MAKING PARENTING A SCIENCE & ART

Knowing the Many Colors of Breast Milk

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Knowing the Many Colors of Breast Milk

Did you ever notice the variations in breast milk color? And what might be turning your breast milk into a rainbow of colors - yellow, blue, red, or green, or black? 

When we think of milk, white usually first comes to our minds, but in reality breast milk can be presented in different colors yet still completely safe for your baby to drink.

It’s entirely normal to worry when the color of your breast milk seems to alter from day to day, or from one pumping session to the next. Here are the reasons behind the breast milk colors: 

Color #1: White

This is the color we suppose milk to be. When other colors enter the picture, it’s most likely going to appear as a tinge in your white breast milk.

Color #2: Blue

Breast milk is generally divided into foremilk and hindmilk. Foremilk comes first followed by hindmilk in the pumping session. Foremilk is thinner as its lower in fat content than the creamier hindmilk. You may notice that the foremilk appears to have a bluish tint.

Color #3: Clear

Foremilk can also seem to be almost clear in color.

Color #4: Yellow

You may see yellow breast milk the first time in the first few days after you delivered your baby. This first milk is called colostrum, which also widely known by its nickname “liquid gold”. It’s golden-yellow in color, made in very small amounts to match your newborn’s marble-sized tummy, and has a slightly sticky consistency. Colostrum is  your baby's first immunization because it contains large quantities of an antibody called secretory immunoglobulin A (sIgA) before it turns to mature milk.

Later, once your colostrum transitions to mature milk, your white breast milk will turn yellowish once frozen. This is simply a result of the temperature change.

Color #5: Orange

You may notice yellowish-orange breast milk after the consumption of foods high in beta-carotene. The vegetables with this eyesight-boosting antioxidant such as carrots, sweet potatoes, and squash tend to be orange.

Color #6: Green

Similarly, if you’ve been eating a lot of greens lately, you may see you're pumping breast milk with a greenish tint. Spinach, kale, seaweed, dark green lettuce, as well as green food dyes will all color your milk green.

Color #7: Pink

Eating beetroots will color your breast milk pinkish. Food dyes in red Jell-O or soda may also tinge your milk.

Pink or rusty-colored breast milk may sometimes be due to a small amount of blood in your milk. It’s absolutely safe for your baby to consume milk with a little bit of your blood in it. But this is a signal for you to address the source of bleeding.

Color #8: Red

Rarely, your nipples or a breast infection may cause enough bleeding to make your breast milk appear pinkish or with red streaks. It’s still safe for your baby, but you should talk to your lactation consultant and health care provider right away for an evaluation and treatment.

Color #9: Black

Blackish or chocolate-brown milk is likely due to some old blood, but it may indicate an infection. Seek lactation consultant and health care provider advice on how to address this. 

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