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31 Terms Every Breastfeeding Mom Should Know

31 Terms Every Breastfeeding Mom Should Know


While every mom’s breastfeeding journey is unique, many words and phrases make a sudden appearance in everyone’s new vocabulary. Some of these are easy to understand, others may be a little confusing. Here, we’ve compiled some of our favorite, most confusing, and most important words every nursing mom should know.

  • Areola, n. the dark circle of pigmentation around the nipple
  • Breast Crawl, n. a newborn’s instinct to move toward the nipple and suckle
  • Cluster Feeding (also “bunch feeding”), n. a breastfeeding pattern with several feedings close together
  • Colostrum, n. a yellowish breast milk, rich in antibodies and high in protein, produced from the end of pregnancy through the early days of breastfeeding
  • Engorgement, n. an uncomfortable fullness of the breasts, experienced at any time during breastfeeding; most often within the 36 hours after delivery or when moms first wake up in the morning if their babies don’t feed at night
  • Exclusive Pumping, n. moms who bottle-feed their expressed breast milk to their babies
  • Expressed Breast Milk, n. breast milk, siphoned from the breast by hand or pump, which is used for storage or feeding
  • Extended Breastfeeding, n. the act of nursing a child past for more than a year
  • Feeding on Demand, n. the practice of feeding at the first sign of baby’s hunger cues rather than on a set schedule.
  • Foremilk & Hindmilk, n. terms for the milk produced at the beginning (foremilk) and end (hindmilk) of a particular feeding
  • Flanged Lips, n. a sign of proper latch: lips curled outwards while nursing, resembling fish lips
  • Galactagogues, n. foods, medications, or supplements that increase milk supply, such as fenugreek, blessed thistle, alfalfa, or oatmeal
  • Inverted Nipples, n. nipples that cave inward, rather than protruding fully
  • Kangaroo Care, n.: a type of bonding that involves skin-to-skin contact and baby-wearing to stimulate feelings of closeness and well-being.
  • Latch, n. the way a baby attaches to the nipple
  • Let-Down (also “letdown” or “let down”), n. a hormonal reaction to breast stimulation that causes muscles to bring milk into the ducts
  • Lip Tie, n. a tight frenulum (skin between the lip and the gum) that impedes breastfeeding
  • Liquid Gold, n. breast milk
  • Mastitis, n. an inflammation of the breast tissue, usually caused by an infection, often identified by flu-like symptoms and a rash
  • Milk Blister (also “bleb” or “nipple blister”), n. an open milk duct covered by skin, pain may persist several days or weeks
  • Nipple Shield, n. a silicone cover for the nipple that may help with breastfeeding issues
  • Overactive Let-Down, n. a forceful ejection of milk from the breasts during feeding that may cause issues while nursing
  • Oxytocin & Prolactin, n. the hormones responsible for milk production
  • Pre-Feeding and Post-Feeding Weights, n. a method used to calculate how much milk has been consumed in a feeding session.
  • Plugged Ducts (also “Clogged Ducts” or “Milk Stasis”), n. a backup in a milk duct resulting from milk being produced faster than it is expressed
  • Reverse-Cycling, n. a period when a baby nurses more at night than during the day
  • Rooting, n. an active sign of hunger evident as a baby moves the head around looking for a nipple to latch on to
  • Thrush, n. a yeast infection causing white patches on an infant’s tongue and mouth, can also cause pain in the mother’s breasts or nipples
  • Tongue Tie, n. a condition where the lingual frenulum (tissue connecting the tongue to the floor of the mouth) is short and tight, restricting tongue movement and breastfeeding ability.