A-Z Glossary: Breastfeeding, Pumping, Lactation

mom breastfeeding baby

Welcome to the world of lactation, mama! This journey is so exciting for you and your little one. You may have heard a lot about breastfeeding and pumping, and you might be wondering where to begin.

We know it can sometimes feel like a foreign language, so we've crafted an A to Z Breastfeeding, Pumping, and Lactation Glossary to make sure that when you use terms like "flange" and "mmHg," you'll sound like a pumping pro!

Ready to start your journey? Let's get into it:


A-Z Glossary: Breastfeeding, Pumping, Lactation























The areola is the dark, circular area surrounding the nipple. It contains small glands called Montgomery's glands, which secrete oils that help keep the nipple moisturized and protected during breastfeeding.


The alveoli are tiny milk-producing glands found in the breast. When a baby latches on and begins feeding, it stimulates the release of prolactin, which signals the alveoli to produce milk. Each breast contains thousands of these alveoli, which work together to supply your little one with the nourishment they need to grow and develop!


Breast Milk

Breast milk is food that your body customizes for your baby. Breast milk contains the ideal balance of nutrients, antibodies, hormones, and enzymes that help support your baby's growth and development. It's also easily digestible, helping your little one pass stool without discomfort. 

Breast Milk Storage Bags

Breast milk storage bags are a convenient way to store and freeze your breast milk for later use. Usually plastic or reusable silicone, they're designed to be easy to use and hygienic, are often pre-sterilized, and have a secure, leak-proof seal to ensure that your breast milk remains fresh and free from contamination.

Lansinoh storage bags, which come with an adapter, allow you to pump directly into the bag, so you don’t have to worry about transferring it over and potentially spilling all of that liquid gold.

Breast Pump

Breast pumps are fantastic tools for breastfeeding moms. Whether you need to relieve engorgement, build up your milk supply, or pump milk for when you're away from your baby, a breast pump can be a lifesaver! There are different types of breast pumps available, including manual, electric, and hospital-grade pumps.

Breast Crawl

Breast crawl is a breastfeeding process used to describe the instinctive behavior of newborn babies when they are on their mother's chest right after birth. During breast crawl, an alert baby will use their senses to find and try to latch onto the breast and begin breastfeeding. Breastfeeding in the early hours after birth has a strong correlation with long-term breastfeeding success.

Breastfeeding-Friendly Workplace or Business

"Breastfeeding-friendly" is a term used to identify businesses that have committed to supporting breastfeeding families. They usually have accommodations to support breastfeeding or pumping in public or in the workplace, which may include pumping rooms or designated places for mothers to breastfeed or pump safely and privately.

Several organizations have created special "Breastfeeding-Friendly Business and Workplace" designations that can help you identify companies that meet these standards. The North Carolina Breastfeeding Coalition provides an application for all North Carolina businesses, for example.

NOTE: The "Breastfeeding-Friendly Business" designation is for businesses that support breastfeeding customers, while the "Breastfeeding-Friendly Workplace" designation goes to businesses that support lactating employees.



Chestfeeding describes feeding a baby from your chest or from a feeding tube that is attached to the nipple. The term is most commonly used by transmasculine or non-binary people. Different people use this word for different reasons. Individuals should decide what term best describes their personal experience.

Clogged Ducts (Ductal Narrowing)

Clogged ducts occur when the milk flow in a milk duct becomes blocked, leading to discomfort and potential pain. It may feel like a lump or a tender spot in the breast. When you have clogged ducts, it's important to reduce inflammation under the guidance of a lactation consultant. Your lactation consultant may recommend ice packs and light massage. Generally speaking, you should continue to breastfeed or pump as you normally would. Unless your healthcare provider or consultant directs you to, don’t change the frequency of feeding or pumping.

Closed System

When you see the term "closed system," it indicates that there is a barrier within the breast pump that does not allow the milk to come in contact with the tubing in your pumping kit, allowing it to go straight from breast to bottle. Because the system is closed, it is never necessary to wash the tubing that attaches to the pump.

Cluster Feeding

Cluster feeding refers to a pattern of very frequent, short feeding sessions that a breastfeeding baby may go through during certain periods, typically in the evening. Cluster feeding is actually a normal behavior for infants, but it may indicate a growth spurt or low milk supply.


Colic is excessive crying and fussiness in infants, usually occurring in their first few months of life. While the exact cause of colic is still unknown, it is believed to be related to digestive discomfort due to immaturity in the gastrointestinal system or a reaction to something in mom’s diet. Breast milk is typically easy to digest, so breastfeeding can help protect your little one against colic symptoms


Colostrum is the first form of milk produced by moms immediately following delivery. Most moms will also produce colostrum just before giving birth. Yellowish in color, colostrum is concentrated and can have a thick consistency. It is made in small quantities to match the size of your newborn's stomach, which is only about the size of a teaspoon. Colostrum is a wonderful first meal for your little one, as it contains antibodies and many nutrients to protect newborns against disease.

Complementary Foods

Complementary foods are introduced to a baby's diet alongside breastfeeding when they reach around six months of age. These foods, such as pureed or cut-up fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and proteins, are gradually added to the baby's diet to provide additional nutrients and flavors.

It is important that you continue breastfeeding alongside the introduction of complementary foods until your baby is at least one year old, as breast milk provides essential nutrients and immune protection that cannot be replicated by any other food.


Donor Human Milk

Donor human milk is breast milk that is donated by lactating mothers who have an excess supply and are willing to share it with other infants in need. This milk is carefully screened and pasteurized to ensure its safety before it is distributed to hospitals or individuals who require it.

Donor human milk can be a valuable resource for babies who are unable to receive breast milk from their own mothers. It can be especially beneficial for premature infants who may have difficulty digesting formula or who are at a higher risk of developing infections.

Double Electric Breast Pump

A double electric breast pump is a pump that allows for double pumping, meaning it comes with two breast shields to simultaneously express milk from both breasts at once. This is beneficial for increasing milk production and saving time.


Electric Pump

Electric pumps are powered by electricity and typically offer adjustable suction and speed settings to mimic the baby's natural sucking rhythm. They are designed to be efficient and comfortable, ensuring a steady milk supply and reducing the time required for pumping sessions. They come in various models, including single pumps for one breast at a time and double pumps for both breasts simultaneously.

Need a recommendation? Our Aeroflow Breastpumps mamas are all about rating their products and sharing their experiences. When shopping for your pump, check the reviews! Or ask our mamas directly in The Pumping Room


Engorgement is a common issue that breastfeeding mothers experience when their breasts become overly full and swollen. This can occur when there is an increase in milk supply, typically in the first few days after childbirth or during periods of infrequent feeding or pumping. If you are dealing with engorgement or think you may be, reach out to your healthcare provider or lactation consultant for tips on managing engorgement. 

Exclusive Breastfeeding

Exclusive breastfeeding is nourishing a child with breast milk without additional foods or liquids. Exclusive breastfeeding is recommended by the World Health Organization and the American Academy of Pediatrics as the optimal feeding method for infants through six months old. It is one of the most effective ways to ensure infant health.

Exclusive Pumping

Also known as EPing of breast milk, Exclusive pumping is a system of feeding your baby where breast milk is only removed from the breast via a breast pump and not through latching your baby directly to your breast. This milk is then provided through an alternate feeding method—most commonly a bottle. About 5% of moms exclusively pump milk for their babies.

Expression Phase

The expression phase is often the second setting on a breast pump used after the stimulation phase. It is slower and has longer intervals, while the stimulation phase is faster and has shorter intervals. The stimulation and expression phases of a breast pump are meant to simulate your baby's sucking behavior when feeding from the breast.

Extended Breastfeeding

Extended breastfeeding is nursing for longer than what is typical in a culture. For Western cultures, that is usually beyond one year. While the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months and then continued breastfeeding with the addition of solid foods until at least one year, The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends extended breastfeeding to two years or beyond.



A breast pump flange is a plastic or silicone piece that fits directly over your nipple to form a seal. When you begin to pump, this creates a vacuum seal that should draw your nipple into the flange tunnel for maximum milk extraction. Many pumps come with 24mm flanges, but you may need to select smaller or larger flanges based on your measurement and experience when pumping. 


Foremilk and hindmilk are terms tied to the concept that the make-up of breast milk varies from the beginning of a feeding session (foremilk) to the end (hindmilk). Foremilk is usually more watery, higher in lactose, and has less fat than hindmilk. If your feeding/pumping sessions are close together, your foremilk and hindmilk consistency will be more similar.


Infant formula is a milk-like food regulated by the FDA to have enough nutrients to act as a substitute for breast milk. Formula is typically made from cow's milk or soy. Infant formula typically comes in three forms: powdered infant formula (PIF), concentrated liquid formula, and ready-to-feed infant formula (RTF).



The word galactogogue comes from the Greek term “galacta” which means milk. Galactagogues are substances that can help increase a nursing mother's milk supply, and they can be found in herbs, lactogenic foods, lactogenic supplements, or prescription medications. Galactagogues are most effective in raising milk supply when combined with increased breastfeeding and milk removal frequency. They should be used under the guidance of an IBCLC or maternal healthcare provider.


Hand Expression

Hand expression is a technique that allows a breastfeeding mother to manually remove milk from her breasts. This can be useful in situations where a breast pump is not available or if a mother prefers a more hands-on approach. Hand expression is a skill that can be learned and practiced, and it can help relieve engorgement, stimulate milk production, and collect milk for feeding or storage. It is sometimes used antenatally to collect colostrum prior to delivery.


Hospital-grade electric breast pumps are multi-user pumps, meaning that they are used in the hospital or rented postpartum and repeatedly used by different moms. When a mom is prescribed or decides to rent a hospital-grade pump, she will get a pump kit that is all hers with her own flanges, bottles, and tubes, but the machine is built to be rented out and used across many nursing moms. For a small percentage of moms who struggle with low milk supply, trying a hospital-grade pump can help improve their supply. Once out of the hospital, hospital-grade pumps are only available to rent. 

Learn more in Everything You Need to Know About Hospital-Grade Breast Pumps.


Hospital-strength is a term used by breast pump manufacturers without set industry guidelines for what it means to be "hospital-strength." Because of this, the term “hospital strength” is sometimes misleading. While the suction might be stronger, stronger doesn’t always mean you will be able to express more milk. For some moms, stronger suction can cause discomfort.


IBCLC / Lactation Consultant

An International Board Certified Lactation Consultant is a healthcare professional who specializes in the clinical care and management of breastfeeding. They specialize in helping parents achieve their lactation goals through education, clinical support of the mother-baby dyad, collaboration with the maternal health team, and referrals to community resources and other health professionals.


The immune support that breast milk provides your baby is one of the many benefits of breastfeeding! Breast milk contains antibodies that help protect your baby from various illnesses and infections. These antibodies are tailored to the specific pathogens present in a mother's environment, which means that breastfeeding can provide your baby with personalized immune protection, especially when your baby feeds directly from the breast. Breastfed babies have been found to have a lower risk of respiratory infections, ear infections, gastrointestinal infections, and even certain chronic diseases later in life.

Introducing Solids

Introducing solids is an important milestone in a baby's growth and development. While breast milk should still be your baby's primary food for the first year, you can begin to experiment with solids when your baby is 6-12 months. Use this time to introduce your little one to a variety of pureed or cut-up foods. To ensure your baby is getting the nutrition they need during this period, it is generally recommended that you offer breast milk when your baby is hungry 8-12 times per day; offer solid foods after the breastfeeding session is over about 1-3 times per day. 

Inverted Nipple

Inverted nipples are nipples that retract inward instead of protruding outward. Inverted nipples may pose breastfeeding challenges, so it's important to work with an experienced IBCLC as soon as possible after delivery. While it may pose challenges, many women with inverted nipples successfully nurse their babies! Different breastfeeding techniques, such as using a breast pump to draw out the nipple before latching the baby, can help facilitate breastfeeding for mothers with inverted nipples. 


Kangaroo Mother Care

Kangaroo Mother Care is a way for you to bond with your preterm baby and provide life-saving care that is low-tech and human-centered. Continuous and prolonged skin-to-skin contact (i.e. 8–24 hours per day or for as many hours as possible) is used instead of an isolette while your baby is in the NICU and continued at home. Benefits include maintaining your baby's optimal temperature, keeping your baby's heart in an ideal rhythm, faster weight gain for your baby, greater breastfeeding success, and lower stress levels for both mothers and babies. Studies show up to a 40% decrease in mortality for high-risk newborns with the use of kangaroo mother care.



Lactogenesis refers to the process of milk production in the breasts. There are three stages of lactogenesis: Lactogenesis I, II, and III.

The first stage is milk production, which occurs during pregnancy. The second stage begins within two to five days after childbirth when your mature milk comes in, and your breasts start producing larger quantities of milk. The third stage occurs around 10 days after childbirth and is characterized by the establishment of a steady milk supply. During this stage, it is crucial to establish a consistent breastfeeding or pumping routine to maintain milk production and meet your baby's needs.


A proper latch is essential for successful breastfeeding. It occurs when the baby's mouth is attached firmly to the mother's breast, encompassing much of the areola and not just the nipple. A good latch ensures that the baby can effectively extract milk and stimulates milk production. Signs of a good latch include the baby's lips flanging out and the baby's chin touching the breast, as well as mom feeling comfortable and pain-free.

To achieve a good latch, it is important to find a comfortable breastfeeding position. There are various positions to try, such as the cradle hold, football hold, side-lying position, and cross-cradle hold. Experiment with different positions to find what works best for you and your baby.


Milk sometimes spontaneously drips or sprays from the breast, even when the baby is not actively nursing, especially in the early stages when your milk supply is still regulating. Leaking can be caused by a variety of factors, including your letdown reflex, an oversupply of milk, or an incorrect latch. To manage leaking, you can try using nursing pads or milk collectors to absorb the excess milk. It's important to note that not all moms leak, and that is also completely normal. Leaking or not leaking is not a reflection of your milk supply.


Let-down is an automatic and natural reaction that occurs when the hormone oxytocin is released in response to breastfeeding, nipple stimulation, or even just hearing, seeing or thinking about your little one. The let-down reflex causes the milk ducts to contract, moving milk from the milk-producing cells towards the nipple. You may notice a tingling sensation as your body releases the oxytocin and milk begins to flow, but some mamas don't feel anything.


Mammary Glands

The mammary glands are the primary breast tissue responsible for milk production in breastfeeding women. Most breasts consist of 15-20 lobes of glandular tissue. The milk produced in the lobes empty into milk ducts throughout the breast that then merge into 5-10 main ducts, which then open at the nipple, allowing your baby to receive your milk. During pregnancy, hormonal changes stimulate the growth and development of mammary glands, and breast milk develops in the glands as early as the 16th week of pregnancy. After childbirth, the mammary glands first produce milk in response to the delivery of the placenta and then in response to the baby's suckling and the release of the hormone prolactin.

Manual Pump

A manual pump is a type of breast pump that requires manual operation to collect milk from the breasts. It usually consists of a suction device or a handle that needs to be squeezed or pumped manually to create suction and stimulate milk flow. Manual pumps are portable, easy to use, and affordable, making them a popular choice for breastfeeding mothers who only need to pump occasionally or on the go.


Mastitis is inflammation and swelling of the breast tissue that can look red, and feel hot to the touch and painful. It is usually caused by making too much milk, not removing milk often enough, and a microbial imbalance in the breast tissue. Mastitis can sometimes lead to bacterial infection. Symptoms can worsen by overstimulation of milk production and/or aggressive breast massage. If you suspect you have mastitis, it is important to work with an IBCLC as soon as possible. Early management is the best way to avoid treatment with antibiotics. Most mastitis symptoms can be treated without antibiotics.

Maternity Compression

Maternity compression serves as an umbrella term for a variety of medical devices worn to reduce swelling during pregnancy and promote healing during postpartum recovery. They provide gentle compression to provide support where your body needs it the most and are available in compression socks and maternity support bands (during pregnancy) and postpartum recovery garments (after pregnancy).

Mature Milk

Mature milk is the milk produced after transitional milk. Your body will typically start producing mature milk about 10-15 days after delivery. Mature milk is higher in fat, calories, and lactose, providing your baby with the essential nourishment they need for healthy growth and development.


Also known as valve membranes, these are the small flexible parts that attach to the breast pump valves. They can become worn down over time and should be replaced every 2-4 weeks if you pump 3 or more times per day or every 2 months if you pump 1-2 times per day to help your pump maintain output and performance.

Milk Duct

A milk duct is a tiny tube that carries milk from the milk-producing glands in the breast to the nipple. These ducts are responsible for transporting milk to the baby during breastfeeding. The breast is made up of multiple milk ducts, each connecting to a separate milk-producing gland. When the baby suckles at the breast, it stimulates the release of milk from the ducts, allowing the baby to feed.


Or millimeters of mercury is the standard unit of measurement for breast pump suction level or vacuum pressure. Breast pumps generally have a suction level of 220 to 350 mmHg. Higher levels of suction do not necessarily mean certain pumps are better than others. Generally, hospital-grade pumps have a higher ranger due to having a bigger, stronger motor to withstand the use of multiple mothers.


Night Feed

Night feeds are a normal and essential part of breastfeeding and pumping schedules. Babies will wake up at night ready to feed. Babies should nurse every 2-3 hours during the day and night, but once breastfeeding is established, usually by six weeks, most moms can go 4-5 hour stretches at night of not feeding without it negatively affecting their supply. It's important to respond to your baby's feeding cues and feed them whenever they are hungry, regardless of timing. The good news is that it's during nighttime feedings the hormone prolactin is released in higher amounts, supporting milk production and supply.


The small raised area in the center of the breast through which milk can flow when breastfeeding or pumping. The nipple’s skin is similar to the areola, but it is raised and has no sebaceous glands. It has 5-10 corresponding pores, which act as the output of the milk ducts.

Nipple Bleb

A nipple bleb can look like a small white or yellow blister on the nipple that appears crusted over and feels harder than the rest of the nipple. It is usually caused by ductal inflammation and breast swelling that has spread to the surface of the breast. Blebs can be painful and can interfere with milk flow during breastfeeding. It is important not to try to remove the bleb, which can cause further trauma. Work with an IBCLC to manage your bleb.

Nipple Creams

Nipple creams contain ingredients that are safe for you and your baby, so you don't need to wipe them off before breastfeeding. There is currently no solid research indicating what the best nipple creams or ingredients are. The ingredients in nipple cream may help in different ways. Lanolin-based nipple cream may help when a protective layer is needed for nipples with deep wounds. Calendula may help nipples heal when there are more shallow abrasions. Coconut oil may help the nipple to glide in the flange more easily and prevent discomfort when pumping. Peppermint oil may help decrease pain; oregano oil may act as an antibacterial agent. The most important thing for pain or trauma is correcting your infant’s latch. For infection, a mom might do better with a prescription instead of something over the counter.

Nipple Shield

A nipple shield is a thin piece of silicone material that creates a barrier over your nipple when nursing at the breast. They are soft, flexible, and come in different shapes and sizes. Nipple shields may temporarily bring you relief from sore nipples or help your baby latch, but most moms should not use them long-term. To wean off of a nipple shield and fully address the lactation issues that led you to start using one, contact an IBCLC.

Nursing Bra

A nursing bra is a specially designed bra that allows easy access for breastfeeding. It typically has extra support and adjustable straps to accommodate changes in breast size during lactation. Nursing bras usually have convenient clasps or openings in the cups to allow quick and discreet nursing. This one by Simple Wishes is super popular with nursing mamas!

Nursing Pillow

A nursing pillow is a supportive pillow specifically designed to help position your baby comfortably during breastfeeding. It helps to elevate the baby to the breast level, providing proper alignment and reducing strain on the mother's neck, back, and arms. Nursing pillows come in various shapes and sizes, allowing mothers to choose one that suits their individual needs and preferences.


Open System

An open-system breast pump does not have a barrier that prevents milk from entering the tubing during a pumping session. These types of pumps need to be properly sterilized and allowed to completely dry after each use. We recommend mamas stock up on some extra pumping parts with these so that they have a spare if they are behind on sanitizing!


Oxytocin, also known as the "love hormone," is released during breastfeeding and pumping, promoting the contraction of the smooth muscles around the milk ducts, allowing the milk to flow more easily. Oxytocin also promotes bonding between the mother and baby, creating a sense of closeness and emotional connection.



Prolactin is a hormone produced by the pituitary gland that is responsible for initiating and maintaining milk production in lactating mothers. It is released in response to nipple stimulation, either through breastfeeding, hand expression, or pumping. The more often and effectively a baby breastfeeds or a mother pumps, the more prolactin is produced, leading to increased milk supply. Prolactin levels are higher in the late evenings and the morning, meaning your milk supply may be more abundant during these times.

Pumping Bra

A pumping bra is a specially designed bra that allows a person to pump breast milk hands-free. It typically has openings or flaps that can fit a flange, allowing you to pump without having to hold anything in place. This gives mamas more freedom during their pumping journey and makes it easier to multitask or relax while expressing milk. Pumping bras come in different styles, colors, and sizes to accommodate different body types, breast sizes, and preferences.

Pumping Schedule

Establishing a pumping schedule can help moms who are away from their babies or who wish to exclusively pump maintain their milk supply. The schedule should mimic a baby's feeding pattern and take into account individual needs and preferences.



Relactation is the process of restarting breastfeeding after a period of not breastfeeding or exclusively pumping. It can be necessary if a mother wants to resume breastfeeding after a break. Relactation requires commitment and support, as it involves increasing milk supply through frequent breastfeeding or pumping sessions and working with a lactation consultant to develop a plan.


Over time, milk output can be reduced when pump parts become worn or overstretched. Replacing parts when they are no longer optimally working, or "resupply," can help you make sure your pump is functioning properly. This can include parts such as valves, membranes, flanges, and tubing individually or in kits. Some insurance will cover resupply parts, and you can always find them online in our Resupply section. Parts should be replaced when they are damaged. Replacement should also happen at specific intervals for specific parts of the pump. If you pump more often because you pump at work or pump exclusively, you will need to replace parts more often than a mom who is pumping two or fewer times per day.


Rooting is a reflex action that newborns have to seek out the breast for feeding. When the corner of your baby's mouth is stimulated by their hand, an object, or your nipple they instinctively turn their head, open their mouth wide, and make body movements like they are trying to find something. This behavior is triggered by the baby's sense of smell and touch and can be a sign that the baby is ready to breastfeed. Understanding rooting cues can also help mothers initiate breastfeeding.


Single Electric Breast Pump

A single electric breast pump comes with a motor unit and one flange to allow mothers to express milk from one breast at a time. Single electric pumps might be best for you if you only have occasional separation from your baby, like running a quick errand. They can also be kept on hand as a backup pump. Moms like them because they are simple to use and clean, lightweight, and break down easily because they have fewer parts than a double electric pump.


Skin-to-skin care is a technique that involves placing the baby in direct contact with the mother's bare chest after delivery. This practice has numerous benefits for both the mother and the baby. The warmth and closeness that kangaroo care provides help regulate the baby's body temperature, heart rate, and breathing. It also promotes bonding between mama and breastfeeding baby.

Stimulation Phase

The stimulation phase is the first phase of breastfeeding that occurs as your baby quickly suckles to stimulate milk production. Many breast pumps naturally mimic this pattern to assist with milk expression.


Breast pump suction refers to the speed of the cycle (speed of sucks) and the strength of the vacuum (strength of the suction). Some pumps enable you to adjust the cycle and vacuum separately, allowing you to completely tailor your breast pump’s suction to your needs or preferences. Most exclusively pumping moms and many moms who pump while working full-time prefer a pump that has these separate adjustments. You are most likely to find this feature in double electric pumps. Manual, standard and wearable pumps do not have a separate adjustment for both cycle and vacuum. They will typically have just one control or one adjustment that will increase and decrease the cycle and vacuum in unison.

Supplemental Nursing System (SNS)

An SNS is a tube that is attached to the breast and also connects to a bottle. Extra nutrition (either formula or pumped milk ) is delivered via the tube while the baby nurses at the breast.


Supplementing refers to the practice of feeding your infant expressed milk, donor milk, or formula in addition to milk directly from the breast. Supplementation is often used when a baby is not receiving enough milk from breastfeeding alone. It's important to consult with a health care professional and lactation consultant before starting to supplement to be sure you are using the right approach for you and your child.


Tandem Feeding

Tandem feeding is breastfeeding two babies of different ages at the same time. Studies indicate that breast milk from moms who practice tandem nursing meets the nutritional requirements of both older and younger children. Additionally, while this method may seem tiring to the mother, studies show that nighttime feedings (which will happen with the younger of the babies regardless of whether you tandem feed or only breastfeed one child) it is actually the main cause of exhaustion for moms that tandem breastfeed. Tandem nursing can help moms and their older babies meet AAP and WHO breastfeeding goals of two years and beyond while also focusing on growing their families.


Thrush is a fungal infection that can affect both a breastfeeding mother and their baby. It is caused by an overgrowth of yeast called Candida albicans. Symptoms of thrush include nipple pain, redness, and itching, as well as white patches in the baby's mouth that are thick and cannot be wiped off.

If you suspect you or your baby have thrush, it's important to seek medical advice from a healthcare professional or a lactation consultant. Treatment typically involves antifungal medications, both topical and oral, to clear the infection. It's also recommended to wash and sterilize any breastfeeding equipment to prevent reinfection.

Tongue Tie

A tongue tie, also known as ankyloglossia, is a condition where the tissue connecting the tongue to the floor of the mouth is too tight or thick. This can affect a baby's ability to breastfeed effectively, as it restricts their tongue's movement.

Symptoms of tongue-tie may include difficulty latching onto the breast, poor weight gain, and nipple pain for the mother. If you suspect that your baby has a tongue tie, be sure to talk with your baby's doctor about the condition so they can provide guidance.

Transitional Milk

Transitional milk is the breast milk that is produced from 2-5 days after delivery until up to 2 weeks after delivery. It is a combination of colostrum, which is the first milk produced, and mature milk, which is produced later on. Transitional milk is a bluish-white color, and it should cause your breasts to become fuller and warmer than they were in the first few days when only producing colostrum.



Also known as duck valves, these are the small, flexible breast pump parts that stretch and release as the pump sucks in to create the suction that is felt on the breast to draw milk out. They become worn over time and should be replaced every month if you pump at least three times per day and every 2-3 months if you pump 1-2 times per day to keep your pump at peak performance.



Weaning is a long process that starts with the first supplemental feed—such as your baby's first bottle or first solid food—and ends with your child no longer breastfeeding. It is best for weaning to happen gradually. Weaning quickly can lead to painful breasts and an increased risk for breast infection. Additionally, babies usually respond better and don't fight weaning if it's done at a gentle pace or with the baby's lead.

Wearable Breast Pump

A wearable breast pump is a convenient and discreet option for mothers who need to express milk on the go or while multitasking. They are best for occasional pumping or as a second pump, not as your primary pump. Unlike traditional breast pumps, which require bottles and tubing, wearable breast pumps are designed to be worn inside a bra or clothing, allowing for hands-free pumping.


And there you have it! Your catch-all guide to the most popular terms you'll come across on this beautiful journey. As always, if you need any assistance setting or reaching your breastfeeding or pumping goals, our lactation consultants are here to support you! Reach out to see if your insurance covers lactation courses and to chat about your specific needs. Happy breastfeeding and pumping!


Information provided in blogs should not be used as a substitute for medical care or consultation.