What Does My Breast Milk Color Mean? A Complete Guide to Understanding Breast Milk Color

If you’re a first-time mama, you’ve likely done your research on the benefits of breast milk. However, you might not know that your breast milk can change colors. Most of the time, this change of shade is normal. But in the case that it’s not, it’s important to know when to call a healthcare professional. 

At Pumps for Mom, we’re here to assist you throughout your transition into motherhood. With exclusive insight into the breastfeeding process and an extensive catalog of top-rated breast pumps and maternity recovery garments, we’re ready to be your right hand, mama! Below, our team has compiled a comprehensive guide to breast milk color and what it means for your health and that of your little one. 

In this blog, our experts share insight into what each breast color means by answering the following questions :

  • What is the normal color of breast milk?
  • What does each breast milk color mean?
  • When should I see a doctor?

What is the Normal Color of Breast Milk?

There isn’t necessarily a “normal” color of breast milk. The truth is that every mom’s breast milk might look different depending on where you are in the breastfeeding process. Breast milk expression is defined in three stages, each presenting a different color. These stages are as follows:

Colostrum Stage (color- yellow/orange)

Milk produced in the colostrum stage is expressed during pregnancy and the first couple of days after birth. This fresh milk is exceptionally high in protein, fat-soluble vitamins, minerals, and immunoglobulins and is much thicker than milk produced later in breastfeeding. 

Transitional Stage (color- yellow/white)

The transitional stage begins a few days after colostrum and lasts about two weeks. Milk expressed during this time includes high levels of fat, lactose, water-soluble vitamins, and calories and is typically a yellow/white color. 

Mature Stage (color- white/cream/clear/blue)

Moms produce mature milk about two weeks after the colostrum stage. Most of the mature milk is water, while the remainder is carbohydrates, proteins, and fats. This kind of milk is essential for hydrating and feeding your baby energy, and it’s generally a shade of white, cream, or blue. 

What Does Each Breast Milk Color Mean?

Now that you know it’s normal for breast milk to come in many shades, let’s dive deeper into what the color of your breast milk means. While some discoloration is expected, some breast milk colors raise red flags. Below is a breakdown of each breast milk color and what it means. 


As mentioned above, yellow/orange breast milk is standard when you first start breastfeeding. During this stage, your milk is extremely rich in antibodies and beta-carotene, giving it a yellow/orange/golden hue. If you notice these shades later in breastfeeding, you might have consumed high levels of beta-carotene foods like carrots, squash, and sweet potatoes or products with orange food dye like soda or energy drinks. 


If you notice your breast milk turning from yellow/orange to a creamy white, it means you’ve reached the most mature stage of milk production. White hues mean your milk has reached full maturity, which typically happens about two weeks after you start breastfeeding. However, it’s important to mention that white mature milk can still change shades depending on your diet or storage method. For example, freezing breast milk often causes it to turn yellowish and separate into layers. 


Breast milk of translucent or blue-ish hues is also common at the beginning of pumping or nursing. This milk is typically referred to as foremilk and has a watery, skim milk consistency. Foremilk generally is thinner because it contains less fat and protein and more electrolytes. Usually, foremilk will evolve toward the end of a pumping session and generate a thicker, fatty consistency. During this transformation, its color will also change to a creamier, white/yellow color. 


Though green breast milk might sound very off-putting, it’s generally not something toworry about. Green breast milk is almost always a result of diet. If you’ve recently consumed a lot of cruciferous vegetables and leafy greens or a product with green food dye, it’s normal to see a greenish tint in your milk. However, if greens aren’t a standard part of your diet, this milk shade could indicate a possible infection. In this case, you’ll need to consult a health professional for further assistance. 


Red or pink is another color that might cause some initial distress. But usually, it’s not a big concern. Pink or reddish milk is often a result of a diet consisting of reddish foods and drinks. Think cherries, beets, or other foods containing red food dye. If this is your diet, you have nothing to worry about, mama! Another reason for pink/red breast milk is blood. Sometimes, nipples crack or bleed during the nursing process. In this case, blood can mix with your breast milk and generate a red/pink shade. Luckily, a small amount of blood in your milk shouldn’t be harmful to your baby, and your breast should heal quickly. However, if you’re experiencing pain or discomfort along with red/pink breast milk, it’s wise to consult a doctor just in case. 


Seeing brown or black breast milk can be pretty jarring for a mom. However, it doesn’t necessarily mean there’s something wrong. Most cases of brown or black breast milk result from medication or antibiotics. Before taking prescribed medications, let your doctor know you’re nursing to ensure the prescription is safe. If you are not on any medications and your breast milk is black or brown, call your healthcare provider as soon as possible. 

When Should I See a Doctor?

In most cases, varying shades of breast milk are normal and should raise no concern. The only times you might consult a medical professional are if your milk is red/pink, green, or brown/black with no changes in diet or daily medications. Sometimes, these shades could be a sign of infection and should be addressed immediately for your and your little one’s safety.

Want to Get a Free Breast Pump Through Insurance? 

Is your little one coming soon? It’s time to get yourself a breast pump free through insurance! At Pumps for Mom, we serve as the middleman between you and your insurance provider to ensure you get a quality breast pump for your breastfeeding journey. Shop our comprehensive catalog of top-rated breast pumps, and head to our form or contact us today to get one through insurance.