The Great Glossary of Breastfeeding


Nowadays, it’s easy to not be in the know of what to say when it comes to pumping and breastfeeding. Just like texting has its own secret language, this aspect of motherhood has some special vocabulary terms and abbreviations too! If you’re struggling to keep track of what to say when it comes to how you feed your baby, no worries, below is a list of terms that can help you navigate the world of breastfeeding easier and fluently!


BF and BF’ing – Short for breast fed and breastfeeding. 

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. 

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.  This “Liquid Gold” is named for its incredible health benefits including antibodies and a high concentrate of nutrients.

EBF – Short for exclusively breast fed.

Engorged – Breasts that are uncomfortably full of milk. Often this can cause the breast to feel hard and make latching difficult.

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

Galactagogue – Substances or foods that increase milk supply. Common galactagogues include nuts, rolled oats, flaxseeds 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 – 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. 

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.

Milk supply – The average amount of milk a woman produces on a day to day basis.



Nipple confusion – When a baby fails to breastfeed successfully after being introduced to a pacifier or bottle. 

Nipple shield – A thin, soft silicone shield that goes over a woman’s nipples, helpful with mama’s who have flat or inverted nipples. 

PP – Short for postpartum.

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

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