25 Terms Every Breastfeeding Woman Should Know

25 Terms Every Breastfeeding Woman Should Know

Feel more confident about breastfeeding by learning these 25 commonly used abbreviations or terms. 


BF and BFing - Short for breast fed and breastfeeding. 


Birth weight - The weight of a child on the day they were born. Children typically lose weight after birth and doctors will monitor their weight until they reach birth weight.


Breast shield or nipple shield - A thin, soft silicone shield that goes over a woman’s nipples. Breast shields can be used for babies who have persistent latch problems or for a woman who has flat or inverted nipples.


Clogged duct - An area of the breast that is temporarily clogged with milk. This causes a lump to form in the breast and the area may become hot and swollen. If a duct remains clogged for too long it can form into something more serious like mastitis. Clogged ducts can be treated with heat, nursing on the affected side and breast massage.


Colostrum - Aka “Liquid Gold.” Colostrum is the first milk produced by your breasts that your body typically starts producing in the fourth month of pregnancy. Women can leak colostrum for months before their due date. This “Liquid Gold” is named for its incredible health benefits including antibodies, immunoglobulins, and a rich concentrate of nutrients.


EBF - Short for exclusively breast fed.


Engorgement or engorged - Breasts that are uncomfortably full of milk. Often this can cause the breast to feel hard and make latching difficult.


Feed - One “feed” is one nursing session where the baby eats several ounces of milk.


Foremilk - Breastmilk from the beginning of a feed that has less fat content than hind milk.


FTM - Short for first time mom.


Galactagogue - Substances or foods that increase milk supply. Common galactagogues include nuts, rolled oats, flaxseeds, fenugreek and oatmeal.


Hand express - Squeezing your breast by hand in order to express milk.


Hindmilk - Breastmilk from the end of a feed that has a higher fat content than foremilk.


IBCLC - An International Board Certified Lactation Consultant is a healthcare professional specializing in breastfeeding who is independently certified.


Lactation Consultant - A healthcare professional specializing in breastfeeding.


Latch or Latches On - When a baby correctly takes the breast into his or her mouth for optimal nursing. A correct latch means that a child is sucking on enough of the areola and nipple to drain the breast of milk.


Letdown - The sensation that happens after a baby begins sucking on the breast and milk surges forward. Some women’s letdowns are aggressive and can cause spraying while others may not notice when their milk lets down.


Mastitis - An inflammation of the breast that is caused by an obstruction, infection or allergy.


Milk coming in - When a women’s milk production kicks into high gear after birth. This typically takes three to four days for first time moms or two to three days in a second child or later. Before the milk “comes in” a woman produces colostrum to keep baby nourished.


Milk supply - The average amount of milk a woman produces on a day to day basis. Some women have an “oversupply” meaning their body makes more milk than their baby can drink, and some women have an “undersupply” where their body does not make enough milk for the baby. Milk supply can be increased or decreased using different techniques and with the addition of galactagogues.


Nipple confusion - When a baby fails to breastfeed successfully after being introduced to a pacifier or bottle. Many doctors warn mothers to successfully establish a nursing routine before introducing a bottle so as to not cause nipple confusion in an infant. Nipple confusion could account for a baby becoming lazy at the breast, or losing a once successful latch.


PP - Short for postpartum.


Pumping - Using an electric or manual device to provide suction on the breast to express milk.


Rooting reflex - A child’s innate reflux to turn towards a stimulus and make a sucking motion when the cheek or lip is touched.


Supplement - Occasionally giving a child formula while breast milk remains their primary food source. 

Keep Reading Postpartum Care in the Early Days at Home ›


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25 Terms Every Breastfeeding Woman Should Know>


  • Thanks a lot! for sharing the benefits and different terms to use in breast feeding. It will help a lot :)

  • Your blog entries inspire me to learn more about the terms and benefits of breastfeedingf and how to talk about it to others. Thank you for another very informative post.

    Emma Gedge

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