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It is useful to familiarize yourself with these terms before reading more about breastfeeding. The terms below are listed in alphabetical order.


The dark area of the breast around the nipple.

breastfeeding bra

Also known as a nursing bra, a breastfeeding bra is a bra that does not need to be removed in order to allow breastfeeding.

breast pads

Breast pads, also called nursing pads, are little pads that fit inside your bra that absorb leaking breast milk and help prevent cracked nipples.

breast pumps

Breast pumps are used to extract milk for storage. Stored milk can then be bottle fed to baby at a later date.


This is the first milk your breasts make in the first 3 days or so after the birth. It’s yellow, creamy and rich in nutrients.


This is when your breasts get very full and swollen with milk - typically when your milk first comes in around the 3rd day after the birth.


The first milk released during every breastfeeding session. This is the more watery, thirst-quenching part of baby’s meal.


This is released as the nursing progresses and is richer and more sustaining.

kangaroo care or skin to skin

Having your baby next to you with naked skin-to-skin contact immediately after birth and in the early weeks. This calms your baby, stimulates milk production and enhances your maternal instincts.

latching on

This is the way your baby takes your breast into their mouth.

let down reflex or milk ejection reflex

The process that sets the milk flowing inside your breasts.

let down pains or after pains

Mild to moderate stomach cramps that you may experience in the first few days while feeding, caused by your womb contracting back to its normal size.


Inflammation of the breast tissue, resulting from blocked ducts. Mastitis often has flu like symptoms and can be treated with a course of antibiotics.

nipple shields

Nipple shields are used to protect sore or cracked nipples when breastfeeding baby.


Relactation is the resumption of breastfeeding after a period of not producing milk, often helped through use of a breast pump.

tandem nursing

Tandem nursing is the process of breastfeeding two children at the same time. This may be an older and younger child or twins.

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