Why does my breastmilk look like a rainbow?

Why does my breastmilk look like a rainbow?

Did you know that Breast milk comes in a variety of different colours?
You probably won’t notice this unless you express your milk but if you do pump your milk you may see lots of variation in colour and get a bit of a fright!

Don’t worry this is completely normal!

Most people assume that breast milk is always white so it’s understandable if you get a bit freaked out if you see blue, green or pink milk.

There are lots of variations of normal even in the early days.
Colostrum (first milk) is typically quite yellowish, transitional milk (day 2-14) may have an orange tint and mature milk (after two weeks) can be whitish or blueish.
In most cases, the colour of your breast milk is nothing to be worried about. However, it's always a great idea to seek medical advice if you are concerned.
Here’s a rundown of the colours and what they all mean.

Pink breast milk is usually from eating strongly coloured foods but can also be from blood staining. Food such as beetroot can cause a pink colour.

Yellow/orange breast milk is usually food related from eating a large amount of orange coloured foods such as carrots and pumpkin.

Green breast milk is sometimes caused by ingesting large amounts of green (or even blue) coloured foods like green vegetables, kelp and other types of seaweed in tablet form or concentrates of natural vitamins.

Blue dyes in foodstuffs occasionally cause breastmilk to be green-tinged.
Black breast milk can be caused by some medications.

Black breastmilk can also indicate blood staining.

Red/brown breast milk normally indicates blood or broken down blood products.

Blood staining whilst usually from a cracked nipple can also be an indicator of a more serious condition such as breast cancer (although far less common). Papilloma is also another less common cause of blood in breast milk. This is a small benign wart like growth on the lining of the milk duct which bleeds.

It is always a good idea to discuss this with your LMC/LC or GP to ensure there is nothing underlying going on.

Julia Daly

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