Significant alterations in maternal calcium (Ca2+) and magnesium (Mg2+) balance occur during lactation. Ca2+ is the primary divalent cation mobilized into breast milk by demineralization of the skeleton and alterations in intestinal and renal Ca2+ transport. Mg2+ is also concentrated in breast milk, but the underlying mechanisms are not well understood. To determine the molecular alterations in Ca2+ and Mg2+ transport in the intestine and kidney during lactation, 3 groups of female mice consisting of either non-pregnant controls, lactating mice, or mice undergoing involution were examined. The fractional excretion of Ca2+, but not Mg2+, rose significantly during lactation. Renal 1-alpha hydroxylase and 24-OHase mRNA levels increased markedly as did plasma 1,25 dihydroxyvitamin D levels. This was accompanied by significant increases in intestinal expression of Trpv6 and S100g in lactating mice. However, no alterations in the expression of cation permeable claudins (-2, -12 or -15) were found in the intestine. In kidney, increased expression of Trpv5 and Calb1 was observed during lactation, while no changes in claudins involved in Ca2+ and Mg2+ transport (-2, -14, -16 or -19) were found. Consistent with the mRNA expression, both Calbindin-D28K and TRPV5 protein expression increased. Colonic Trpm6 expression increased during lactation, while renal Trpm6 remained unaltered. In conclusion, proteins involved in transcellular Ca2+ and Mg2+ transport pathways increase during lactation, while expression of paracellular transport proteins remained unchanged. Increased fractional Ca2+ excretion can be explained by vitamin D-dependent intestinal hyperabsorption and bone demineralization, despite enhanced transcellular Ca2+ uptake by the kidney.