What Color Is Breast Milk? The Answer Might Blow You Away!
White! At least that is what I think most would say. Unfortunately, breast milk can actually come in many different colors. As a matter of fact, most mothers would be shocked to see the real color of the milk that comes out of their breast.
Knowing The different Colors That Breast Milk Can Have
Breast milk is supposed to have a creamy white appearance. But depending on its composition, it can have a different appearance. To help mothers know more about it, here are the different colors and its known causes:
- Clear blue milk – Also known as foremilk, it has a bluish tint when it flows out of the breast. It is low in fat and it will turn whiter, and creamier in appearance as the hind milk flows out.
- White, creamy milk – Known as the hind milk, it has a high fat content.
- Pink – This happens when the mother consumes beets or food items with a strong pink or red dye.
- Yellow or Orange – Caused by the consumption of carrots, squash, pumpkin, or food items with the corresponding food dye color.
- Green – This happens when the mother consumes foods like broccoli, other green vegetables, or vegetable juices. It can also happen as a result of food dyes or when the mother consumes vitamin supplements.
- Red, Brown or Rust-colored – This happens when the breast milk contains blood. A small amount of blood in milk is safe for babies to consume. The blood might come from external breast injuries and it should go away after a few days. If the problem persists, you need to see your doctor.
- Rusty pipe syndrome – This happens when the breast milk looks like dirty water from a rusty water pipe. This is usually caused by breasts which are bleeding internally. This should only be temporary and it should not be a cause for worry.
- Black – This happens when the mother is taking medications such as Minocin. Mothers with black-colored breast milk should not nurse their babies. Inform your doctor that you are nursing before taking any medications. See your doctor if you have black-colored breast milk.
Why Does Breast Milk Change In Color?
In general, breast milk is clear and white in color. But did you know that it can actually change to yellow, tan, or even a tinge of blue? Unsurprisingly, most mothers would be amazed or perhaps even worried as soon as they find out that their breast milk has changed in color.
Breast milk can change in color mainly because of the changes in its nutritional composition. The first type of breast milk is known as colostrum and it actually has a yellow color.
When the colostrum stops flowing, the mother will begin to produce normal breast milk. The first few milliliters will have a clear blue color because it contains very low milk fat. It will then turn white, and then it will have a creamy appearance as soon as its milk fat content begins to go increase.
In some cases, mothers will have breast milk with a different color as a result of the mother’s consumption of foods and beverages that have a very strong color, or because of her consumption of foods that contain dyes. The color changes can also be because of medication, or because of blood mixing into the breast milk.
How Can We See The Color Of Our Breast Milk, And What Should We Do Next?
First of all, the only way for moms to know if their breast milk has changed in color is by expressing it out. Mothers can use hand expression, or pumping. You need to put the milk in a clear, clean container so that you can see its actual color.
If you know for a fact that the change in color is a result of what you ate recently, then the color change should be temporary, and the color change should not cause you to worry.
If the color change persists, or if it does not match any of the ones mentioned above, you should see your doctor right away.
What Should We Do If The Color Of The Breast Milk Means That There Is A Problem?
- If the color of your breast milk means that you have a problem such as continued bleeding inside or outside the breast, or if you still see the effects of the medications that you are taking in the breast milk, you should see your GP right away.
Other causes for concern would be having flu-like symptoms together with color changes in the breast milk, the presence of pus in the breast milk, increased milk temperature, as well as color changes with no obvious reasons that persist for more than a week.
Breast milk is very important for babies. As the main source of their nutrition especially for the first six months, mothers should be aware whenever it changes color so that they can inform their doctor immediately.
When it comes to breast milk, here is what you should remember:
- Breast milk contains nutrients that are based on what the baby needs
- Breast milk can provide a lot of benefits for both the mother and the baby
- Color changes caused by the mother’s diet pose no threat to the baby
- It is common for breast milk to change color
- Black colored-breast milk on the other hand, can be harmful to your child
- You should inform your doctor that you are nursing before taking any medications