Believe it or not, you will notice changes in the consistancy and even color of your breastmilk. A mom recently asked me if it was normal to have watery milk in the morning and thicker milk later in the day. This is absolutely normal. Why does it do this? Long explination short, your milk consistancy, smell, color, and amount vary throughout your breastfeeding experience from day one to the last day.
For this mom, she had just mentioned that her baby was sleeping longer hours thru the night and during this last week, she noticed that the consistancy was changing. Why was it thinner in the morning? There are two levels of milk that you provide to your baby. The first 2-5 minutes will be "foremilk" or front milk. The consistancy is thinner and has few calories. Your "hindmilk" or the milk behind the foremilk is thicker and packs a lot of fat and calories. If your baby is sleeping in longer, your breast fills up with excess milk, thus at first causing you to overfill. At first, you may notice that your breasts are swollen and full, until they adjust to your baby's new schedule.
You may nurse or pump and notice that you have a lot more of the foremilk than usual, again, the thinner-watery consistancy. This is great for building up your stock of breast milk, but this can cause your baby to have looser stools because their bodies excrete foremilk at a faster rate. If your baby misses a feeding, it is okay to do self-expressions or pump a bit before breastfeeding, 1-3 minutes. Or, if you are pumping and noticing that baby is having very loose stools, you may want to discard your first 1-3 minutes of pumped milk.
Color and smell of breastmilk is also affected by changes in your diet. If you eat a lot of green vegitables, you may notice a green tint to your milk. If you eat a lot of garlic, your milk may smell a bit like garlic. Remember that what you take in may affect what comes out of your breastmilk. This includes alcohol and medication. If you have any concerns about what is being passed to baby, please ask a breastfeeding counselor or your physician.
The amount of milk pumped will also fluctuate, based on the needs of your baby. When your baby goes thru growth spurts, your baby will nurse often. When your baby nurses often, your milk production will increase. Remember supply and demand? Well, this is the best description to give when talking about the amount you see pumped. Moms are often concerned about if their baby is getting enough. In the majority of cases, they are, but if you notice any issues or have concerns, please seek help. If you slow down on the amount of times you breastfeed, your milk production will slow down. Keep this in mind when you notice any changes. A breastfeeding counselor does have ideas on how to naturally increase or decrease milk supply. Often times, issues can be resolved rather quickly with just some helpful hints or reminders.
This was one of my great questions of the week. Send me your questions and I will help! I guarantee that you are not the only mom with your question.