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Very basic terminology about breastfeeding

Please take a few minutes to go through the articles linked on this blog post. They are good articles with valuable information.

I have prepared a short list of terms related with breastfeeding along with some links to reliable sources of information. If you want to know more about breastfeeding, please read “The womanly art of breastfeeding” by La Leche League.


Breastfeeding is the act of feeding your baby the milk produced by your breasts, mouth to nipple. This article from BabyCentre about how to breastfeed is quite comprehensive.


Breasts or mammary glands produce and secrete milk feeding infants.


By Original author: Patrick J. Lynch. Reworked by Morgoth666 to add numbered legend arrows. – Patrick J. Lynch, medical illustrator, CC BY 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=2676813

It’s anatomy is fairly well explained at the Wikipedia page. I encourage you to read it.

  1. Chest wall
  2. Pectoralis muscles
  3. Lobules
  4. Nipple
  5. Areola
  6. Milk duct
  7. Fatty tissue
  8. Skin



Breast Milk

As we saw before, breasts secret milk high in whey and casein along with healthy fats, Vitamins and carbohydrates. You can find more about what are breastmilk nutritional values here.


For the first three days after labour, give it or take, breasts produce a yellow, creamy special milk. This is the colostrum.

Let down

When your baby is sucking your nipples is sending a sign to release the milk, this is the let-down reflex. To some mothers, it feels like a twinkling sensation.


Foremilk is the breast milk your baby gets at the beginning of each feeding. It is high in lactose and watery.

Hind Milk

At the end of the feeding, the milk gets dense as it contains more fat. Depending on your baby’s needs he might jump from a breast to another to consume only foremilk or stay in place to get a fattier milk. More info here.



A newborn placed on the mother’s breasts will move towards the nipple. It is an instinctive action to ensure food, warmth and love.


When your baby attaches to your breast for a feeding. A correct latch is very important to avoid pain and ensure a good feed. Bring your baby to you.  The baby’s nose should be opposite to your nipple, aim the nipple to her nose not to the centre of the mouth. You can find some tips about how to ensure a correct latch here.

Breastfeeding on demand

The act of nursing your baby when she needs it. You don’t need to follow a schedule (every two hours, every three hours…) but follow her cues: cry, opening the mouth, fussing… I’m sharing this image by Kellymom, please go to their page to find out more.



Cluster feeding

A baby might breastfeed very frequently or during a long period of time. It usually happens during growth spurts or while sick. It doesn’t mean that your supply is low. I do recommend this post from La Leche League about cluster feeding if you find it frustrating.

Mixed Feeding

Combining breast and bottle-feeding (formula or not)



Mastitis is a breast infection that can cause fever and flue-like symptoms along with breast pain, swelling and redness.


Breasts might can swell when your milk comes in. It can be uncomfortable. You can also experience engorgement if you are away from your baby or don’t feed him/pump often. If you experience pain talk to your lactation specialist, midwife or doctor.

Breastfeeding aversion

Nursing mothers may experience a sense of repulse, anxiety or agitation while breastfeeding. They might want to breastfeed their children but experience distress. Visit www.breastfeedingaversion.com for more information.


Manual expression

You can use your own hands to express milk from your breast. you can find here a how to.


Breast pumps allow you to express milk faster than hand expression. They can be electric or manual. You can find here a brief guide the difference between them.



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