The Phases of Breast Milk
Learn about the 3 phases of breast milk and why each is good for your baby.
There are three phases of breast milk. Each one is vital in nourishing your baby. Ask WIC breastfeeding staff any questions you have about changes in your milk.
Phase 1: Colostrum
This is the thick first milk your breasts make while you are pregnant and just after birth. Moms and doctors may refer to it as "liquid gold" for its deep yellow color and because it is so valuable for your baby. Colostrum is very rich in nutrients and has antibodies to protect your baby from infections. Colostrum also helps your baby's digestive system grow and work well.
Phase 2: Transitional milk
Transitional milk comes when mature breast milk gradually replaces colostrum. You will make transitional milk from 2-5 days after delivery until up to 2 weeks after delivery. You may notice that your breasts become fuller and warmer and that your milk slowly changes to a bluish-white color. During this time, your breast milk changes to meet your baby's needs. Nursing often, removing milk well, and relieving engorgement will help with milk production.
Phase 3: Mature milk
About 10-15 days after birth, you start making mature milk. Like each phase of breast milk, it has all the nutrients your baby needs. The amount of fat in mature milk changes as you feed your baby. Let your baby empty your first breast before switching to the other breast during a feeding. This will help your baby get the right mix of nutrients at each feeding.