Pregnant woman looking down at her stomach.

Is It Normal for the Color of Breast Milk to Change?

Breastfeeding is an extremely rewarding experience that provides your newborn with essential vitamins and minerals. There’s no debate on the benefits of breast milk, but sometimes the process of nursing can be a bit overwhelming. Even after securing your latch, you may start to notice some things that make you a little uneasy. For example, many people assume breast milk should be a nice creamy white color, but that’s not always true. Breast milk can appear in a variety of colors. But is it normal for the color of breast milk to change? Here, we’ll explore some of the reasons breast milk changes in color and when to see your doctor.

How Breast Milk Changes Color After Giving Birth

Your milk supply starts to change as soon as you give birth and begin breastfeeding. You should expect your breast milk to change color and density during these first few weeks. This is the body’s way of providing your newborn with a high degree of nutrients to start their development. The phases include colostrum, transitional, and mature breast milk.



Colostrum is an extremely nutrient-dense form of breast milk that acts almost as a natural vaccine for your newborn. It’s a way to kickstart the breastfeeding process and helps your newborn’s immune system develop while supporting their initial growth. Colostrum is only produced for a few days but is extremely high in nutrients. This can make it appear yellow or orange in color. Colostrum is also much thicker than mature breast milk, which is nothing to be alarmed about.

Transitional Breast Milk


After your colostrum has run out, the production of breast milk will increase, and your body will enter the transitional phase. This happens for about two weeks, and you should notice your breast milk change from a yellow-orange color to a clearer, whitish appearance. Breast milk will also thin in consistency during this period.

Mature Breast Milk


Once the transitional phase is over, you will begin producing mature breast milk. This tends to be whitish in color, but the consistency can change based on fat content. At the beginning of a breastfeeding or breast pumping session, you’ll release foremilk. This is a little thinner and tends to be lower in fat. Sometimes, foremilk can appear clear or even have a bluish tint. As you continue your nursing or pumping session, the fat content in your breast milk increases, and the color will become more white or even yellow. You’ll also notice that the milk is thicker. This phase of mature breast milk is called hindmilk and is packed with nutrients.

Can the Color of Breast Milk Change and Still Be Normal?

With that being said, it is completely normal for the color of breast milk to change. In fact, if your breast milk doesn’t change color, you may want to contact your doctor. Although these color changes can be slight, they indicate a natural progression from colostrum to mature milk, both of which are essential for the health and development of your newborn.

Breast milk can also change in color when it’s stored. It may become thicker on the top, with a thinner layer on the bottom. Oftentimes, the thick liquid will be white, while the thin liquid will be more bluish. Just make sure you mix it before using it and it will be fine.

What Different Colors of Breast Milk Mean

Several things can impact the color of your breast milk. From the maturation of your milk ducts to diet and storage, it’s normal to see a variety of colors during your breastfeeding experience. To help you better understand what’s going on and when to call your doctor, consider some of the following colors of breast milk and what they mean.

Yellow Breast Milk


Yellow breast milk is completely normal. It’s oftentimes the color of your colostrum and transitional milk and is no cause for concern. If you notice yellow breast milk after your supply has matured, it’s likely due to yellow or orange foods, such as carrots or sweet potatoes.

Blue Breast Milk


Blue breast milk is also completely normal. Mature milk tends to have a bluish tint, which can range in darkness. Some foods with blue dyes can also cause breast milk to turn a bit blue in color. Breast milk that’s been stored may also retain a bluish color.

Green Breast Milk


Green is another color of breast milk that alarms many new mothers. However, green breast milk doesn’t mean that it’s spoiled or filled with mold spores. Instead, many mothers find that their breast milk turns a green tint after eating green foods like spinach or kale or foods that contain green dye. Certain herbs and vitamin supplements may also lead to greenish-colored breast milk, which is nothing to worry about. Although you should limit processed foods and foods with dyes, green breast milk is usually not a cause for concern.

Pink, Orange, or Reddish Breast Milk


Your food or drink choices can also cause breast milk to turn pink, orange, or even red. This is most common with foods like beets but can also occur after eating foods with different colored dyes. For example, if you drink a lot of orange soda one day, don’t be surprised if your breast milk is a bit orange the next day. Fruit drinks can also make breast milk turn these colors. Again, eating too many overly processed foods isn’t recommended while breastfeeding, so fill up on some whole, nutritious foods for your next meal, and your breast milk should return to a whiteish color.

Brown, Rust-Colored Breast Milk


Breast milk that appears reddish brown or rust-colored may be caused by blood. Although this sounds alarming, blood in breast milk is pretty normal, especially if you’re experiencing cracked or sore nipples or are using a breast pump. Blood in breast milk is commonly called rusty pipe syndrome, as the color of breast milk appears similar to water running through a rusty pipe. However, in most situations, blood in breast milk is not a cause for concern. Breast milk with traces of blood can still be given to your baby as it won’t harm them. Oftentimes, the bleeding will subside on its own, and your breast milk will return to its normal color. However, if you continue to notice signs of blood in your breast milk after a week or so, contact your doctor for a check-up.

Black Breast Milk


Black breast milk is often the most alarming color for many new moms, and for a good reason—it’s the complete opposite color of what you picture “normal” breast milk to be. Many new moms take the antibiotic minocycline after delivery to help prevent or treat bacterial infections, which has a natural darkening agent. However, minocycline should not be taken for long periods if you’re breastfeeding, so it’s important to work closely with your doctor before you start any medications to ensure they’re safe for your baby. If you notice black breast milk and have been prescribed antibiotics, discontinue breastfeeding and see your doctor.

When to See a Doctor

In most instances, the color of breast milk changes due to things you eat, times of your breastfeeding journey, or supplements. If you notice any changes in color that don’t return to normal after you stop eating that type of food, contact your doctor. It’s not necessarily a sign that something is wrong, but having good peace of mind during breastfeeding is better than worrying yourself sick. Similarly, if you’re experiencing blood in your breast milk for longer than a week or so, it’s a good idea to schedule a consultation with your doctor to determine the underlying cause and undergo the appropriate treatment.

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