Stages of Lactation

While every mother and baby are different, here is a typical timeline of what is most often experienced during the first stages of breastfeeding.


Immediately (and sometimes before) after you give birth, your breasts will produce a thick, yellowish, translucent fluid called colostrum. This is the first milk, which is high in protein, vitamins, minerals, and antibodies. It is important to nurse your baby frequently to stimulate your milk production and help your baby become an efficient nurser.

Transitional milk

After 3 to 5 days of breastfeeding, transitional milk develops. This milk ushers in mature breast milk.  As your mature milk comes in, your breasts may become very full and tender. Continuing to breastfeed every 2 to 3 hours for a minimum of eight feedings a day will help support a good supply and synchronize your milk production with your baby’s needs.

Mature milk

By your second week breastfeeding your milk supply will be established and you will be more comfortable breastfeeding. Your baby will be latching better, your nipples will be used to the rigors of feeding and feel less tender, and you will have established comfortable positions for feeding your baby that will begin to feel like second nature. Around this time, your baby will experience his first growth spurt, so don’t be surprised if he wants to nurse more frequently, and for longer stretches of time.