What are the Different Stages of Lactation?
Breast milk is known by different terminologies depending on the time of production and composition-
The first milk that is produced is called colostrum and technically it the best for the infant. It is usually present after the fifth or sixth month of pregnancy. Once the baby is born, it is present in small amounts for the first 3 days to match the small size of the baby's stomach. It has a yellow tinge and is thick in consistency. Its nutritional qualities are being high in protein, and low in fat and sugar. It is rich in the immunities being passed from the mother to protect the baby. It also acts as a natural laxative, helping the baby pass the first stools called meconium.
Mature milk - In about 48 to 72 hours the colostrum gives way to mature milk. The duration varies depending on initiation time of breastfeeding and its frequency. Mature milk consists of two components-
- Foremilk - The first milk the baby receives on initiation of breastfeeding is called foremilk. It is thin and watery with a light blue tinge, composed largely of water, low in fat and high in carbohydrates, and is necessary to satisfy the baby's thirst.
- Hindmilk - Thereafter is produced hindmilk, which has the highest concentration of fat and is released after several minutes of nursing. It is similar in consistency to cream and induces sleep in the baby. Hindmilk is important for the baby to feel satisfied and to gain adequate weight.