What causes yellowish breast milk?
You probably already know what breast milk can do for you. Some newborns find it simpler to digest breast milk than formula, and it includes antibodies to support a baby's immune system.
However, if nursing is new to you, you might not be familiar with the many shades of breast milk. You could suppose that cow's milk, formula, and breast milk are all the same hue. Its hue can, however, differs greatly.
Not to worry! Breast milk production in various hues is often no reason for alarm. It's critical to comprehend why breast milk's hue occasionally alters.
What breast milk color is normal?
There are variations of what is considered "normal," and every woman's milk is unique. In fact, in the first few days or weeks after giving birth, the color of your milk will vary significantly:
Colostrum:: Pre-milk often has a yellowish tint and begins to appear shortly after your baby is born.
Transitional milk:: It may have an orange hue and occurs between colostrum and mature milk between two and five days after giving birth and ten to fourteen days later.
Mature milk:: that appears around the end of the second postpartum week is blue or white, similar to watery skim milk.
What makes breast milk yellow?
Your breast milk may have a blue, green, or pink tint. It's typical for its hue to change from day to day. What then prompts this?
Have you ever observed that the appearance of your breast milk after being pumped varies daily? You are not insane! It's very natural for the color of your breast milk to change during the day and even to include hints of other hues like blue, green, or pink. What then prompts this?
A large part of it is related to the meals you consume. Your breast milk's color can be altered by specific meals, drugs, herbs, and colors (such as bright green Gatorade!). It can be weird, but it's often perfectly safe. The primary reasons for yellowish breast milk are described below, so keep reading to find out what can be coloring your breast milk a rainbow of hues.
- ① Colostrum
You might be astonished to find thick yellow breast milk instead of white milk if you've just given birth. In the initial days following delivery, it's typical for mothers to produce yellow milk, which is perfectly acceptable.
Given that it is the first milk your breasts make after giving birth, this is also known as first milk or colostrum. You'll make this thicker, higher antibody milk for up to five days after giving birth.
- ② Your milk is yellow because of your diet
What you consume makes up the majority of what is in your breast milk. Therefore, it makes sense that part of the yellow-orange pigment known for coloring carrots, beta-carotenes, may dye your milk if you consume many foods containing this substance.
In addition to carrots, meals high in beta-carotenes include virtually all vegetables with a yellow-orange hue. That includes several varieties of yams, squash, pumpkins, and sweet potatoes.
If a supplement or medication contains beta-carotenes, it may also impact the color of your milk.
It's nothing to worry about if your diet causes your breast milk to become yellow. Beta-carotenes are advantageous for your child since they help to meet their vitamin A requirements1. As you alter your diet, the color will often return to white.
- ③ Freezing
It's significant to remember that freezing breast milk might cause color changes. It's natural for your breast milk to start white and then turn a small shade of yellow. This does not suggest that your milk supply is inadequate.
- ④ Your milk is yellow because you or your baby are sick
Your breast milk is intelligent, not like the formula! When you nurse, your baby's immune system continually sends you information. It tells you about any bacterial or viral assaults it has to deal with. And you respond by putting the required white blood cells and antibodies in your breast milk.
The same process occurs whether you have a disease yourself or if a virus or bacterium is attacking your body. Your immune system deduces that your baby could experience the same attack and adds the proper protection to your breast milk.
Scientists have discovered situations where the proportion of white blood cells in breast milk can rise to 94% if the mother or the child is battling a viral or bacterial infection.
This is a major reason breastfeeding is so important—you keep your child healthy and secure!
- ⑤ Your milk is yellow because it's high in fat
Breast milk with a high-fat content may seem somewhat yellow. If the milk is chilled or frozen, the color is more noticeable. Average breast milk contains 4.4% fat but only around 60% of its calories.
If the color of my breast milk changes, is there a problem?
Most likely not. Breast milk begins by naturally changing color as your body transitions from producing colostrum, transitional milk, and mature milk. Additionally, what you eat might change the color of your milk even after reaching the completely mature stage.
As long as your doctor has cleared them as safe for breastfeeding, you don't need to worry whether the vitamins or medications you're taking impact the color of your breast milk.
Pinkish milk, however, might be a sign of blood in the breast milk, which could be caused by something relatively benign like inflamed nipples or a more serious medical condition. So it's important to let your doctor know.