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Erin van Vuuren

Q&A: When Will My Milk Come in?

When will my milk come in? What will it be like?

At 33 weeks pregnant, your body is already producing milk, and your nipples may even begin to leak soon, if they haven’t already. (If they never leak, that’s fine too.) This first milk, called colostrums, 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 her tons of nutrients and antibodies and will prep her 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 boobs. This is known as engorgement — fuller, heavier breasts that are sore and hard for a day or two. But some women — especially those with already-large breasts — don’t notice a huge difference in breast size so you may not experience engorgement at all.

Baby might also offer a few cues that your milk is in, like taking big gulps and letting milk dribble from the corners of her mouth. Her 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.