Fat in Breastmilk....not sure I have enough - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 16 Old 03-25-2010, 09:52 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I have currently started pumping and noticed my milk isn't a blueish white color. I barely have any fat settling to the top of my pumped milk. Is this normal? Has anyone else had that problem?
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#2 of 16 Old 03-25-2010, 10:13 AM
 
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I wouldn't worry. Our bodies produce exactly what our babies need. On the other hand, it might be that you are not pumping long enough to get to the hind milk which probably is not the case. As I said, I wouldn't worry. Our bodies know what they are doing and our milk is tailored to the needs of our babies.
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#3 of 16 Old 03-25-2010, 02:13 PM
 
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You can try increasing your dietary fat.

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#4 of 16 Old 03-25-2010, 02:19 PM
 
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you can also try compressions while you pump. Google 'hands on pumping standford' for a really great video.

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#5 of 16 Old 03-25-2010, 02:30 PM
 
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The composition varies during different times of the day as well. Usually in the morning there is less fat, more in the evening, but this varies constantly. Unless a woman is extremely malnourished, maternal diet, factors, are not going to make the composition change that much, one person doesn't make "cream" and another make "skim milk".

This is a question I get often, women often think that there is supposed to be a this big thick layer that separates, but often it really isn't what they expect. That is normal, what is there is concentrated, and contains the bulk of the calories actually.

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#6 of 16 Old 03-25-2010, 03:15 PM
 
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This question caught my attention. I have a nanny for DD. When she saw my milk she said it looked like skim milk. Her niece's milk has much more cream in it than mine (maybe about 1"). When mine settles there is about 1/4" cream on top. I added more marshmallow root to my Mother's Milk Tea as that was supposed to help. I didn't keep it up though I did notice some difference, probably 1/2" cream.

ETA: I get plenty of dietary fat, sad to say it prefers to hang around my thighs and not so much in my breast milk.

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#7 of 16 Old 03-25-2010, 03:59 PM
 
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If there are no concerns with baby's weight gain, I wouldn't worry about what the milk looks like whatsoever. If you didn't pump, you wouldn't know. I haven't pumped in months so I have no idea how much fat separates in my milk, and it doesn't really matter to me, because my baby nurses well, has normal wet and poopy diapers, is gaining weight, happy, healthy, and meeting milestones.

Women have nursed since the beginning of time without pumps and probably never even knew that their milk could look different than another woman's.

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#8 of 16 Old 03-25-2010, 04:33 PM
 
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I would wonder whether some of the differences between women aren't about response to the pump and foremilk/hindmilk.

I feel like there is a 'reserve' of milk that my baby taps into that the pump can't get. I can pump myself 'dry' and then go nurse and hear baby swallow. I would imagine that the better your pump response the higher the % of hindmilk you'll see in the pumped milk.

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#9 of 16 Old 03-26-2010, 03:05 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cheryllynn View Post
This question caught my attention. I have a nanny for DD. When she saw my milk she said it looked like skim milk. Her niece's milk has much more cream in it than mine (maybe about 1"). When mine settles there is about 1/4" cream on top. I added more marshmallow root to my Mother's Milk Tea as that was supposed to help. I didn't keep it up though I did notice some difference, probably 1/2" cream.

ETA: I get plenty of dietary fat, sad to say it prefers to hang around my thighs and not so much in my breast milk.
Keep in mind also that breastmilk changes in composition based on baby's age. So milk for a 3 month old may look very different from milk for a 9 month old.

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#10 of 16 Old 03-26-2010, 12:05 PM
 
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Tell your nanny to keep it to herself.

You make what your baby needs. If baby is thriving, growing, and content, your milk is absolutely perfect. Seriously, working and pumping is so much work, exhausting and difficult, you don't need someone plantiong the seeds of self-doubt in your head.

Keep doing what you're doing. Some things couldn't hurt, like taking good care of yourself and eating healthfully, drinking lots of water and getting plenty of rest.

I always wondered about my milk. I pumped for 18 months with my first, and in that time other co-workers had babies, too. We all stored milk in the lactation room mini-fridge. I was on my way in when another mom was on her way out, and she commented that she wished her milk looked like mine. I told her that if baby was thriving, happy, etc., her milk was perfect.

Comparing her pumped milk to mine, I honestly didn't see much difference. Except that she got more while pumping!
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#11 of 16 Old 03-26-2010, 12:21 PM
 
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My experience is that my milk is more "skim" and watery in the morning and a little more "fatty" at night.
However, I believe the next factor here is that pumping doesn't get that little bit of extra store that could potentially be more fatty. I know when I pump (which is usually a couple times/week), I can never get all of the milk out, but DS can.
The biggest factor is that Your milk is perfect for your baby!
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#12 of 16 Old 03-26-2010, 10:22 PM
 
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Originally Posted by cristeen View Post
You can try increasing your dietary fat.
Increasing dietary fat does NOT increase the amount of fat in your milk. Your diet can influence the TYPES of fat in your milk, but not the amount. Many moms do not respond well to a pump, and what is important is the amount of fat that your baby gets over a 24 hour period, not at one feeding.
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#13 of 16 Old 07-06-2010, 02:36 AM
 
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I found this thread while researching this issue - about differences in the fat composition of breast milk among different mothers.

My 5 month old is 14 lb and healthy although we initially has awful problems with green gassy stools, mucus in BMs and generally colicky symptoms. Her BMs are still very liquid and more green than yellow.

I have been pumping since I returned to work when she was 10 weeks. I have never paid attention to the amount of fat in my expressed milk, except to note that it was there and varied depending on the time of day I pump - which is what I have read here and elsewhere.

I have had to look into supplementing with donor milk due to my inability to freeze any milk when I have to go out of town for meetings. I have noticed that the milk of both donors I have used has MUCH more fat than mine and this does correlate with the weight of both of their kids - they are MUCH heavier kids than my baby (there is 1 month age difference betweenour babies....their babies are 6 months and are both >100 percentile). Typically, my fat layer is 1/6 - 1/4 of an inch for a 5oz bottle. Theirs is 1 - 3 inches for a 5 oz bottle.....a huge difference.

I do like the Kelly mom website and believe it has amazing nursing info, but it claims that while fat content will vary from mother -to -mother, this does not affect the nutritional content of the milk -or something to that effect. I agree that all breast milk is nutritionally fabulous, but the caloric value of a milk high in fat will vary dramatically from a low fat content milk. One other important factor - fat is important for satiation (felling satisfied after eating), so again babies getting more watery milk may not feel as satisfied. Also, this may explain the gassy symptoms and watery BMs in my baby...too much lactose relative to fat and protein.

I should mention that I do extensive pumping to provide my baby with the 20oz she needs per day while I am at work. Typically this involves long pumping sessions where I have at least 3 letdowns AND I do extensive massage between letdowns and while having a letdown, so I belive I am getting out most of my available fat.

I just wanted to put this out there as I felt there was very little information available and I found it frustrating to hear the phrase that all breast milk is comparable - there is huge variation in fat and this can affect the weight gain of ones baby. I know that any breast milk is golddust and maybe that is why this idea is perpetuated (to stop Mom's feeling inadequate), but the caloric value of high fat versus low fat is going to be dramatically different. I do not feel inadequate but would like lactation consultants to pay more attention to this difference in fat content when trying to resolve colic in breast fed babies. I did nurse my baby on one side only for 2 feedings when she was 3 weeks to try to resolve the colic symptoms and agonizing BMs and gas she was having.......on the advice of a LL leader, but I don't believe it really increased fat content. It really only reduced my supply.

I also agree that diet does little to affect fat content as I have tried various things......I am 5ft 6in and 135lb and have a B cup while nursing and am normally a AA cup. I just think it's related to ones genetics!!!

Comments gratefully appreciated. This subject intrigues me!!
THANKS.
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#14 of 16 Old 07-06-2010, 06:29 PM
 
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Moving out to the main forum as per the forum guidelines.

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#15 of 16 Old 07-06-2010, 06:45 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by darlinggirls View Post

I do like the Kelly mom website and believe it has amazing nursing info, but it claims that while fat content will vary from mother -to -mother, this does not affect the nutritional content of the milk -or something to that effect. I agree that all breast milk is nutritionally fabulous, but the caloric value of a milk high in fat will vary dramatically from a low fat content milk.

I just wanted to put this out there as I felt there was very little information available and I found it frustrating to hear the phrase that all breast milk is comparable - there is huge variation in fat and this can affect the weight gain of ones baby. I know that any breast milk is golddust and maybe that is why this idea is perpetuated (to stop Mom's feeling inadequate), but the caloric value of high fat versus low fat is going to be dramatically different. I do not feel inadequate but would like lactation consultants to pay more attention to this difference in fat content when trying to resolve colic in breast fed babies.
KellyMom posts evidence-based information about breastfeeding and lactation, not opinion.

Colic is more common in formula-fed babies than breastfed ones, so I'm not sure that the fat content would really make a difference, as the fat content in formula is always the same.

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#16 of 16 Old 07-06-2010, 06:48 PM
 
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"Fat content of mature milk is 41.1 +/- 7.8g/L (range 22.3-61.6g/L), which is independent of breastfeeding frequency, but is directly related to the relative fullness or emptiness of the breast. As a breast "empties" during an individual feed and/or over a day, the proportion of fat increases." - Core Curriculum for Lactation Consultant Practice from the ILCA

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