Breastmilk is often called “liquid gold” – not for its color, but for its impressive health benefits. As for the color itself: While many assume that breastmilk is always white, its shades actually can vary. These variations can convey important information about the composition and condition of the milk – or even about your general health.
So, what do those colors mean? Let’s find out.
Light Yellow – colostrum
If you just started breastfeeding or pumping, you’ve likely noticed that your milk is yellowish or golden. This is known as colostrum, and within a couple of days it changes into mature, whiter milk. Colostrum is rich in antibodies, proteins, vitamins, and minerals, providing vital nutrition and immune protection for newborns.
White – mature milk
As breastfeeding or pumping progresses, breastmilk typically transitions to a creamy white. This mature milk is rich in fats, lactose, and essential nutrients, supporting your baby’s healthy growth and development.
Light Blue – early pumping
If you breastfeed, you might’ve never seen the bluish tint. But if you’re pumping, especially at the beginning of a session, you may have noticed the blue hue. Nothing to fear: That’s just the separation of the milk’s fat content. As you continue pumping, the milk’s color should return to its natural white.
Greenish – high-greens diet
Breastmilk can take on a greenish tint if you consume a significant amount of green-colored foods or beverages. The presence of chlorophyll-rich foods (such as spinach or kale) can generate this color. Though the sight of it may surprise you, it’s perfectly safe and harmless.
Pinkish – presence of blood
Pinkish breastmilk may indicate the presence of blood. This can occur if you have a cut or wound, and while it can be alarming, it’s usually temporary. Still, go right to a healthcare specialist to determine the cause.
Yellow-Greenish – illness or antibacterial properties
A yellow-greenish shade can indicate that either the mom or the baby is unwell. When the body fights infection, breastmilk can become infused with additional antioxidants and antibodies, resulting in this color variation. This change helps provide the baby with an immune boost.
Red – seek medical attention
More concerning than its pink counterpart, red breastmilk is a legitimate cause for alarm, suggesting significant bleeding. Stop breastfeeding or pumping and seek immediate and thorough medical attention.
Of course, breastfeeders might not see colors at all. But if you’re pumping, you’ll notice any color variations, some of which are harmless, others of which warrant attention. Understanding what these colors mean can make a substantial difference to the health of you and your baby.