Breast milk must be one of the greatest gifts that nature bestows to babies. It contains proteins, carbohydrates, minerals and many other crucial nutrients tailored to fit their nutritional needs at any time. Breast milk changes during a feeding or over a period of lactation in an amazing biological process. Here are the major changes breast milk goes through.
During the first few days after delivery, you will produce colostrum. This milk has a thin consistency and is yellowish in color. It is often referred to as 'liquid gold' because of the rich nutrients and antibodies it contains. Some expectant mothers leak colostrum as they approach their due date. Your baby uses the colostrum to quench thirst and develop the immune system.
A few days after birth
The light yellow transitional milk comes right after the colostrum. It contains higher lactose levels and fewer nutrients than colostrum.
About two weeks after delivery
Mature milk starts flowing two weeks after steady breastfeeding. It is white and has a thin consistency. As time goes on, it gets thicker and creamier. If you continue breastfeeding, mature milk will be what your child will have for months to come.
Your milk changes even during a single feeding. The first batch that is drawn when you start feeding the baby is called foremilk. It is thin and has low fat content. It covers your child's fluid needs and quenches the thirst. The milk that follows is the hindmilk.
This is thicker and contains a high fat content. This is what your child needs to grow and gain healthy weight. It is also the reason why you are told to feed your child from one breast for at least 15 minutes so that he/she can get both kinds in one feeding session.