The Color(s) of Breastmilk

Posted 09-16-2013 at 03:45 PM by angelaw

A few days before heading back to work after my maternity leave, I decided I should start pumping to build up a stash for my son to eat while I was away from him. I pumped for about 10-15 minutes and got about 2-3 ounces. It wasn’t bad, but I wanted a little more before putting in a freezer bag. So, I put what I had expressed in a storage bottle in the fridge. After pumping a second time later that day, I went to place the new bottle in the fridge. I was shocked at what I saw. My milk had divided into two parts. A thicker, creamy ivory colored substance at the top, and a thinner clearer substance at the bottom. It looked nothing like cow’s milk. This was my first baby and I was still young and naïve. I didn’t have a clue about homogenization and didn’t know that if left alone, milk straight from the cow would do the same thing.

Later that month, after returning to work I had another surprise. I had missed my regular pumping break time, and had to wait about an hour and a half longer than usual to get away to pump. When I finally was able to get away, the bottle of milk looked so strange. The milk had a bluish tint to it, and I considered dumping it down the drain for fear that something was wrong. What I didn’t realize what that because I had waited longer to pump, my breasts had become slightly engorged. Since I pumped for the same amount of time as always, I wasn’t able to obtain much more than foremilk this time. On the same note, when I pumped more often than normal, I would notice thicker, creamier milk because it was then mostly hind milk.

A few years later, I was a surrogate and delivered two beautiful babies. I began pumping milk for them immediately following the birth. I would pump 6-8 times daily and add the milk to the freezer. After about 3 weeks, I had collected enough milk to ship out to them. While gathering the milk together to ship, I noticed a big difference between what was pumped the first week and what was pumped the second and third weeks. The first few days, the milk was so yellow it was almost orange. After that, it gradually became lighter in color until it was pretty much a creamy white color. This was because at the beginning, the milk was still primarily colostrum. As the milk transitioned to mature milk, it became lighter in color.

Fact is: your milk changes as do the needs of your baby. It’s amazing to me how nature works!

I have also heard that milk can have other hues, but I have never noticed any other colors myself. Are there any colors that you have noticed in your milk that I may have left out?

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