Prolactin is essential for proliferation and differentiation of the developing mammary gland. We have explored a role for Suppressor of Cytokine Signaling 1 (SOCS1) as a modulator of the prolactin response using mice deficient in SOCS1, which were rescued from neonatal death by deletion of the Interferon gamma (IFN gamma) gene. SOCS1(-/-)/IFN gamma (-/-) mice exhibited accelerated lobuloalveolar development in the mammary gland during late pregnancy and precocious lactation. Significantly, the lactogenic defect in prolactin receptor heterozygous females could be rescued by deletion of a single SOCS1 allele. These findings establish a role for SOCS1 as a negative regulator of prolactin signaling and suggest that SOCS1 is required for the prevention of lactation prior to parturition.