Color of breast milk

The color of breast milk changes and changes over time. It can even change during the same day or even within the same feed.

Depending on what you eat, it can acquire shades of green, pink, red, etc. Sometimes it can even acquire a brown or rust color, if it gets mixed with blood. It is therefore legitimate to ask what color it should be and what can be considered normal.

Below I’ll explain everything you need to know about the color that breast milk can take and its meaning.

The “normal” color of breast milk

The color of breast milk is usually yellow, white, clear, cream, tan, or blue-tinged. However it may be in other colors and color change may be due to several factors.

Color changes over time: from colostrum to mature milk

In the weeks following childbirth, breast milk changes rapidly not only in composition and quantity, but also in colour.

Here’s what to know about different types of breast milk in the days and weeks after delivery, including color changes.


Colostrum is the first milk your body produces. It is produced up to 5 days after giving birth and only in small quantities. It is concentrated, very nutritious. and rich in antibodies. The high levels of beta-carotene give it a dark yellow or orange color. It is usually thick, but can also be watery.

Transitional milk

After the first few days of colostrum, your body starts producing transitional milk. During the transition period – which lasts about two weeks – the color of the milk typically changes from yellow to white.

Ripe milk

About two weeks after giving birth, your body starts producing mature milk. In general,

  • when mature milk begins to flow from the breast, at the beginning of the feed or pumping, it is thinner, less fat, with some bluish tinge;
  • as it flows out, the fat content increases and the milk becomes creamier and white or yellow in color.

Other colors and what they mean

Although it may initially leave us amazed, it is normal for breast milk to vary in color even outside the colors described above. These changes are usually diet-related and not dangerous.

Foods, herbs, dietary supplements, and medications can all contribute to the color of breast milk, as well as that of urine.

So here are some of the different colors that mother’s milk can take.

White breast milk

White is the color most people expect to see when breastfeeding or pumping.

What’s interesting, however, is that the body doesn’t typically produce white breast milk until a few days after delivery. This usually occurs when milk passes from first milk (colostrum) to mature milk.

Blue breast milk

Breast milk that has blue tinges when it contains less fat than its white counterpart. The first and last milk of the feed usually has this colouration.

Yellow breast milk

There are several reasons your milk may be yellow:

  • if you have just started breastfeeding, you are probably secreting colostrum;
  • eating foods rich in beta-carotene, such as carrots, pumpkin and sweet potatoes, can alter the shade of the milk and lead it towards yellow;
  • freezing can make the milk slightly yellow.

Green breast milk

After eating green foods — such as spinach or seaweed — foods that contain green dyes, drinking green beverages — such as fruit juices or energy drinks — or taking herbal dietary supplements, your milk may turn greenish in color.

Breast milk pink, orange, red or brown

Red or brown milk can be due to food coloring or damage to the breast from nursing or pumping.

Products made from beets, oranges, and other red fruits can cause breast milk to take on different shades of pink, red, and orange.

Even “rust pipe syndrome” which is harmless, is a condition that can turn breast milk a red, rusty color, almost like dirty water from a rusty old pipe.

Finally, if you have cracked nipples, blood can get into the milk, perhaps creating pink or red streaks. But don’t panic: you don’t have to throw away the breast milk or stop breastfeeding: a little blood in the milk won’t hurt your baby. In most cases, the bleeding will go away on its own in a few days. If not, and you continue to notice blood in your breast milk for more than a week, see your doctor.

Bright neon pink breast milk can be a sign of a bacterial infection. Again don’t be alarmed, but if you notice that the bright neon pink doesn’t go away in a couple of days see your doctor.

Black breast milk

The production of black breast milk is linked to the antibiotic MINOCIN ® Minocycline. The use of MINOCIN ® during breastfeeding is generally contraindicated due to the ability of minocycline to cross the placental barrier and accumulate in breast milk. That’s why it’s so important that you always tell your doctor that you’re breastfeeding before taking any medications.

The color changes when the child is sick

Several studies suggest that the composition of milk, and in particular its concentration of white blood cells, cells of the immune system essential in fighting infection, may change in response to a child’s illnesses. When this happens, your milk may change color in response to changing its composition to meet your baby’s needs.

Yellow breast milk during weaning

You may continue to produce some milk even months after you have completely weaned your baby. As production decreases the milk will become increasingly yellowish and sticky and you may find a slight residue on your bra. This change is completely natural and does not indicate an infection.

Milk changes color during storage

Breast milk may change slightly when expressed and stored. In the refrigerator it can separate into layers: a thick creamy, white or yellow layer may form on top and a thinner transparent or blue colored layer on the bottom. You do not have to worry. This is normal and doesn’t mean the milk has gone bad, it’s just that the fat rises to the top. When you’re ready to use it, you just need to mix the layers by gently swirling the bottle. Breast milk can also change color in the freezer: Frozen breast milk can turn more yellow. When stored in a freezer, your milk can last a whole year. Frozen breast milk also tends to look more yellow—that doesn’t tell you anything about the freshness of the milk.

Mastitis or blocked ducts

Blocked milk ducts can lead to mastitis, a painful condition that affects the breasts during breastfeeding. The milk thickens to the point where it is difficult to pass through the nipple.

You may see strings of blood or pus in your milk and it may clot if you keep it for a few hours, but these things won’t harm your baby. It is important to continue breastfeeding even through blocked ducts. You may notice that your milk is yellow when the tube unblocks, but don’t worry – it’s just thick, fatty milk being released. There are a few things you can do to avoid blocking the ducts:

  • empty your breasts during feedings.
  • breastfeed frequently and on demand.
  • make sure you use the right parts of the pump for your breasts
  • make sure the bra is not too tight.

When to call the doctor

If your breast milk remains stained with blood for a few days or more you should probably contact your doctor, as pink or red breast milk can be indicative of other problems.

The color of breast milk, conclusions

If you are new to breastfeeding, changes in your milk may be alarming.

Knowing the reason behind color changes and understanding that – in most cases – they are common occurrences that are usually not dangerous can be reassuring.

Katherine Johnson, M.D., is a board-certified obstetrician-gynecologist with clinical expertise in general obstetrics and gynecology, family planning, women’s health, and gynecology.

She is affiliated with the Obstetrics and Gynecology division at an undisclosed healthcare institution and the online platform,

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *