Ever wondered why is breast milk oily and whether it is healthy for the baby or not? This article will explain it all!
Why Is Breast Milk Oily?
Your breast milk has a unique composition of white blood cells, stem cells, proteins, complex sugars, enzymes, growth factors, hormones, vitamins, minerals, antibodies, and fatty acids. All these are necessary to nourish your baby and help them grow and develop physically and mentally.
Breast milk varies in composition throughout the day. Your breast milk will have more sugar and water in the morning, whereas it will have more fat towards evening, which makes it greasy or oily.
The breast milk at the beginning of the feeding session will be watery, whereas the milk that comes out like the breast empties is thicker or has more fat content. This thicker milk is known as the hindmilk.
Does Oily Breast Milk Benefit Your Baby?
Human breast milk has an average fat content of 1.2 gm/oz. The fats in your breast milk provide energy to your baby. They are also the source of essential fatty acids and cholesterol for your baby. Furthermore, they aid your baby in growth and weight gain. They also provide a feeling of satiety and control appetite. The fat in your breast milk is essential for the development of your baby’s brain and nervous system. It also plays a vital role in the development of your baby’s vision.
How to Ensure That Your Baby Gets More of The Fatty/Oily Hindmilk?
The fat in your breast milk is not dependent on your diet, but it is always ideal to eat a well-balanced diet. A well-balanced diet can ensure that more good fats are available for your baby when you breastfeed him. The more often you get your baby to feed, the more milk your breasts will produce, and the more likely it is that your baby will get to be nourished with the fatty hindmilk.
The longer the feed interval, the lower the fat content in your breast milk at the beginning of the next feed. A full breast has lower fat milk, whereas an almost empty breast has higher fat content in the milk. This is because the fat globules are forced out of the breast by successive milk ejections. Letting your baby empty the breast before switching to the other breast is a way to ensure your baby is nourished with fatty hindmilk. It is also possible to open the foremilk by manual expression or by using a mechanical pump so that your baby can feed on the hindmilk.
Regularly massaging the breast also helps the thicker milk reach the milk ducts faster and flow out easily. Expressed milk, when stored, may separate into fats and watery milk. It just needs to be slightly heated and mixed with a spoon to make it homogeneous again.