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Stages of breastmilk production

Stages of breastmilk production

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How does your breastmilk change over time?

The composition of breastmilk adapts frequently during the first crucial weeks of your baby’s life.

From approximately 16 weeks of pregnancy your body will begin producing colostrum in preparation for your baby’s arrival.

Following delivery of your placenta, your progesterone levels drop and this helps stimulate the initiation of lactation.

What if your breastmilk hasn’t come in when your baby is born?


Not to fear, you will have colostrum for your baby, they only need to attach to the breast, well and often!

If you aren’t able to attach your baby or you wish to express, you will likely see colostrum as a sticky, thick yellow fluid that is available in varied amounts from woman to woman. Colostrum continues to be present in your breastmilk for over a week as your milk becomes transitional milk.

How do you know if your breastmilk is changing?

You’ll see a difference in colour and consistency with transitional milk. You’ll also be producing likely double, triple or quadruple what you were producing prior.

Mature breastmilk is available in the breast from approximately 3 weeks after birth. It has a consistency similar to skim milk, and can often have a slight blue coloured hue. The amount will now hopefully be matching your baby’s demands perfectly! (works best when demand feeding exclusively).

What if you don’t produce breastmilk or colostrum?

(For the rare few who don’t see much colostrum or breastmilk in the first week, don’t panic! Seek support from your healthcare provider and keep persisting!)

 Written by Keryn Thompson RM & IBCLC (L-301766)

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