Breast Milk Color – Everything You Need to Know

6 min read

Written by Aparna Hari

Aparna Hari

Her experience in impactful writing combined with her background in Home Sciences makes Aparna the perfect candidate for content writing in the pregnancy and parenting niche.

Breast Milk Color

Our subconscious mind always thinks the breast milk color is white. While you are aware of the benefits of breast milk, you might be worried if the color of the breastmilk is not white. Well, the color of the breast milk is not just white and may vary depending upon various circumstances.

If you are a new mother worried about the changes in the color of your breastmilk, you have landed on the right page. In this article, we shall discuss more about the changes in the color of the breast, the reasons for such changes, what can be considered normal and abnormal, and when you should consult a doctor. Let us get started.

In This Article

What is the Color of the Breast Milk?

There is no hard and fast rule to determine the color of breast milk. Each mother lives a different lifestyle, so the color of their breastmilk tends to change. There is no point in comparing each other. The usual color of the breastmilk may be clear, white, yellow, or sometimes blue.

Three Different Stages of Breastmilk

Before understanding the reasons for the changes in the color of the breastmilk, you need to understand the different phases or stages of breastmilk. There are basically three different stages and they are:

1. Colostrum

Colostrum is the first few drops of milk that come when you breastfeed for the first time. It is usually thick and contains high antibodies, which boost the immunity of the newborn. The colostrum is usually thick and yellow. For some mothers, the breastmilk remains yellow during the first few days. Your body can produce colostrum during the first five days after delivery.

2. Transitional Milk

Once breastfeeding becomes normal and your body stops producing the colostrum, the next stage is the transitional milk. This occurs between the colostrum and mature milk stage. The transitional milk is usually creamier and orange or sometimes yellowish. This stage lasts 10 days, i.e., from the 5th to 14th day postpartum.

3. Mature Milk

Mature milk is when your transitional stage is over and occurs after 15 days of delivery. During the mature milk stage, the color of the milk is transparent, white, or blue at the beginning. When the feeding session is getting over, the color changes to yellow. This yellow color milk is often known as hind milk.

What Causes the Changes in the Color of Breast Milk?

breastmilk

The change in the color of breast milk is entirely average. The color of the breastmilk tends to change during the beginning of the postpartum period and keeps changing whenever there is a change in the mother’s diet.

While it is usually normal, some red alerts mean something is not correct, and you need to pay attention. Let us discuss in detail the normal and abnormal reasons for changes in the color of breast milk.

1. Normal Breast Milk Colors

The following change in colors is considered standard breast milk colors.
Breast Milk Colors Reasons for Change in Breastmilk Color
Blue or Clear Breast Milk The Blue color or clear breast milk is entirely normal. This usually occurs while starting each breastfeeding session. This is because the milk that comes first is thinner, containing less fat and more electrolytes. The same milk turns thicker and yellowish at the end of the breastfeeding session.
Yellow Breast Milk

Colostrum: If you have recently given birth and your milk is yellow for the first five days. It is entirely normal. The colostrum is the first milk that comes from your breast while you breastfeed for the first time. It is thick and yellow. Your body continues to produce colostrum during the first five after delivery. The colostrum is rich in antibodies.

Diet: The Mother’s diet plays a significant role in the color of the milk. Your breastmilk may continue to be yellow if you eat foods that are rich in yellow or orange colors.

Freezing: Some mothers pump out breast milk and freeze them for future use. When you freeze the breast milk, the milk changes from white to yellow color. This is normal, and there is nothing to worry about.

[Read : Storing Your Breast Milk]

2. Unusual Breast Milk colors

The following colors of breast milk are considered to be unusual.
Breast Milk Colors Reasons for Change in Breastmilk Color
Green Breast Milk Sometimes, you may be alarmed and surprised to see your breast milk in green color. Relax, sit back and think about what you just had for your lunch today or yesterday. Did you grab a bunch of green and healthy vegetables for cooking? If yes, that is what is making the breastmilk green in color. Be proud of your healthy choices, and do not worry much about the green color of breast milk.
Red or Pink Breast Milk

Diet: Like green vegetables, if you consume red-colored fruits or beets, strawberries, or any other food that contains food coloring, your breast milk may be red or pinkish.

Blood: Another reason why your breastmilk may be red or pink could be blood. There is nothing to panic about. You might have a cracked nipple, which may have caused blood in the milk. This will be back to normal within a few days. If not, check with your doctor immediately.

Brown, Rust, or Blood-tinged Breast Milk

Sometimes, you may notice that the colostrum or the first few days of breastmilk may be brown, rust, or blood-tinged in color. This is known as rusty pipe syndrome. It occurs due to breast engorgement due to increased blood flow. When there is an increased flow of blood accompanied by milk production, the blood may fuse into the breast milk. This is not usually painful and disappears within a few days once breastfeeding becomes normal.

Black Breast Milk You may also be surprised to see black-colored breastmilk. This usually happens when you take anti-biotic medications, especially – minocycline. Most medicines are safe to consume while nursing, but it is better to inform your doctor that you are nursing to ensure that the medications provided are safe.

[Read : Blood In Breast Milk: Is It Safe For Your Baby?]

When Should You Consult a Doctor?

women consulting doctor

Most of the changes in breast milk color relate to your diet. There are only two situations under which you need to consult a doctor.

  • When the breast milk color is red or pinkish because the cracked nipples tend to get back to normal within a few days, if your breast milk color does not get back to normal even after the cracked nipples have been cured, you need to check it up with your doctor. This may be because of any infection or breast cancer.
  • When the breast milk color is black, check and assure your doctor that the medications prescribed are safe to consume while nursing.

Breast feeding is an essential phase for every mother. Breast milk contains the primary antibodies that help to build the immunity of the little one. Mothers tend to get a lot of doubts and questions about breast milk in this phase. While some may be worried about milk production, others may be worried about the changes in the breast milk color. It is entirely normal for the breastmilk color to change. The reason for such changes may be as simple as the mother’s diet.

It could also range to some severe issues like infection or breast cancer. If you find your breastmilk to contain blood even after the nipples are not cracked, be sure to rush to the doctor and get yourself checked. Have a happy breastfeeding phase!

FAQ’s

1. What Does Blood in Breast Milk Mean?

The blood in the breast milk could be due to various reasons. If you notice blood within the first few days of breastfeeding, it could be because of the increased blood flow in the body supplemented with milk production.

If you have cracked nipples, you may find blood in the breast milk. But the cracked nipples will return to normal within a few days. If you find blood even after the nipples are fine, you need to consult a doctor immediately.

2. Why is Breast Milk Watery in the Morning?

The breast milk becomes watery when there is a long-time gap between two breastfeeding sessions. That is the reason why breast milk is watery in the morning.

3. Does Breast Milk Color Change When The Baby is Sick?

No. There is no published evidence proving that the color of breast milk changes due to the baby’s illness. However, various studies have been conducted to test the changes in the content of breast milk when the baby is sick.

4. Is it Normal if One Breast Produces Different Colored Milk Than The Other?

Yes. The milk ducts and milk-producing tissues might be different in both breasts. So, it is normal if one breast produces different colored milk than the other.

Read Also: Foremilk- Hind milk Imbalance And Ways To Fix It

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Aparna Hari,MBA in Marketing,P.G. Diploma in Human Resource Management from IGNOU Bachelor of Sciences (Home Science) from Nagarjuna University

Her experience in impactful writing combined with her background in Home Sciences makes Aparna the perfect candidate for content writing in the pregnancy and parenting niche.Read more.

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