Did You Know Breastmilk Can be Green?by Your Baby Club
Yep, just like baby poo, your breastmilk can come in a wide variety of colours. It can vary as your milk comes in following childbirth and cycle through all sorts of colours as you eat different foods. Changes in breast milk colour is not usually a cause for alarm. What you eat and how your body works are a big part of those fluctuations.
In the first few days after birth and even for a few weeks beforehand if you’re harvesting, your milk will be a golden yellowy colour. This is called 'colostrum'. This is thick, nutrient-rich milk, filled with proteins and high in fat that tides your baby over until your mature milk comes in. Its major role is to contribute to a healthy immune system and sustains baby - by giving them important antibodies and prepares the digestive system for bigger feeds.
From around day 5-10, you produce what is called 'foremilk'. This is milk is packed with lactose and is low in fat and calories. Its consistency is thin and watery and is white with a blueish hue.
Your milk has arrived! Around day 11-14, you produce what is called 'hindmilk'. This is high in fat, high in calories and much thicker, richer, and creamier than foremilk. This is the milk that easily satisfies your baby’s hunger and gets them all sleepy. It also helps them feel fuller for longer.
Orange or Yellow
Sometimes your colostrum can be a little orange or yellow, however this is totally normal. Frozen breast milk can also turn this colour can also be caused by food dyes, or if you’ve eaten a lot of orange foods such as carrots and sweet potatoes.
Another normal colour. This is often seen in foremilk as the milk is so thin and translucent, it has a blueish hue, like skimmed milk from a cow. It does however contain lots of electrolytes and is low in fat.
Like with your urine, green foods such as kale, asparagus, spinach and seaweed, or supplements can alter the colour of your breastmilk and give it a green Hulk-like hue.
Some women are given the antibiotic 'minocycline' (or minocin) and this can turn breast milk black. If you're on these antibiotics, you may be advised to pump this milk to keep up your supply, but not feed it to your little one.
Pink, Red or Brown
Not always normal, these colours can be caused by several things. The more normal explanations include beetroot and food dyes that have entered your system.
The not so normal reasons your milk turns this colour, could be because of a cracked or damaged nipple, which is causing blood to enter the milk supply. 'Rusty pipe syndrome' (when old blood is left inside of the milk ducts from vascular breast engorgement) and increased blood supply to the breasts could also be the culprit.
Pink or brown could also be an indication of an infection called 'mastitis'. If this colour milk persists, do head to your GP to get checked out.
When to talk to Medical Professionals
As you can see, breast milk that changes colour from what you'd consider as 'normal' isn’t usually a cause for concern. However, if you notice your milk (when pumping, by your baby's spit-up, or from leakage on your breast pads), is an odd colour or has changed from one colour to another with no apparent cause, contact your health practitioner who can either put your mind at ease, or run some tests to ensure all is okay.