Breast Milk Color: What Shade Should It Be?
While breastfeeding can be a wonderfully nurturing and rewarding experience, sometimes it can also feel a bit stressful. With so many different factors for mothers to consider when breastfeeding, it might become difficult to keep track. Your own eating and drinking habits can have a major impact on your breast milk color, for example, as well as on your child’s reaction to your milk.
What’s more, your dietary habits are not the only things that can affect the color of your breast milk. The different stages of your breastfeeding journey will dictate the color, consistency, and content of your breast milk as well. The good news is that when you pay attention to the different hues of your breast milk, you can make specific changes to help boost and enrich your baby’s nourishment.
What Color Should Breast Milk Be?
From clear to white to even pink or blue, your breast milk can come in a rainbow of different shades depending on a variety of changing factors. While some of the colors may be unexpected or even shocking, your milk changing colors isn’t usually a cause for alarm, and in most cases shouldn’t impact your baby’s health in any way.
Below, we’ll run through the following breast milk color chart and provide context around why your milk may be a certain shade:
- Pink or Red
The Meaning Behind Different Colors of Breast Milk
Sometimes your breast milk may have a thin, watery consistency and be almost clear in color. This is most common in foremilk, or the milk that your body usually produces at the beginning of each feeding. This type of milk contains a high volume of water and vitamins for your baby, and is completely normal.
Did you know that your body begins to produce breast milk when your baby is still in the womb? This initial breast milk, called colostrum, is thick, yellowish, and extremely rich in nutrients and antibodies that help nourish and protect your baby during those first few days. In fact, it is sometimes referred to as “liquid gold,” both for its valuable properties and its creamy hue.
Hindmilk, or the milk that your body produces toward the end of a typical feeding, can often be creamy or yellow in color as well. Hindmilk is higher in fat than foremilk and helps your baby grow and gain weight.
Finally, your breast milk may be a yellow color due to elements in your diet, including carrots, sweet potatoes, squash, or foods containing orange dye such as sodas or sports drinks.
White milk is probably the breast milk color that most mothers expect to see when nursing. A few days after delivery, your body will go from producing colostrum to transitional milk—which can be yellowish, creamy, or white—and finally to mature milk, which consists of both foremilk and hindmilk. As noted above, foremilk is thinner and often almost clear, while hindmilk has a higher fat content and a creamier color.
While bluish breast milk may seem off-putting at first glance, it is also considered another healthy and normal shade of breast milk according to sources like Healthline. Similar to clear milk, blue milk can occur during the early part of a breastfeeding session, when your breast milk contains more water and electrolytes than later in the feeding. This thinner, more watery milk helps keep your baby hydrated.
Green breast milk might look alarming, but have no fear—it’s actually most often a sign of healthy habits. Greenish milk is generally an indication of what you’ve been eating, so if you incorporate a lot of green vegetables into your diet like spinach and kale, it may very well be reflected in the color of your breast milk. Food dyes can also change the color of your milk, so look to your diet, including colorful drinks like Gatorade, if your milk looks green.
Red or Pink
Pink or red breast milk can be yet another indicator of your diet, as a pink or red tone in your milk may be the result of eating lots of beets and strawberries—or too many foods with artificial red food dye.
On the other hand, red- or pink-tinged breast milk can also indicate traces of blood. While this can be startling, it’s not always worrisome, since small amounts of blood in your breast milk may simply be from cracked nipples or a broken capillary.
However, blood in breast milk can also be an indication of a specific infection, so if you notice a red or pink tint in your breast milk, seek guidance from a lactation consultant, who may suggest that you stop breastfeeding and pumping until your milk returns to a more normal hue. If after a few days, your milk is still tinged with blood, contact your doctor for help.
While black breast milk can be disconcerting, it may very well be harmless, as a blackish or brownish hue may simply be due to food dyes or residual blood.
However, that dark color can also be an indicator that you’ve been taking specific types of medication, such as antibiotic minocycline. Since many of these medications aren’t recommended for nursing mothers, it’s important to talk to your doctor about removing them from your regimen before continuing to breastfeed. In fact, it’s always best to check with a doctor before taking any medications or supplements while nursing.
Cherish Your Breastfeeding Journey for a Lifetime
Whether you have a stockpile of breast milk in the freezer, or you’re interested in transforming some of your fresh milk into a keepsake to cherish for years to come, consider gifting yourself a beautiful piece of breast milk jewelry.
At KeepsakeMom, we’ll help you turn your breast milk—regardless of color—into a gorgeous bead, ring, necklace, or set of earrings that you can wear as both a reminder and a celebration of your breastfeeding journey.
Every piece of our breast milk jewelry is crafted as a unique way to capture the breastfeeding experience and remember a mother’s strength, dedication, perseverance, and love. Our jewelry can also serve as a symbol of healing, offering grieving mothers a tangible memento to help preserve the time spent with a little one, no matter how brief, and to celebrate the eternal bond that can never be broken.
Whatever the color of your breast milk, and whatever the details of your breastfeeding experience, we would love to help you create a personalized keepsake to be cherished for a lifetime. Check out our shop today for your perfect piece of beautiful, one-of-a-kind breast milk jewelry.