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When Does Breast Milk Come in During Pregnancy? What Affects Breast Milk Production? Read on to Know!

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When does breast milk come in After birth

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When does breast milk come in? If this question has been giving you sleepless nights, then you are not the only mum out there. You should not expect to have large volumes of milk in the first few days of giving birth. It might seem like there is not much milk right after your EDD but your production will grow as your baby grows and feeds better. Your breastmilk production adapts to your growing baby and changes in composition, consistency, and volume over the first few weeks of giving birth.

If this is your second pregnancy, your breastmilk will come in sooner than the first time. Studies have shown that mammary glands store “memories” that help in producing milk way sooner in subsequent births.

So, When Does Breast Milk Come in?

When does breast milk come in after birth? “Coming in” refers to the significant increase in breast milk supply a few days after birth. This will be accompanied by various noticeable symptoms such as


  • Breast engorgement (the feeling of firmness, fullness, and/or heaviness in both breasts)
  • Leaking of breastmilk, especially during the night
  • Swelling of the breasts
  • Firmness or tightening of the skin around the areolas
  • Flattened nipples


Engorgement is a sign of your body producing milk for the first time. Later on, it could be an indication that you are not emptying your breasts during feeding. So get yourself the best breast pumps in the market along with some storage bags. Stored breastmilk can be stored in a refrigerator for 24 hours. Follow the governmental human milk storage guidelines to be precise.

What is Colostrum?

Also called early milk, colostrum looks very different from mature human milk. Your body starts producing colostrum as early as the 16th week of pregnancy and can be expressed right after birth. Some mums even experience an occasional leakage of colostrum during pregnancy. Both colostrum and breast milk are important for the baby’s development.

Here’s an overview of the different forms of human milk:

Type of breastmilkBaby’s ageAmount of milk per feeding(based on 10 feedings in 24 hours)Baby’s poop
Colostrum1 to 2 days4 to 5 ml(about 1 tsp)Dark, sticky, tar-like(3 times per day)
 3 to 4 days30 to 40 ml(about 1 oz)Light, loose
Transitional milk5 to 14 days50 to 80 ml(about to 2.7 oz)Yellow, watery, seedy
Mature milk14+ days70 to 90 ml(about 2.5 to 3 oz)Less frequent

When Does Breast Milk Come in After C-section?

Start breastfeeding by 72 hours after a C-section. Any mum who underwent a C-section must also have been under stress which can delay milk production. Even if you have had spinal anesthesia or an epidural during labor you can start breastfeeding as soon as your baby is born. If you had general anesthesia, you may be separated from your baby briefly while you wake up from the dosage. But there will be nurses or midwives who can help you express your milk when you are unable to do so.

How Long Does It Take For Milk to Come in?

Your body’s milk production kicks into high gear 30 to 40 hours after you delivered the placenta. You undergo several hormonal changes within this timeframe and as a result, the range of days for the breastmilk to come in differs from woman to woman. The following factors also have a positive effect on your breast milk production:

  • Hand expressing your colostrum to feed your baby
  • Pumping as much as possible
  • Having skin-to-skin contact with your newborn
  • Continuing to nurse often and early

What Delays Breast Milk Production?

There are possible chances of your breast milk delaying coming in but before you zero in on that make sure your breasts are not very engorged. This will prevent the baby from latching on properly. Engorgement can also cause mastitis so try and soften your breasts before feeding with a warm shower, a warm compress, or a cold compress. You could also try the above-mentioned methods of increasing breast milk production.

The following could be the causes of this unfortunate delay:

  • Severe stress
  • Premature birth
  • Medical conditions like polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) or diabetes
  • A C-section delivery
  • An illness or infection with fever
  • Obesity
  • Prolonged bedrest during pregnancy
  • Failing to breastfeed within the first few hours after delivery
  • Thyroid issues

The Bottom Line: When Does Breast Milk Come in?

For most mums, breast milk comes in during the 16th week of pregnancy in the form of colostrum, a yellowish thick form of human milk. Some may even leak it during their pregnancy. Colostrum is the first milk a newborn has and once they have started feeding daily, the breast milk comes in with certain signs. The most common sign is engorgement which can be prevented by regular feeding and/or pumping. C-section deliveries may be stressful to most mamas which can delay the coming of their breastmilk. But it gets back to normal within 72 hours of surgical delivery.

When Does Breast Milk Come in FAQs:

1. What week in pregnancy do you start producing milk?

Generally, women start lactating between 16 to 22 weeks of pregnancy. But that type of breastmilk is called colostrum (it's yellowish in color and rich in antibodies and calories). This is the first milk that the baby drinks (its first food).

2. How can I encourage my milk to come in?

The more your baby sucks on your nipples the more the breastmilk will flow. Here are some tips to increase your milk supply:● Do not miss feeding your baby every time it's hungry. ● Ensure your baby latches well onto the nipple. ● On every feeding session, offer both breasts. ● Make sure you empty each of your breasts on every feeding session. ● Avoid pacifiers and bottles during the early weeks. ● Eat healthily and get plenty of sleep. ● Express or pump your milk. ● Massage and relax your breasts as much as possible.

3. Can I pump before the baby is born?

Pumping before birth is safe in a healthy pregnancy. In case of complications, do not do so just to be on the safe side. As your pregnancy progresses your breasts will start leaking colostrum and you can pump it if you have no other risk factors.


On behalf of the editorial team at Parenthoodbliss, we follow strict reporting guidelines and only use credible sources, along with peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions, and highly respected health organizations. To learn about how we maintain content accurate and up-to-date by reading our medical review and editorial policy.

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