Does your diet affect the fat in your breastmilk?

Recently I’ve found that women in my clinic are anxious that if they don’t eat lots of fatty foods they will have low fat milk. Your diet does NOT affect the amount of fat in your milk. There is NO evidence that some parents make skimmed breastmilk – please don’t let anyone blame you for this!

•The quantity of fat in breastmilk is related to how full your breast is. A fuller breast will have a lower fat content. Fat content increases gradually during a feed as the breast becomes emptier.

•A bigger gap between feeds means there will be less fat at the start of the next feed. This is because fat starts to stick to the alveoli/ducts between feeds and needs some time to be ‘forced out’ during milk ejections. Frequent feeding can increase fat content!

•The length of the feed is usually irrelevant – some babies take a full feed in 5 minutes while others take 40 minutes to get the same amount.

•Breast compressions have been shown to increase the fat content of milk

•There is no good evidence that the amount of fat in the milk is related to infant growth – all milk is good milk!

•The amount of fat changes throughout the day and is highest in the evening

•The amount of fat in your milk will increase during the first week of birth and into toddlerhood! •Although your diet doesn’t affect the amount of fat in your milk, there is some research that the fats you eat have an affect on the types of fat in your milk – so do make sure you are getting your omega 3s.