Stages of Human Milk Production
In the first few days after you give birth, your breast milk changes in consistency and color. See what you can expect:
Colostrum (days 1-2)Colostrum is the initial milk that is readily available (thick, sticky, and clear or creamy yellow in color), small in volume, but very rich in protein, fat-soluble vitamins, minerals and antibodies. The rich composition helps to keep your baby satisfied during the first few days after delivery. It is always available at birth and gradually converts to mature milk.
Transitional Milk (days 2-5)As the breasts continue to be stimulated, milk production increases. Transitional milk may be light yellow in color, and contains plenty of fat, water-soluble vitamins and calories.
Mature Milk (day 6+)Mature milk is lighter in color and greater in volume. Your breasts become fuller and heavier, and baby will be gulping and swallowing frequently. Mature milk consists of foremilk and hindmilk. Milk production will continue to increase slowly during the first month.
Milk that flows at the start of a feeding is called foremilk. Watery, high in protein and lactose (milk sugar), and low in fat, it quenches your baby's thirst.
As you continue to feed, the milk that flows as your breast empties is called hindmilk. Hindmilk is richer in fat, high in calories, and satisfies the baby's hunger.
Updated January 13, 2022