When researching one of my breastfeeding info groups I came across a post of a woman discussing what happened to her milk after she got the flu. Instead of the usual white, I’ve come to expect it looked almost yellow and the consistency looked different. The woman’s post went on to talk about how the milk will help her baby in the immune system department.
When checking out breastmilk a common observation is it seems different at different times of day and different month to month. Breastmilk does change and overtime is supposed to change as it is meant to support the baby on the way to toddlerhood and give proper nutrition for each stage.
The color of the milk has reportedly been a variety where you have mothers reporting, whites, creams, beiges, and tans, blue, or light pastel pink. Many of these moms are curious if they should dump the weird color milk and are either freaking out wondering if it is healthy or confused about if something is wrong with them. Generally, those colors above are considered normal and not a cause for alarm.
Even the pink milk which is usually due to blood getting mixed into the milk isn’t usually a cause for alarm. Nipples sometimes have broken skin or slight injury from the dryness and biting so the end result is tiny amounts of blood will get swept up when pumping so your milk will look pink. All very normal and isn’t where someone should worry. You may need to experiment with some lanolin and some nipple guards though otherwise, things are okay.
Breastmilk Changes and Stages
This is a common term you will usually hear early on when you start the new mom journey. Colostrum is the first milk you produce after birth. Some women will start leaking tiny amounts during their pregnancy usually leading up to their due date. Women are usually advised not to pump or hand express that milk out when pregnant.
You generally don’t want to start expressing milk until the baby is out. Colostrum is usually really thick in texture and will be tinted yellowish as it is very nutritious and is important for the first feedings to help with immune system boosting and clearing out the nasty first poopy stuff. The first few poops will look blackish and quickly change to a healthy pale yellow.
When the milk drops and you start pumping or feeding, you will notice the milk appears milky but watery. It should appear more on the mostly white side of things over time and will appear less watery very quickly.
Mature Mother Milk
Once your body had had some time to adjust over around 2-3 weeks the more normal appearance of how milk should look will be present. The difference is now the milk has a whole new texture as the fat ratio will be different so the milk will be heavier. Though the pump will change session to session as you will have different ratios of the more watery foremilk and the fatty and dense hindmilk. The goal is the hindmilk as it has all the main nutrition and the brain nurturing fats.
Colors you May or May not See
During your feeding and pumping career there might be milk changes you will see from time to time or not at all.
Yellow and Orange Breast Milk
People normally see these colors when their first milk is coming in as colostrum is usually yellow though can be so richly dense it ranges more into orange in color. Some believe diet also plays a role where some colors can be augmented and will make the milk come out darker. Women might also notice the milk looking odd when it freezes as parts may appear darker or lighter depending on how the contents settle. This is all considered normal.
Blue Breast Milk
Some women report being freaked out by seeing what they describe as blue-tinted milk. This is common when you are in the first stages of your milk coming in as the milk is still watery instead of being full of the fatty milk contents. This is normal and isn’t considered a common occurrence. It is safe to give to a baby.
Green Breast Milk
Some women report their milk looking as though it has a green tint. If you have a diet of rich leafy greens like spinach and kale or take supplements that have green, it can impart a green tint to your milk. Not a cause for alarm.
Pink or Brown Breast Milk
These are probably some of the most commonly reported odd milk colorations because of how common nipple damage is and the bleeding can range the color from pink, to pastel rust, to brown. Normally people will be able to easily locate bleeding points on their nipples where cracks have split. This milk is considered safe to use unless this is an ongoing problem where there is a risk of some sort of infection or puss. Normally there will be warning signs as an infection is accompanied by fever, swelling, and pain. Infection of the breast is usually referred to as mastitis and you often want a doctor’s input or lactation specialist.
Other times you might have these colors from food dye or from eating certain foods.
Black Breast Milk
This isn’t a usual color to expect and can happen in response to medications. The most common medicine cited to be linked to black milk is an acne treatment that isn’t advised to be used when pregnant anyhow. The general wisdom is to contact a physician more to confirm medication and milk protocols going forward.