This study compared pancreatic tissue growth and functional changes during the first 3 postnatal days in piglets and rat pups. In piglets the absolute weight and the relative weight per unit body weight of the pancreas increased by 97 and 70%, respectively, while in rat pups the same parameters decreased by 33 and 48%, respectively, during this period. The specific activity of pancreatic amylase rose by 336% while that of trypsin, chymotrypsin and lipase remained at newborn level in piglets. In rat pups the specific activities of all enzymes measured declined by 61 to 92% during the first 3 postnatal days. The rate of postnatal pancreatic growth in the two species coincide with the levels of epidermal growth factor and insulin-like growth factors in maternal milk as reported in the literature, suggesting that milk-borne growth factors may stimulate pancreatic development in newborn animals.