Why is my breast milk sticky

Why Is Breast Milk Sticky?

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Have you ever wondered why is breast milk sticky? Breast milk is sticky because it contains all kinds of natural and nutritional goodies such as hormones, sugars, fatty acids, Vitamins, and carbohydrates. Due to this combination, it can form sticky milk. Breast milk texture depends on the stage you are in with your baby and your baby’s needs at that time. Below is the content that makes breast milk sticky.

Components of the Breast milk

Breast milk contains:

a.         Complex sugars: Complex is one of the ingredients that makes breast milk sticky. Breast milk contains a multitude of different oligosaccharides that acts as a preventive measure for your baby against infections and inflammatory brain disease.

b.         Hormones: They are involved with regulating sleep patterns and sending chemical signals within tissues and organs. They also ensure that the organs coordinate and work properly. These enzymes also include immune-boosting white blood cells that help the organs develop and heal properly.

c.         Proteins: Some proteins in the form of nucleotides are believed to have sleep-inducing properties due to an increase in production at night. They help in the growth and development of the baby, halting disease development, and in the activation of their immune and central nervous system.

d.         Immunoglobulins: These are antibodies that deactivate bacteria and viruses and protect the baby against illnesses and infectious diseases. 

e.         Fatty acids: They help in brain and eye development and help in the development of the nervous system.

f.          Vitamins: They help in the healthy growth of the bones, teeth, intestines, glands, and blood vessels.

g.         Enzymes: These are biological catalysts that aid in digestion and in the absorption of iron by speeding up chemical reactions in the body. They are a good supply of your breast milk and contribute to your baby’s internal transfer of impulses.

Types of breast milk texture based on time duration after delivery

Breast milk consistency changes as your baby grow. This is to fit the need of your baby. Below are the stages that breast milk goes through.

Colostrum

Colostrum is the milk produced within the first few days after delivery. It is often called liquid gold not just because of the yellowish-orange color but for the important nourishing value of your little one. Is colostrum sticky? Yes, colostrum is sticky breast milk that contains everything your baby needs in the purest form. It is unique not because the main ingredients are different but because of the amounts of those ingredients perfect for a newborn.

Transitional milk

This form in the following couple of weeks after delivery. It is creamier, fuller, and whiter than the colostrum. This is the stage between the colostrum milk and mature milk where mothers feel their breasts becoming firmer and bigger. The quantity also changes to suit your baby’s needs. It contains antibodies that help to protect your baby through this stage in his growth.

Mature milk

The mature milk forms a month after delivery. It contains hormones, enzymes, protein, and sugar that aid in the healthy growth of the baby. Mature milk also changes and adapts to your baby so it incorporates an antibody to fight infections when you or your baby falls ill and its composition could change day by day.

Factors that control breast milk stickiness

Milk Fat

The sticky milk depends on a number of factors, the foremost of which studies have shown to be the fat content in the milk which can be because of the following:

The time after the last feed

The amount of fat in the milk has a relationship with the time interval since the last feed. When the interval is short, it allows the foremilk to have more fat than it would otherwise, making the breast milk stickier and thicker than normal. It almost seems like the hindmilk from the previous feeding session becomes the foremilk at the next feed.  

Breast Massage

Studies have shown that sometimes when milk is hand expressed it seems to extract higher fat content than when pumping. This makes breastmilk sticky than the milk produced when pumping.

Stage in the growth of your baby

When your baby is growing, your body compensates because he needs the best from each for his developing faculties. Breast milk does not take on new qualities, it improves on what it already had by adjusting to fit your baby’s needs.

The fullness of the Breast

A fuller breast has a bigger difference between the foremilk and hindmilk fat content. Foremilk is the batch expressed before breastfeeding while hindmilk comes after breastfeeding and thus the foremilk has a lesser fat content. This can also make your breast milk sticky.

Duration of pregnancy

When your baby is born prematurely, then the fat content is a lot higher than if your baby was carried full term. This is because preemies need it. It seems like your body understands that your baby was born earlier than expected and makes provision for you to care for him better.

How long each feeding lasts

Fat content changes throughout the duration of the feeding session. When your baby feeds for a longer period of time, the fat content in the milk increases making your breastmilk sticky because it is thicker and creamier. So you don’t need to worry that your baby isn’t getting the best out of you because of your sticky breast milk. The breast milk texture will change as your baby grows and his needs evolve with you.

The causes for worry arise if you have:

  • Pain when your baby is feeding or when you are pumping or hand expressing,
  • Reddish coloration in the milk, which could mean that you need to see your doctor or lactation specialist to rule out any serious issues,
  • Your baby unlatching over and over. Sometimes this results from a sudden change in the taste of your breast milk or for a number of other reasons.

Thick, sticky breast milk after weaning

It is perfectly normal to still experience a drop of thick, sticky breast milk after weaning. According to a lactation consultant – Anne Smith, “Since it took your breasts nine months of pregnancy to go through the physical changes that prepared them to make breast milk, it’s not surprising that they don’t go back to their pre-pregnancy state immediately after your baby weans,” Smith says.”. However, when the quantity of the milk keeps increasing after weaning or your breasts feel hard, very full, or tender, you need to see your doctor.

Why is my breast milk yellow and sticky?

When you stop breastfeeding your baby, your body will start reducing the production of milk. At this time, the color of your breast milk will change to yellowish and also becomes sticky. There is nothing to worry about it as it is perfectly normal. It happens becomes your body is undergoing changes to stop the breast milk from flowing. It will stop with time.

Why is breast milk sweet?

Breast milk is sweet because it contains a sugar known as Lactose. Lactose is necessary for brain development, calcium absorption, and good gut bacteria in the baby’s intestine. It also produces energy for babies.

Why is breast milk greasy?

Breast milk is greasy because it contains fat, water, carbohydrates, protein, vitamins, minerals, amino acids, enzymes, and white cells. Breast milk changes in consistency and color as you feed the baby through the day. It changes from foremilk that is higher in water and lactose in the mornings to hindmilk which is higher in fat and calories in the evenings.

Why is my breast milk slimy?

It is the fatty hindmilk, thicker and creamier than normal breast milk. When you pump. the foremilk comes out first and then the fatty hindmilk. Mix it together with the rest of the milk to make the consistency even. It is safe for your baby to drink.

Why is my breast milk sticky

Above and the reasons and factors that make breast milk sticky. If you have any concerns about your breast milk texture or smell in your milk, you can go for a session with your doctor and pediatrician. It is okay to proceed with what already works for your baby while keeping your mind open to try any new approaches your doctor may recommend.

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