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Your Milk

Your milk provides the best nutrition for your baby. It contains all of the nutrients your baby needs to thrive each and every day. Breast milk is an amazing substance – it changes from feeding to feeding, day to day, and is different for every mother. Your milk is perfect for your baby. Your body will make milk that meets the needs of your baby. All mammals produce milk that is perfect for their babies. Just like cow's milk is perfect for calves, human breast milk is a unique food designed to specifically meet the needs of human infants.

Breast milk contains all of the nutrients every baby needs.

The Stages of Breast Milk

Stage 1: Colostrum

For the first few days after your baby's birth, your breasts will produce small amounts of a thick, yellow milk called colostrum. The "first milk" contains millions of protective cells. Colostrum keeps babies healthy, giving them the best start in life.

• Often referred to as “liquid gold”.

• Full of important infection-fighting ingredients.

• Prepares your baby for good health in the outside world.

• Some doctors call it your baby’s “first immunization”.

• Has a laxative effect to help your newborn pass his first stools (which helps prevent jaundice).

Stage 2: Transitional Milk

Two to five days after your baby is born, your milk will start to change over to the higher-volume milk known as mature milk. The combination of colostrum and mature milk is sometimes called "transitional milk".

A healthy newborn only needs colostrum – he does not need any other fluids.

For more information, download the Massachusetts Breastfeeding Coalition's "Making Milk is Easy!" flyer.

Stage 3: Mature Milk

As your breasts start to produce mature milk, you may feel a change in your breasts. They will become fuller, heavier, and more sensitive as extra fluid moves to the breast to help make "mature milk".

By around two weeks, your breasts will be making mature milk that looks thin and watery and bluish in color. This is normal and exactly what you should expect.

Human milk is a living substance that contains thousands of protective cells. Human milk is specific to humans, targeting the growth and development of human infants as it protects from disease.

Milk Matters

milk matters 2

It's important for you to know that colostrum is produced in very small amounts – measured in teaspoons, not ounces. Your newborn's stomach is tiny and can only handle small amounts. Nursing your baby during this phase will help you and your baby learn to breastfeed on a soft breast.

Want to Learn More?

For more information on milk production, click here.