Breast Milk Color: What's Normal?

White, Yellow, Clear, Blue, Green, Pink, Orange, Brown, and Black Breast Milk

© Verywell, 2017

Most of the time, breast milk is clear, white, blue-tinged, cream, tan, or yellow. However, at some point during your breastfeeding experience, you may be surprised to find that your breast milk can be other colors as well.


Colostrum is the first breast milk that your body makes. You only make a small amount of colostrum, but it's concentrated and highly nutritious. While colostrum can sometimes be clear and thin, it's often yellow or orange and thick.

The high levels of beta-carotene in colostrum give it its color.

Transitional Milk & Mature Milk

After your body is done producing colostrum, it begins to make transitional milk, which lasts about two weeks. During this period, your milk typically changes from yellow to white in color. Your body then reaches the mature milk stage. In general, mature breast milk tends to be clear or bluish in color when it first starts to flow out of your breast at the beginning of a feeding, or at the beginning of a pumping session. This milk is called the foremilk. Foremilk is breast milk that is thinner and lower in fat. Then, as you continue to pump or nurse your baby, the fat content in your milk goes up. As the fat increases, your breast milk will turn into the creamier, whiter milk called hindmilk.

What Can Change the Color of Breast Milk?

Certain foods, herbs, nutritional supplements, and medications can change the color of your breast milk.

These additives can also affect the color of your urine or your baby’s urine. Although it might be shocking and scary to see, it's normal for breast milk to vary in color and tint. These changes are usually diet-related and not dangerous.

Green Breast Milk

You may notice green breast milk after you eat green foods or foods that contain green dyes.

Your breast milk might take on a green color if you drink green-colored beverages, eat a good amount of green vegetables, such as spinach or seaweed, or add certain herbs or vitamin supplements to your diet.

Pink, Orange & Red Breast Milk

Your may notice pink, orange, or red-tinged breast milk after eating foods that are naturally these colors, or after having foods or drinks that contain red, yellow, or orange food dye. Beets, orange soda, and red or orange fruit drinks can all cause your milk to turn different shades of pink, red, and orange.

Blood in Your Breast Milk, Brown Breast Milk & Rusty Pipe Syndrome

If blood from inside your breasts leaks into your milk ducts, your breast milk may look brown and rust-colored. When breast milk looks like dirty water from an old rusty pipe, it's called rusty pipe syndrome. Blood can also get into your breast milk if you have cracked nipples. It may appear as red or pink streaks in your milk.

A small amount of blood in your breast milk is not harmful to your baby. If you see a little blood-tinged milk, there is no need to stop breastfeeding. In most cases, the bleeding will go away on its own in a few days. If it doesn't and you continue to notice blood in your breast milk after a week, check with your doctor.

Black Breast Milk

The production of black breast milk is linked to the antibiotic Minocin (minocycline). Minocin also causes darkening of the skin. The use of Minocin is not recommended while you're nursing. That's why it's so important that you always let your doctor know you're breastfeeding before taking any medication.

When to Call the Doctor

Most of the time, any change in the color of your breast milk is due to something that you ate, and it's likely nothing to worry over. However, if you have any concerns about the color of your breast milk, you should feel comfortable contacting your healthcare provider.

Your doctor or a lactation specialist will be able to listen to your concerns, evaluate the situation, and have you come in for an examination, if necessary.

A Word From Verywell

If this is your first experience with breastfeeding, changes in your breast milk may alarm you. Certainly, noticing your milk has turned green or orange can make you wonder if it is still healthy for your baby. Knowing that it usually can be traced to something you ate can be reassuring.


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Lawrence RA, Lawrence RM. Breastfeeding A Guide For The Medical Profession Eighth Edition. Elsevier Health Sciences. 2015.

Riordan J, Wambach K. Breastfeeding and Human Lactation Fourth Edition. Jones and Bartlett Learning. 2014.