Mar 21, 2016

 

why is my breastmilk this color?

It's common knowledge that breast milk composition changes to meet the baby's needs. Mothers start out with colostrum the changes into milk on day three or four of the baby's life. Colostrum is typically yellowish and a little sticky. When mother’s milk comes in it changes to more of a milky white. However, variances within that spectrum are normal. Fore milk tends to be a little thinner with a bluish tinge whereas hind milk is higher in fat content a little thicker making it more of a creamy white.

Mother’s milk also changes to contain the antibodies a baby needs to build their immune system. This can happen spontaneously as needed when a child picks up a virus. The babies "backwash" into the mother’s nipple helps determine the recipe baby needs. However, this is not what changes the color of the milk, contrary to a recent anecdotal posting circulating social media. So what does change the color of your breast milk? And when does a color change prompt concern?


Pink, Orange and Red Milk

Food Dyes used in carbonated drinks, fruit juice and Jello are typically cause of milk these colors. Vegetables high in beta carotene can also cause orange-colored breast milk. However if you see a streak of pink when you’re pumping you may pulling blood from a cracked nipple. Contact your lactation consultant if you’re having trouble with cracked sore nipples past the first two weeks of nursing. You’ll want to reassess your baby’s latch.


Green Milk

Again, food dyes can be the culprit here - especially in sports drinks. Also, if you’re a person who loves to juice and you consume a lot of greens that can also be the cause. Seaweed in particular can cause a greenish tinge to your milk.


Brown or Rusty Milk

This can point to blood that’s coming from inside the breast and also called “Rusty Pipe Syndrome.” It’s usually self-limited and harmless to you and your baby. Blood from inside the breast can happen for a variety of reasons:

* Mastitis
* Vascular Engorgement
* Injury to the breast

If you are concerned or the blood lasts more than a week, always contact your doctor.


Black Milk

Yes. There’s such a thing as black milk. It is directly linked to an antibiotic called Minocin (minocycline). This antibiotic is not typically prescribed to breastfeeding mothers. Be sure to let your doctors know that you are a lactating mom so you can receive medication that is safe for you and your baby.


Bonnie Jean Feldkamp is a writer and mother of three. If you liked this posting please follow her on Twitter @writerbonnie or like her on Facebook at  www.facebook.com/WriterBonnie for more great info on Raising Kids. 

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