Breastfeeding Glossary

Antibodies- A substance that protects against infection

Areola- The circular area of pigmented skin that surrounds the nipple

Breastfeeding.

  • a. Exclusive: Baby receives all nourishment and fluids at the breast.
  • b. Almost exclusive: Baby receives all nourishment at the breast except for small amounts of supplements.
  • c. Partial: Frequent or regular supplements.
  • d. Token: Minimal breastfeeding

Breast shell – a plastic shell that fits over the nipple, used to correct flat or inverted nipples.

Breast shield – a thin silicone shield that is placed over the nipple and areola during nursing.

Colostrum- A concentrated fluid secreted by the breast at the end of pregnancy and shortly after childbirth that provides nutrition as well as protection against disease

Engorgement– fullness, swilling, and enlargement of the breasts.

Foremilk– Low-fat milk that leaves the breast first during breastfeeding or pumping; the longer the time periods between breast drainage, the lower in fat the foremilk becomes

Hindmilk– Higher-fat milk that comes later during a breastfeeding or pumping as the breast becomes more fully drained

Inverted nipple – a nipple that retracts into the body, rather than protrudes when the areola is compressed.

Jaundice – caused by an excess of bilirubin, jaundice causes yellowing of the whites of the eyes and skin. Jaundice is relatively common among newborns, and is treatable.

Lactation -The action of producing and secreting milk

Lanolin- This cream is a savior to many breastfeeding mothers who experience sore, cracked nipples. It can soothe and protect, but make sure that you only use a pure form of lanolin to prevent allergies to the toxins that come in impure forms

Latching On – Latching on is when the baby takes the nipple and areola properly into his mouth to begin nursing. Proper positioning is critical, because your nipple needs to touch the roof of your baby’s mouth to stimulate him to latch on, suck and swallow.

Let-Down- This is the process where the brain tells the body to produce milk and make it available in the breast. Let-down occurs when the baby’s sucking action on the breast sends a message to the brain. The message stimulates the hypothalamus gland, which in turn stimulates the pituitary gland. Hormones are then released that act on special cells in the breast to produce the milk and send it toward the nipple where it is available for the baby.

Lipase – An enzyme that breaks down fat in breastmilk. In rare instances, some women may have it in higher quantities in their breastmilk, and it can cause breastmilk to develop a bad smell or taste when frozen.

Milk ducts – ducts in the breast that carry milk from the alveoli to the nipple.

Mastitis – generally occurring in breastfeeding women, mastitis causes the breasts to feel hard, sore or uncomfortable. Mastitis is caused when bacteria enters the breast through a break or crack in the nipple’s skin (such as those caused by chapped nipples) or by a plugged milk duct

Oxytocin– the love hormone, in both mom and baby which helps with bonding, stress relief and makes you relax.

Plugged (milk) duct – often caused by mastitis, plugged ducts occur when small milk ducts in the breast become blocked.

Positioning – The way a baby is held or situated when breastfeeding. There are different breastfeeding positions, and you may have to experiment to determine which one is most effective and comfortable for you and your baby.

Prolactin – A hormone produced by the pituitary gland that is responsible for milk production within the alveoli in the breast. During pregnancy, prolactin makes the breasts grow, and after giving birth, it stimulates the milk production. Prolactin is made in response to nipple stimulation when the baby suckles at the breast. Low prolactin levels can affect the mother’s milk supply.

Progesterone- A hormone produced by the placenta in large amounts during pregnancy that stimulates breast development and inhibits production of large volumes of milk.

Pumping – The method of extracting breastmilk with the help of a pump. There are both manual and electrical breast pumps. Pumping enables mothers to provide breastmilk for a caregiver to give to the baby while mom is away (for example, working).Pumping is also often used to stimulate production in a mother who has a low milk supply, to induce lactation or relieve engorgement.

Rooting Reflex-The rooting reflex occurs when touching your breast to the center of the baby’s lips or stroking his cheek causing the baby to open it’s mouth and turn it’s head to one side looking for the breast.

Suck, suckle– The baby’s milking action at the breast; in traditional usage, a baby at the breast “sucked” while a mother “suckled.”

Thrush – a common yeast infection of the mouth and throat caused by the fungus Candida albicans, marked by white patches in the mouth. Thrush can also occur in the gastrointestinal tract and can cause certain types of diaper rash in infants.

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