When Will My Milk Come in?

Wondering when—what it'll be like—when your milk comes in? Hint: It might arrive before baby, and it might not look a whole lot like milk.
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ByErin van Vuuren
May 2020
bra hanging from dresser

Our bodies like to be prepared for baby well before their arrival. By the end of your second trimester, your body is already fully capable of producing breast milk. You may even start to notice faint yellow or orange stains in your bra, a sign that your nipples are leaking milk. (If they never leak, that’s fine too.)

This first milk, called colostrum, is thick and rich and is made for a new baby’s first few days. Baby will only get a few drops of colostrum at each of those first feedings, but these drops will give your newborn tons of nutrients and antibodies and will prep their intestines for the arrival of your abundant mature milk.

For most women, mature breast milk “comes in” sometime between days two and five after baby’s birth. You’ll know it’s arrived when you wake up with giant breasts! This is known as engorgement—aka fuller, heavier breasts that are sore and hard for a day or two. However, some women, especially those with already-large breasts, don’t notice a huge difference in breast size.

Baby might also offer a few cues that your milk is in, like taking big gulps and letting milk dribble from the corners of their mouth. Baby’s first few feedings of fast-flowing milk might even be humorous; some moms recall their babies becoming “milk drunk” after a feeding or looking like they just overstuffed themselves at Thanksgiving dinner.

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