Marie Davis RN IBCLC


Common Lactation Terms

Abscess. A process whereby the body walls off, or separates, an area of infection. An abscess requires surgical incision and drainage.
Agalactia. Absence of milk production after childbirth.
Breastfeeding. Breastmilk Feeding. Separates mother from the process, allows for bottles of pumped milk.
Cleft Palate. Opening in either the soft or hard palate can be unilateral or bilateral.
Cleft Lip. Opening in the lip can be unilateral or bilateral.
Colic. Muscle spasms of any tubular organ. Most commonly in infants it is due to intestinal cramping.
Dehydration. Loss of essential body fluids. Critical in infants under one year of age. Can be caused by poor nutritional intake, vomiting, diarrhea, thermal losses.
Engorgement. Swelling of the breast, lactating and surrounding tissue.
Essential fatty acid: An unsaturated fatty acid that is essential to human health, but cannot be manufactured in the body. There are three types of essential fatty acids (EFAs): Arachidonic acid, linoleic acid, and linolenic acid. When obtained in the diet, linoleic acid can be converted to both arachnoidic and linolenic acid. It is commonly found in cold-pressed oils, and is particularly high in oils extracted from cold-water fish and certain seeds. Recent research has explored the role of EFAs in the nervous system and cardiovascular health. Supplementation with certain fatty acids appears to be useful as a treatment for certain neurological disorders. Arachnoidic acid however, may lower the seizure threshold. For that reason, always consult a knowledgeable physician before starting a program of EFA supplementation.
Failure to Thrive. An infant who despite adequate caloric intake fails to grow.
Galactagogue. Agent that promotes milk production.
Galactocele. Milk retention cyst in the breast due to the dilatation and obstruction of a milk duct. The cyst is usually filled with milk at first and later the fluid becomes thicker. The cyst can be aspirated but will fill again (Lawrence and Lawrence 205).
Galactopoiesis. Maintenance of lactation.
Galactorrhea. Excessive flow of milk. Continuance of lactation after weaning.
Galactostasis. The cessation or checking of milk production.
Galactotoxin. Toxic substance in the milk (it is usually produced by bacteria).
Hyperadenia. Presence of breast tissue without a nipple.
Hypermastia. Excessively large mammary gland. Extra breasts, usually occurring along the line from the nipple to the groin (occurrence 2% to 6%).
Hyperthelia. The presence of extra nipples.
Hyperglycemia. Elevated blood sugar. Above 120 mg/100 ml in the newborn.
Hypoglycemia. Low blood sugar. Below 40 mg/100 ml in the full term infant or 30 mg/100 ml in the premature infant.
Induced Lactation. Causing breastmilk production in a woman who has not recently been pregnant.
Insufficient Glandular Development of the Breast. Lack of breast tissue caused by inadequate or poor development of the lactating structure in the breast. Can be unilateral, bilateral or may affect only one portion of the breast.
Jaundice/Hyperbilirubinemia. Presence of bilirubin in the blood stream above 5 mg/dl.
Large for Gestational Age. Infant with birth weight above the 95th percentile for gestational age.
Mammalgia. Pain in the breast.
Mastectomy. Removal of all or part of the breast tissue can also include removal of underlying muscle and lymphatic tissue.
Mastitis. Infection of the breast.
Necrotizing Enterocolitis (NEC). Condition more common in premature infants whereby area of the bowel becomes necrotic (or dies) can be due to bacteria or lack of blood supply.
Oral-Motor Dysfunction. Abnormal or disorganized use of the mouth during feeding. Usually transitory in the neonatal period but can indicate a more severe problem.
Relactation. Stimulating a milk supply in a woman who has recently given birth but did not breastfeed or recently weaned her baby.
Small For Gestational Age. Infant whose birth weight is below the tenth percentile for gestational age. The infant is born with a nutritional deficit.
Sucking. Process where liquid is drawn into the mouth with negative pressure. Tongue action is primarily an up and down motion with very little jaw movement (bottle feeding).
Suckling. A method of sucking which involves an extension and retraction of the tongue. Liquid is obtained with a rhythmic licking motion of the tongue combined with jaw opening and closing (breastfeeding).
Thrush. Candida overgrowth can be in infant’s mouth or on mother’s nipples. Candida (monilial) rashes can also be present in the diaper area.



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Last Reviewed: Sunday, May 17, 2015