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Stages of Human Milk Production

The human body is amazing! Human milk changes from a liquid gold color in the first few days after birth to a bluish-white color over time. Each stage of milk production serves the specific nutritional and health needs of your baby.

Brown background with text describing 3 different stages of human milk production: Colostrum, Transitional Milk and Mature Breastmilk

Text from Stages of Human Milk Production Infographic

Colostrum: Production of this dense liquid gold is driven by hormones starting during pregnancy and continuing until the first few days postpartum. It's rich in antibodies like Secretory IgA, protein, vitamins, and minerals while lower in fat. It helps your baby pass meconium and establish a healthy gut system. Size of a Cherry: Baby consumes around 2-10 mL per feeding on their first day.

Transitional milk: Skin-to-skin and early and often breastfeeding or expression encourage the production of milk as your body's hormones adjust postpartum. It's higher in fat and lactose/energy. This phase is sometimes called "milk coming in" but in reality is the transition to copious human milk. Size of an Apricot: Baby consumes around 45-60 mL per feeding on Day 7.

Mature Milk: Demand & Supply lead this production i.e. your body will maintain supply if the demand is there via frequent milk removal. This milk contains everything your baby needs for their first 6 months and adapts to their needs. For example, illness-specific antibodies when either your baby or you are sick. Size of a Large Egg: Baby consumes around 60-90 mL per feeding on Day 14

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