top of page
Search
  • Writer's pictureAshleigh Richmond

Your Amazing Breastmilk

Did you know that there are different types of breastmilk that change as your baby ages? Switching from colostrum to transitional milk to mature milk, your body knows just what your baby needs! Let's find out more about human milk.



Mother breastfeeding her baby


Breastmilk is the perfect food for your baby and can change in color, nutrients and consistency.


Colostrum


Colostrum is the early milk your body makes for your baby. Milk production begins around week 16 of pregnancy. A hormonal shift occurs after the birth of your baby’s placenta. When your baby begins feeding immediately after birth, this promotes the release of colostrum. This early milk often lasts for 3-5 days after delivery. Colostrum has earned the nickname “Liquid Gold” because this early milk is full of vital nutrients, fats, protein, antibodies, and lactoferrin, which has immune-boosting properties. As your baby’s first food, colostrum is uniquely tailored to fit the needs of your baby. Colostrum is the perfect food for your new baby. Colostrum helps your little regulate life outside of the womb by regulating body temperature, blood sugar, and metabolism. It also is a natural laxative that helps babies rid themselves of meconium, the black poop from the womb, and helps reduce jaundice. “Liquid Gold” is often yellow in color and thick in consistency, though it can sometimes appear clear and runny.


Transitional Milk


Your body makes transitional milk from about 2-5 days after birth and can last up to two weeks following delivery. During this time your breasts will become larger and firmer as the milk volume increases. This fullness is also known as engorgement. Your breasts are in the “build supply” mode and this change is a good thing as it meets the needs of your growing baby. Nurse or pump often to relieve the feelings of engorgement and promote milk production. Compared to colostrum, transitional milk has increased levels of lactose, a natural sugar which provides the baby with energy. During this transitional time, you may also notice a pins and needles sensation, also called let-down. The let-down reflex is stimulated by your baby’s sucking, causing milk to be pushed out of the milk ducts so it’s available for your baby. Your milk flow will be more plentiful and you will likely hear your

baby swallowing more frequently. Human milk is easily digested and it may feel like you are constantly nursing. Newborns typically nurse every 2-3 hours during these early days. This nursing pattern will stabilize and feedings will become less frequent in time.

The color of transitional milk often has a yellow, blueish or whitish hue.


Mature Milk


Your body begins producing mature milk around the end of the second week after childbirth. Like the other stages of milk, mature milk will contain vital nutrients such as carbohydrates, protein, fats, vitamins, and minerals. It can change with each feeding and throughout the day. Mature milk changes as your baby grows. The makeup of your milk will be different when your baby is one month old as opposed to 6 months. This type of milk is produced in greater volume than transitional milk and can be thinner and more

watery. It sometimes looks like skim milk. If you are pumping, you may notice the milk appears creamy from the fat content. The food you eat can change the flavor of breastmilk. Don’t worry though, this is a good thing. It is always good to eat a variety of foods and flavors, which can help your baby’s taste buds develop and they will enjoy a variety of foods later in life. When your infant is sick, salvia from the baby sends a signal to the parent’s body to produce milk with illness-specific antibodies. And the same works if the parent is exposed to a virus. The body will begin producing antibodies to keep the

baby safe from the infection. Breastmilk changes depending on the time of day. The milk produced in the evening hours contains more serotonin to help promote better sleep. Mature milk is usually white, light yellow or blue tinge, although it can change colors depending on your diet and from the foods you eat. Frozen breast milk may appear yellow since it separates and can even look layered.


Colors of Breastmilk


There is a wide range of normal when it comes to color for breast milk. Blueish, yellow, cream, orange are all normal and safe for baby.


Blue or clear- This can indicate milk that is thinner and lower in fat volume.


Yellow- You’re likely eating your fair share of carrots, squash, and sweet potatoes, vegetables high in beta-carotin.


Green -If you are consuming lots of greens, your milk may have a greenish hue.


Red, Pink, Brown- If your diet contains artificial dyes or if you’ve recently eaten beets, you may notice your milk may be pink or red. Red-colored milk can also occur with cracked nipples or from blood from inside your milk ducts. It is almost always safe for baby to consume this milk but speak with your lactation consultant or pediatrician first. It is especially important to see a lactation consultant or doctor if you notice blood in your milk but do not have cracked nipples.


Black- This color may be alarming but is often caused by medication or could be from residual blood. It is safe to feed the baby.



Need more help? Book a visit with Wisco Lactation! We offer home & office visit in SE Wisconsin and NE Illinois. We also offer virtual visits worldwide.



Comments


bottom of page