Handy Breastfeeding Terms

Below find a small glossary of breastfeeding terms you will find helpful. Pass this on to those in your life with whom you will be talking. Other breastfeeding mommies will be aware of these terms. However, grandmas, aunts, and others may not. I have added a few I have found helpful. Please send me others you may use. This is a language shared among new mommies and we want everyone to enjoy it!


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 milkto 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.

In addition:

Dream Feed: Providing bottled breastmilk to a sleeping baby to prolong her sleep time. Do not pick baby up.

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