Everything from diet to genetics influences the composition and appearance of breast milk. So don’t be worried if your breast milk color changes from time to time: the color, smell, and taste of breast milk are different for everyone.
Certain foods and drinks, as well as physiological changes, can alter the appearance of your breast milk. The most dramatic changes are usually seen immediately postpartum. Here’s what to expect:
- Colostrum milk: this is a yellowish fluid discharged immediately after birth.
- Transitional milk: this orangey-colored milk is produced about two to five days postpartum.
- Mature milk: About two weeks following birth, a mother will finally start to produce “mature” milk. The breast milk color will be white or slightly blue and it will appear similar to skim milk.
This is an estimated schedule. Remember, everyone is different!
Breast milk colors
Yellow or Orange
Eating carrots, pumpkin, squash, and other foods rich in carotene can cause your breastmilk to appear somewhat yellow or orange. Don’t worry! Carotene will not harm your baby. Also worth noting: refrigerated and frozen milk can sometimes appear yellow.
A diet rich in leafy greens and vegetables can give your breast milk a slightly green tint. Sports drinks with green dye can cause color changes, too!
Red or Pink
Breast milk that looks slightly oxidized or pink often comes from consuming sugary fruit drinks, carbonated beverages, Jell-o, eggplant, or other dark-red or purple foods. The breast milk color will be red if small amounts of blood enter your milk supply.
Your veins grow and stretch a lot postpartum and sometimes a vein in your breast will leak and cause your milk to appear slightly red. This can also happen if you have a scratch or cut.
Usually, you can keep breastfeeding as normal. The red discoloration should disappear with time. However, if the color doesn’t go away, talk to your pediatrician.
Mature breast milk can have a blue tint just like skim milk. Some people think the blue color comes from having a low milk supply, but that’s a myth!
Looking for more information on breast milk? Read our article Breastfeeding 101 to find expert advice and tips for you and your baby.
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