First Days Maternity Supplies Ltd

Different Types of Breast Milk

Medela breast pump with expressed breastmilk stored in the bottle

Human breast milk is a complex and dynamic fluid that provides essential nutrients and bioactive components to infants, supporting their growth and development. There are different types of breast milk that a mother produces to meet her baby’s changing nutritional needs over time. These types of breast milk include:


  • Colostrum is the first milk produced by a mother’s breasts during the first few days after giving birth, typically for 2-5 days.
  • It is thick, yellowish, and low in volume.
  • Colostrum is rich in antibodies, immunoglobulins, and white blood cells, providing the newborn with crucial immune protection.
  • It also contains high concentrations of protein, vitamins, and minerals, but it’s lower in fat and lactose compared to mature milk.
  • Colostrum can be very sticky and can stain clothing. We recommend using disposable breast pads until the colostrum changes to transitional milk. 
  • Some mums will leak colostrum whilst pregnant. You can collect this and freeze it, saving it for your new baby! 

Transitional Milk:

  • Transitional milk is produced during the first two weeks after birth as the mother’s body transitions from colostrum to mature milk.
  • It is creamier and has higher fat content than colostrum.
  • The composition of transitional milk gradually changes, becoming more like mature milk.
  • This is a good time to start using reusable breast pads.

Mature Milk:

  • After the transitional phase, mature milk is the primary type of breast milk produced.
  • Mature milk is thinner and whiter in appearance compared to colostrum.
  • It contains a balanced combination of fats, carbohydrates (mainly lactose), proteins, vitamins, and minerals that meet the infant’s nutritional needs.
  • At this point, breastfeeding is usually becoming easier and your milk supply is beginning to regulate.  

Fore milk and Hind milk:

  • Mature breast milk can be further divided into two types of breast milk; fore milk and hind milk, which differ in their fat content.
  • Foremilk is the milk released at the beginning of a feeding session. It is lower in fat and more watery.
  • Hindmilk is the milk released toward the end of a feeding session. It is higher in fat and provides the baby with essential calories for growth.

Tailored Milk:

  • Human breast milk is highly adaptable and can change its composition based on the specific needs of the baby.
  • If a baby is sick, the mother’s breast milk may contain higher levels of antibodies to help the baby fight infection.
  • Breast milk can also change in response to the baby’s age, growth patterns, and feeding habits.


It’s important to note that the composition of breast milk can vary from one mother to another and can even vary throughout the day. A mother’s diet and overall health can influence the nutritional content of her breast milk. Breast milk is considered the best source of nutrition for infants and provides numerous health benefits, including boosting the baby’s immune system, aiding in digestion, and promoting bonding between mother and child. The types of breast milk post does not constitute medical advice. If you have any concerns or questions, please ask your healthcare professional, midwife, health visitor or lactation consultant.

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