In many mammalian species, the intestinal epithelium undergoes major changes that allow a dietary transition from mother's milk to the adult diet at the end of the suckling period. These complex developmental changes are the result of a genetic programme intrinsic to the gut tube, but its regulators have not been identified. Here we show that transcriptional repressor B lymphocyte-induced maturation protein 1 (Blimp1) is highly expressed in the developing and postnatal intestinal epithelium until the suckling to weaning transition. Intestine-specific deletion of Blimp1 results in growth retardation and excessive neonatal mortality. Mutant mice lack all of the typical epithelial features of the suckling period and are born with features of an adult-like intestine. We conclude that the suckling to weaning transition is regulated by a single transcriptional repressor that delays epithelial maturation.