Breast milk composition and stages

Looking Forward

Breast milk composition and stages

Breast milk takes care of all the nutrition Your Child needs during the early months of life. In order to do that most efficiently, your body keeps changing the milk mix, all to support your baby’s health better than anything.

Three stages of breast milk
There are three distinct stages of breast milk: colostrum, transitional milk, and mature milk.

  1. Colostrum: This is the earliest stage of breast milk. It forms during pregnancy and will last for many days after Your Child’s delivery. It can be yellowish or creamy in color and is much thicker than the milk of the later stages of breastfeeding. Colostrum has plenty of protein, fat-soluble vitamins, minerals, and immunoglobulins. Immunoglobulins are antibodies that pass from the mother to protect the baby from infections. Colostrum is replaced by transitional milk two to four days after birth.
  2. Transitional milk: This is the milk produced after colostrum. It usually lasts for about two weeks and contains plenty of fat, lactose, and water-soluble vitamins. Transitional milk has more calories than colostrum.
  3. Mature milk: This is the last stage of breast milk. It consists of 90% water, which will help keep Your Child stay hydrated. The other 10% is made of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats which help in the baby’s growth and also provide energy. Mature milk can be divided into two types:
    Fore-milk: it is the first milk that comes out during feeding and contains water, vitamins, and protein.
    Hind-milk: This type of milk comes after the fore-milk and contains higher levels of fat and is necessary for weight gain.

Fore-milk and hind-milk are both important in breastfeeding so as to ensure the baby is receiving enough nutrition for proper growth and development.


Dr. Piyawut Kreetapirom, MD. (6 March 2019)


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