What colour should breast milk be?

Close-up of baby breastfeedingThe colour of breast milk will vary from woman to woman. The first breast milk, called ‘colostrum’, is very concentrated and only present in small quantities. It tends to be a creamy yellow colour which can range from being a pale yellow to a very deep ‘Buttercup’ yellow. If you drank blue-coloured isotonic (energy) drinks during your labour, you may notice that your colostrum appears to be a greenish colour. For more information see our section on ‘Breastfeeding Your Baby’.

When your breast milk comes in around day three post birth, there is a greater volume of milk and it tends to look a lot more watery and can have a bluish tinge to its colour. Dietary supplements can alter the colour of breast milk further and some women will notice that their breast milk has more orange, green or black tones to it – this does not harm the baby.

If you have cracked nipples, the action of your baby suckling at the breast will open-up the naturally occurring fissures on the surface of the nipple and bleeding can occur. This blood can be seen in your expressed milk and may be seen in any milk that your baby brings up with wind (posits). Again, there is no need to be alarmed because it will not harm your baby; however, we advise that you contact your midwife or Health Visitor for their advice. Also, see our section on ‘Management of common breastfeeding problems’.

Both D, Frischknecht K (2008). Breastfeeding. An illustrated guide to diagnosis and treatment. Sydney: Mosby. 88 pages.

Renfrew M, Fisher C, Arms S (2000). Bestfeeding: getting breastfeeding right for you. An illustrated guide. 2nd ed. Berkeley, California: Celestial Arts. 237 pages.