipple instead of the breast, the child loses the opportunity to taste the mother’s milk. There are situations when it is difficult to manage without a nipple or bottle. But in normal circumstances it is worthwhile to allow the baby to satisfy the need for sucking with the help of her mother’s breast.
- Control weight. You should not wait for a scheduled visit to the pediatrician if your mother is concerned about the issue of weight gain. Track the dynamics of increments crumbs as often as possible.
- Do not worry. The rhythms of feeding each baby are individual. Some babies feed often, but quickly and in small portions. Others prefer to thoroughly eat less fewer times a day. If weight gains exceed 600 grams per month in the first six months of a child’s life, there is no cause for concern. There is no reason to change the mode of feeding or to try to add to the mother’s diet products for fat content of breast milk.
Breast milk is the perfect food for the baby. And yet there are situations when, for medical reasons, you must additionally enrich the mother’s milk.
This need often arises in relation to premature and low birth weight babies. Especially if mothers for various reasons cannot provide them with sufficient amount of breast milk.
Well, if the doctor allows a woman to feed her expressed milk. It has been scientifically confirmed that the milk of mothers who gave birth prematurely has a special composition: it has higher protein content, essential fatty acids, immunoglobulins and protective factors. But two or three weeks after birth, the composition of the secret changes – the concentration of protein and other substances returns to normal.
A newborn baby still needs additional rich nutrition.
To avoid a shortage of vital components and a deterioration in the health of the premature baby, doctors recommend temporarily using breast milk fortifiers. They are dry powder mixtures, which include hydrolyzed or non-hydrolyzed whey protein of cow’s milk and a vitamin-mineral complex.
The powder is diluted with a small amount of mother-expressed milk and added to the baby’s food several times a day.
An example of a breast milk fortifier is Nutrilon. It consists of partially hydrolyzed whey and casein protein from cow’s milk. According to experts, such a breakdown improves the dissolution of protein in breast milk and facilitates its absorption by the immature body of the child.
The mineral-electrolyte composition of this fortifier is balanced in accordance with the requirements of the European Community of Pediatric Gastroenterologists, Hepatologists, and Nutritionists (ESPGHAN). Another example of a substitute is PreNan FM.
Unlike Nutrilon, it contains hypoallergenic whey protein.
To increase the nutritional and fat content of breast milk with the help of any food is impossible. However, the strength of the mothers to correctly build a mode of feeding the crumbs, so that there is no doubt of his satiety. In special cases, it may be necessary to further enrich the breast milk, but this concerns not its fat content, but its composition.
For this, there are special fortifiers (substitutes), which the doctor prescribes for a short-term period.
My grandmother also spoke to me during the whole pregnancy and after giving birth she shoved walnuts so that the breast milk was fat. As a result, the child had an allergy and had to completely give up nuts.
Everything must have its own measure and it is impossible to eat everything in large quantities.
To adhere, nevertheless, a reasonable diet, if the products that cause gas formation in the baby and allergies are known, then they should be abandoned. And do not worry!
Stress greatly affects the fat content and the amount of milk.
When the doctor at the maternity hospital saw the walnuts in me, she forbade it, because they are allergenic. Although my mother used to say to me in the old fashioned way, they increase their fat content.
Artificially it is impossible to increase the fat content of milk … It is individual for each child, and dysbacteriosis can be the consequences of “boosts”, which is why it will not be assimilated at all … Feed on demand, and fully eat themselves … Not for two of course, but fully for one ” .