Breast Milk Colors Chart with Pictures and Explanations

Breast Milk Colors Chart

Color Causes  Normal or Not?
Black Black breast milk is caused by an antibiotic called Minocin. Not normal.
Brown Brown breast milk could indicate blood that is leaking from the breasts into the milk ducts. Ask your doctor.
Pink Pink breast milk may be the result of something mom ate that was naturally this color, such as beets. Normal.
Red Red breast milk occurs when there is blood present in the breast milk. Usually OK.
Clear or Blue Foremilk tends to look clear or blueish in tone because it is the thinner version of mature milk. Perfectly normal.
Yellow Hindmilk is higher in fat content which gives it a thicker consistency that is a creamy yellow color. Normal.
White Transitional milk is usually white and this is the milk your body begins to produce after colostrum. Normal.
Orange Colostrum is the first form of milk your body makes for baby. It is incredibly concentrated and a rich orange color. Normal
Green Green breast milk may be the result of eating green foods such as dark leafy greens. Usually normal.

 

Pin this for laterBreast milk colors chart infographic. Breast milk colors in a circular pattern with explanations below.This post may contain affiliate links. Full disclosures here.

Why Does Breast Milk Have Different Colors?

Breast milk is always on a continual journey of change. Throughout the day and even hour, your breast milk composition is modifying itself. You may not always notice these variations in breast milk color if you are exclusively nursing, but a pumping mom will get to see all of the action. Let’s explore these many different breast milk colors in detail below. 

Black Breast Milk 

Black colored breast milk inside of a baby bottle.

Black breast milk is due to the antibiotic Minocin. This medication can also darken the skin. For obvious reasons, Minocin is not recommended for mothers who are breastfeeding. 

Brown Breast Milk 

Brown colored breast milk inside of a baby bottle.

Brown breast milk could also indicate blood. This blood however, is coming from inside your breast that has leaked into your milk ducts. After pregnancy, the glands and cells can stretch and bleed. The term rusty pipe syndrome has been coined for this breast milk color because it looks like it came from a rusty pipe. Brown breast milk is usually not a cause for concern and should clear after a few days.

Pink Breast Milk 

Pink colored breast milk inside of a baby bottle.

Pink, orange or red breast milk may be the result of eating something that is naturally these colors. It may also indicate that there is blood in your breast milk which usually isn’t a cause for concern. As an example, the blood may be coming from cracked nipples. In this case, you should contact your healthcare provider on how to heal them. This nipple balm helps to prevent and heal cracked nipples, it’s my personal favorite. 

bad breastfeeding latch can quickly turn into cracked, bleeding and extremely painful nipples. Something like this can destroy your plans of breastfeeding pretty quickly (this happened to me as a first time mom). To avoid a bad breastfeeding latch and other common breastfeeding mistakes, I recommend this online breastfeeding class to all new moms. 

In very rare cases, pink breast milk can also be caused by a bacteria called Serratia marcescens.① The presence of this bacteria in breast milk is extremely dangerous to infants. Find more information on Serratia mercescens here.

Red Breast Milk

Red colored breast inside of a baby bottle.

Red breast milk indicates that blood is present. This isn’t usually a cause for concern and there is no reason to throw out your affected breast milk! Most babies will not mind a little blood present in their breast milk. Blood in breast milk is most commonly caused by the following:

  • Intraductal Papillomas – These are usually benign lumps that grow inside of the milk ducts. They are usually painless, but can cause bloody discharge. ➁
  • Mastitis – This is a serious breast infection that is caused by bacteria growth due to backed-up milk milk ducts.➂ Find out how you can fully empty you’re breasts more effectively to avoid Mastitis.
  • Breast Cancer – In very rare instances blood in breast milk can also indicate the presence of breast cancer. ➃

Green Breast Milk 

Green breast milk in a baby bottle.

Green breast milk may be the result of eating green foods such as dark leafy greens or foods that contain green dyes. This color of breast milk is usually not anything to be concerned with. That is unless, your little one is experiencing digestive upsets from the foods you are eating while breastfeeding. In that case, you may want to reevaluate your breastfeeding diet.

Why is My Breast Milk Blue?

Blue colored breast milk in a baby bottle.

Off all colors, why blue? When your milk becomes more mature, you are producing both foremilk and hindmilk. Foremilk is the milk that flows out at the beginning of a let-down during a pumping session or feeding. It is lower in fat content and therefore thinner which gives it a clear or bluish tint.

Yellow Breast Milk

A baby bottle filled with yellow colored breast milk.

Another form of mature milk is hindmilk. Hindmilk is what baby gets after foremilk. It is much higher in fat content and because of that it is thicker and has a creamy white or yellow appearance. Frozen breast milk can also have a yellow tint.

Orange Breast Milk

Orange colored breast milk in a baby bottle.

Colostrum is usually thick in consistency and dark yellow or orange in color. This is the first milk your body begins to make. It’s highly nutritious and very concentrated. Your newborn only needs a tiny amount of it. Beta-carotene is responsible for the dark yellow or orange color it has. 

White Breast Milk

White breast milk in a baby bottle.

Transitional milk is what your body begins to produce after colostrum. Your breast milk goes from dark yellow to white as your milk comes in. White breast milk is perfectly healthy and is most commonly associated with milk in general. Even though, we learned today that breast milk comes in all sorts of colors!

Make sure you aren’t caught off guard by milk supply slumps with this helpful expedited milk supply course by Milkology.

To Conclude

Breast milk is neither black nor white, it can be produced in many different colors! Most breast milk colors are perfectly normal and harmless. However, some breast milk colors such as black, are not normal or healthy for babies to consume. Generally, pink, red, brown and even green breast milk colors are usually harmless. 

References:

  1. Pink Breast Milk: Serratia marcescens Colonization – PubMed
  2. Intraductal Papilloma: How to Recognize These Benign Breast Growths – WebMD
  3. Mastitis – La Leche League International 
  4. Color of Milk- La Leche League International

Please Share!