Not only is it the primary energy source in breast milk, but fat also aids proper brain development and growth. However, did you know that the amount of fat in breast milk is not constant throughout the day?
How to increase fat in breast milk for babies
Fat is an essential component of an infant's diet.
The alternation of fat levels in breast milk is very common, and it's not an issue worth worrying about. There are also various ways to determine if your baby is receiving a good amount of fat from your breast milk.
With each feed, breast milk undergoes changes to meet the infant's needs. However, the average fat content is around 3.6g/dL (dL- deciliter, 1dL- 100ml). The fats in breast milk include triacyclglycerols, fatty acids, and cholesterol.
Factors influencing fat in breast milk
1. Emptiness of the breast: the emptier the breast, the richer it is in fat content. The hindmilk that comes after the foremilk often contains more nutrients, so babies get more fat for development.
2. Feeding time: breastmilk released in the evening or at night has been proven to have more fat content. This is due to fat accumulation in the milk throughout the day. Because babies nap a lot during the day, feeding them in the evening or at night provides them with more fat.
3. Nutrition of mother: the mother's lifestyle can have a significant effect on the baby. If a mother frequently consumes foods rich in fat, the fat is passed on to her baby through the milk. Thus, nursing mothers must eat healthily.
How to increase fat and nutrients in breast milk
1. Empty one breast before switching: when you let your baby empty the milk in one breast before switching, you're making sure they get the fat-rich hindmilk.
2. Massage the breasts: getting breast compressions before a feed can help move the fattier milk forward and clear the milk ducts.
3. Eat a balanced diet: as mentioned earlier, a healthy fat intake ensures that the breast has sufficient quality fat. In addition, breastfeeding mothers can consume eggs, meat, vegetable oils, soybean, and fish.
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