How to Increase Fat Content in Breast Milk

Can you increase the fat content of breastmilk? This article will encompass all things concerning that question. Not only that, but you will click out with the understanding of how to realistically accomplish this and so much more.

How to increase the fat in your breast milk with a photo of a breast milk fat plug in a bottle.

This post may contain affiliate links. Full disclosures here. Any health-related content found in this article has been reliably sourced and is for entertainment purposes only. Make sure you check with your doctor for advice, as I am not a health professional.

Fat and Calories in Breast Milk 

The fat and calorie content of breast milk will vary throughout the day. These variations that affect the fat content of breast milk depend on a few factors. These include:

  • How full or empty the breasts are.
  • The time of day.
  • The frequency of pumping or nursing.
  • Mom’s breastfeeding diet and nutrition.
  Average Range
Calories 22 kcals/oz. 13-35 kcals/oz.
Fat 1.2g/oz.
 3-5%
0.6 – 1.5g/oz.
 1-10%

Refefence: Pubmed.org – The Composition of Human Milk

Is Fatty Breast Milk Good or Bad?

Is the fat in breast milk good for baby? Let’s answer this question before we get into the rest of the article.

As determined in the breast milk fat and calorie chart above, human breast milk is composed of 3-5% fatty lipids. Half of the calories that your breastfed baby gets is from these lipids.

These lipids provide crucial fatty acids and cholesterol your baby needs for weight gain and brain development.

What Foods Increase Fat in Breast Milk?

If a breastfeeding mother wants to increase the fat in her breast milk through her breastfeeding diet, she should focus on eating enough high quality calories throughout the day. 

Protein

Protein is essential for the production of breast milk. A breastfeeding mom should should try and consume an additional 25 grams of protein per day. Good sources of protein for breastfeeding women include foods like:

  • Salmon
  • Eggs
  • Lean Beef
  • Beans
  • Nuts and Seeds
  • Chicken

If you struggle with preparing and eating enough protein throughout the day, I would recommend this protein lactation powder full of the right nutrition breastfeeding moms need.

Healthy Fats

It seems logical that increasing your fat intake would also increase the fat in your breast milk. However, this has not yet been scientifically determined. Even so, there have been studies that demonstrate mothers who consume more monounsaturated and omega-3 fatty acids have more of the right fats in their breast milk that also help with brain development.

You can find these types of fats in foods like:

  • Olives
  • Avocados
  • Almonds, Hazelnuts, Pecans
  • Pumpkin, Sesame Seeds
  • Salmon, Sardines
  • Flax Seeds

Related Reading: Food and Breastfeeding: What to Avoid and What to Eat More of!

PSSST… Hey mama, do you need help curating a healthy breastfeeding diet designed to nourish your milk-making efforts? I highly recommend this downloadable PowerMilk breastfeeding cookbook!

Supplements to Increase Fat in Breast Milk

There is one supplement to focus on that has shown significant results in increasing breast milk fat content. That supplement is called Sunflower Lecithin.

Sunflower Lecithin is commonly used by breastfeeding moms to reduce the risk of clogs by decreasing the viscosity of their breast milk. This means, it helps to reduce the stickiness of breast milk. 

This inexpensive and easily attainable supplement (use this link to pick some up at Amazon) has been proven to increase the fat in breast milk. 

Related Reading: 11 Best Lactation Supplements to Help Increase Milk Supply

How do I Get More Hindmilk than Foremilk?

Breast milk can come in a couple different forms, foremilk and hindmilk. Hindmilk is the fattier of the two. You will know when your breast milk is composed of more hindmilk when it appears more yellow in color. Alternatively, foremilk usually looks clear or blueish in tone.

Your body will not necessarily make more hindmilk than foremilk, but you can do some things to help your baby get more of the fatty hindmilk and those are as follows:

Pump Before You Feed

Your breast milk tends to become more fatty the emptier your breasts become. To increase the fatty hindmilk your baby gets, try pumping some foremilk out right before a feeding. If you are not comfortable or can’t use a breast pump to achieve this, you can use hand expression instead. See this post about hands on pumping to learn more about hand expression.

I also recommend the help of some lactation tools to help you more easily achieve a let-down and drain your breasts more easily.

Fully emptying your breasts regularly not only helps to increase and maintain a strong milk supply, but it may also help you produce more nutritionally dense breast milk.

The Ultimate Exclusive Pumping Class can help you with your pumping insecurities and show how to master important pumping techniques so you can conquer all your breastfeeding and milk supply goals! 

P.S. Here’s 15% OFF the class with your exclusive discount code LOVE15, use this link to enroll!

Offer Your Breasts More Often

If you are feeding on demand, offering your breasts more frequently can help increase the fat in your milk by keeping breasts empty more often. This also helps increase milk supply in general by maintaining a strong supply and demand market. 

The same technique can be used if you are an exclusive pumping mom. Simply increase how often you pump

What Time of Day is Breast Milk Fattiest?

Another way you can increase the amount of hindmilk your baby gets is to adapt your pumping or breastfeeding schedule during the time of day when breast milk tends to be the fattiest. Breast milk tends to increase in fattiness later in the day. 

Breast milk fat gradually increases into the evening to give baby longer stretches of sleep. Another benefit to nursing or pumping at night is that prolactin levels are at their highest. Therefore, removing breast milk at this time should help lead to a boost in milk supply.

What is a Fat Plug in Breast Milk?

The coveted fat plug. If you’ve spent anytime in a pumping mom’s Facebook group, you may have heard of this terms or you’ve seen the “fat plug trophy photo” in a post or two. This fat plug breast milk phenomenon happens when stored breast milk develops a cap of fat at the top of a bottle and acts as a plug.

You can watch a video I found on Facebook of what a fat plug looks like in a bottle:

Screenshot of a Facebook video player showing a fat plug in breast milk scooping it out with a spoon.
Image Source: Facebook.com

Conclusion

Increasing the fat in breast milk may be possible through mechanical means more so than dietary changes. Such as more frequent nursing or pumping and keeping breasts empty more often. Although there has been some data published to assert that Sunflower Lecithin could positively affect the fat content of breast milk, eating more fatty foods actually does not increase the amount of fat present in breast milk.

References:

  1. Very Well Family – Overview of the Lipids in Breast Milk
  2. Medical News Today – Foods That Help Lactation 
  3. EJCN – Fatty acid and sn-2 fatty acid composition in human milk from Granada (Spain) and in infant formulas
  4. Pubmed.gov – Lecithin Decreases Human Milk Fat Loss During Eternal Pumping

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