If You’re Planning to Breastfeed, When Does Your Breast Milk Actually Come In?

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One of the first things many moms do (or want to do) after giving birth is breastfeed their baby, but during pregnancy many moms want to know, “when does breast milk come in?” In those first magical postpartum moments, it’s not a bad idea to bring newborn to breast. That said, your baby won’t exactly be drinking milk at first. Yeah, that’s right, your breast milk doesn’t come in until a few days after your baby is born.

It might seem a bit confusing to new moms, but our bodies first produce this stuff called colostrum, which is like a pre-milk with lots of awesome nutrients that will keep your baby healthy and full. If you pump those first couple of days, you’ll notice it even looks a bit different than regular breast milk. It might be thick or thin, yellowish or watery. Because my son was sent to the NICU, I had to pump at first. It wasn’t until a few days later that my breasts suddenly looked fuller and felt rock hard that I realized my milk was finally coming in.

So When Does Breast Milk Come In?

According to, the body generally produces colostrum for three to four days after childbirth. Around then, you’ll experience what I did—firmer breasts, signifying that the milk supply is switching from colostrum to breast milk. It also means that your supply is about to increase. For some, that means loads of milk, while for others, it means just a bit more. I personally struggled with undersupply my entire breastfeeding experience, but I didn’t let it deter me from doing my best to give my baby what I had and supplement for the rest.

Of course, every mama is different, and some take even longer than this to have their regular breast milk kick in. This is generally fine since babies don’t usually need more than what the colostrum can give them in those early days. Still, it’s wise to let your doctor (and your baby’s doctor) that your milk hasn’t come in if you start to worry. The main goal is to make sure baby is fed, so there’s always a chance supplementation might be necessary. Hope that answers your questions, mamas! And remember, if you’re having any trouble with breastfeeding, you can always reach out to your hospital’s lactation consultant or your local La Leche League for help.

(Image: iStock / Enzo [email protected] Ojo Photography)