What is Foremilk & Hindmilk Imbalance?
One of the problems with having too much breastmilk is something called a Foremilk Hindmilk Imbalance. Foremilk is the milk that comes out of your breast during the first part of the feeding. This milk is high in lactose. Lactose can cause a baby to be gassy and it is harder to break down in the gut. Hindmilk is the milk that comes out during the last part of the feeding from the breast. Hindmilk is high in fat and contains less lactose, which is the part of the feeding you want to make sure you baby is getting. With foremilk hindmilk imbalance, a mother is either producing too much milk so the baby is drinking too much foremilk and not enough hindmilk during a feeding, or a mother is not allowing a baby to feed long enough at one breast, allowing the baby to drain that breast, before switching the baby to the other breast.
I never thought I would ever had to say this, but I am making way too much breastmilk. With my first child, I barely made enough. I was able to breastfeed him until he was 10 months old, but at that point, I was not making enough to satisfy him so we switch to formula. Then with my twins, I was able to breastfeed them until they were 15 months-old, but it took a lot of hard work to keep up my supply and I often was crying over how little milk I was making to sustain my twin daughters. I just thought my body had a hard time making an adequate amount of breastmilk, until I had my fourth child Haydon. I seem to be producing way too much milk. My son is only 2.5 weeks old, so I am hoping that my milk supply will decrease to meet the current nursing needs my son has without having too much excess.
In my case, I am just making too much milk. At this point, I am making so much milk that I am only able to feed from one side a feeding. I allow Haydon to nurse at one breast until he will no longer latch. This takes a lot of work to keep him awake long enough to finish a full feeding, but my goal is for him to drink as much as possible from my breast to try and correct my foremilk hindmilk imbalance. Even with all the effort to correct the imbalance, Haydon is probably still getting too much foremilk. He has been very gassy, explosive water poops (happening over +12 times a day, sometimes 3-4 times during a feeding), poop has a foul smell, very irritable after feeds, terrible diaper rash around his anus.
Symptoms (Found from this website)
– Green frothy explosive stools
– Baby spits up a lot
– Colic symptoms (fussiness)
– Baby wanting to breastfeed all the time…not becoming satisfied.
– Blood in stools
– Slow weight gain
– Diaper rash due to acidic stools
– Baby has a bowel movement immediately after feedings
Here are some of the strategies that I have been using to deal with the imbalance until it corrects itself.
- Feed from one side a feeding. Making many efforts to keep re latching him until the breast feels drained. That way he is not only drinking the foremilk but also the hindmilk.
- Burp him several times through out a feeding
- Offer gripe water after a feeding
- Pump his legs back and forth to get the gas out after a feeding
- Hold him up right after a feed and gently rub his back before laying him down
- Do not pump- that could be causing you to produce more milk than necessary
- Try using cabbage leaves on your breasts to reduce amount of milk made
- Only nurse when your baby shows signs of hunger, not sooner, too frequent feedings could be a culprit.