The Many Colors of Breast Milk

September 20, 2017

The Many Colors of Breast Milk

There are SO many color of breast milk it can be quite shocking for new moms.  When you're used to seeing your breast milk appear one color and suddenly it's a completely different color.  Well, there's a reason for that...

Let's look at the typical colors of breast milk.

Most of the time, breast milk is clear, white, blue-tinged, cream, tan, or yellow. 

What causes the color change?

Most of the time the change is color is caused by foods you ate, herbs, supplements, medication.  You will often see a darker color if baby is just starting to come down with something.  Our bodies are simply amazing and when babies breastfeeding they get 'backwash' into the nipple which tells your body exactly what antibodies they need to help boost their immune system.  Below is a breakout of some of the typical colors and typical causes.

Green Breast milk

This a color that is typically caused by diet.  Foods that are strong in green coloring or green drinks are known to cause a green tint to breast milk.  If you're a salad eater and green drinker this could become your normal coloring.

Pink, Orange or Red Breast milk

Similar to the cause or green coloring foods are usually the culprit for pink, orange or red tinted breast milk.  Beets, red, yellow or orange food dies, blood oranges, really anything with a strong color that also may effect the color of your urine.  None of these are causes for worry.

Blood in your breast milk or "rusty pipe" syndrome

If you notice your breast milk has gone from "clean" looking to "rusty" looking it's usually caused by blood getting into your milk ducts.  Most of the time this is nothing to worry about and clears up on it's own.  If you notice blood streaks in your milk it could be caused by cracked nipples.  If it's cracked nipples you'll know, they hurt like the dickens!  Neither is cause for alarm but it they are minimal and don't clear up after about a week it's time to put a call into your doctor.

Black Breast milk

Holy moly this is one crazy color you don't want in your breast milk.  It's usually caused by an antibiotic called Minocin.  Mincing also causes skin darkening and should not be taken while breastfeeding.  It is always very important to let any physical you're working with know you're breastfeeding.

When to call the doc

Most of the time changes in breast milk color are normal and nothing to worry about but if there is pain associated or you feel there is something more to be concerned about please call your physician or a lactation consultant.  We are trained to work with youth know what is normal and what needs additional attention.  When you notice your breast milk has changed colors try to think back on your diet or notice if you're little one is starting to feel a little off.  Most importantly, none of these colors are signs to stop breastfeeding.  Baby can continue at the breast as often as before and if they're starting to get a little cold it's even more important.  You provide their defense and additional tailored antibodies.

Good luck on your breastfeeding journey and if you have any additional question or have a topic you'd like to see us address please feel free to reach out.



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