Did you just pump some breast milk and are alarmed that it’s turned green? Chances are, it’s a non-issue. In this article, we will take a closer look at why your breast milk is green.
The truth is, breast milk can come in a range of colors, and most of the time, there is no reason for concern. However, it can be concerning to see these changes!
There are a few possible explanations for green breast milk, which include:
- Illness – in mom or baby (or both)
- Certain medications or supplements
- Duct Ecstasia
- Diet rich in green, leafy vegetables
- Consumed green/blue food dye
Let’s dive into these reasons a little bit more!
- Why is My Breast Milk Green?
- 1. Your baby has been sick
- 2. You have been sick
- 3. You’ve recently started eating lots of green leafy vegetables
- 4. You’re taking certain medications or supplements
- 5. You have duct ectasia.
- 6. You’ve Consumed Green/Blue Food Dye
- 7. Colostrum
- Is Green Breast Milk OK?
- What affects the color of breast milk:
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Hi! 👋 I’m Katie, an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant I have helped thousands of moms worldwide navigate their breastfeeding journey since 2015. I can’t wait to help you! Consider checking out my 1:1 lactation support services or enrolling in one of our online breastfeeding courses today!
Why is My Breast Milk Green?
1. Your baby has been sick
If your baby has been sick, it’s possible that the green breast milk is because your body is producing antibodies. Many mothers claim their breast milk changes when their baby is sick, though this hasn’t been studied extensively to show a correlation or not.
2. You have been sick
Just like if your baby has been sick if you are sick, you might produce antibodies that could temporarily change the color of your breast milk. Some mothers report producing greenish breast milk when they are sick.
Some mothers report their breast milk being slightly green with mastitis.
3. You’ve recently started eating lots of green leafy vegetables
If you’ve started eating more green leafy vegetables than usual, it’s possible that the chlorophyll in these plants is causing your breast milk to change color. This is usually nothing to worry about and is perfectly safe for your baby.
LLLI says that it can come from spinach or even seaweed! So if you’ve been upping your leafy greens lately, it’s very likely that some of that might transfer to the color of your breast milk.
4. You’re taking certain medications or supplements
Certain medications, such as some antibiotics, can cause your breast milk to change color. If you notice a change in breast milk color when you’ve started something new, you can always reach out to your doctor for reassurance.
There are also supplements that may cause your breast milk to change colors, including to green.
5. You have duct ectasia.
This condition typically does not have any major symptoms and is usually diagnosed through a breast biopsy.
6. You’ve Consumed Green/Blue Food Dye
Now this one hasn’t really been proven through research that I’ve found, but most sources on the inter-webs claim that food dyes can change the color of your breast milk. So if you’ve been drinking a lot of blue Gatorade, that might be the culprit!
If you just gave birth to your baby and are still producing colostrum, sometimes you may notice it’s slightly green. This is typically considered a normal variation for the color of colostrum.
Is Green Breast Milk OK?
In most situations, yes, green breast milk is fine, especially if it’s just lightly tinged green. If it looks like it is green due to mildew or mold, or there is any concern that it may have gone bad (such as, it smells rancid), you should discard it.
What affects the color of breast milk:
Breast milk is typically a creamy white or yellow color, but the shade can vary from mother to mother. Depending on a woman’s diet, supplements, and illness, her milk can range from white to orange-ish yellow – and even green, as discussed above.
Some mothers will also have greenish-tinged milk due to certain foods that they may have eaten.
The color of breast milk is affected by various factors such as the stage of lactation and maternal diet, so no two women will have the same color of milk. Generally speaking, a normal color for breast milk would be a creamy or yellow shade that isn’t too light or too dark.
While most of the time green breast milk is nothing to worry about, it’s always a good idea to speak to your doctor or lactation consultant if you have any concerns. Chances are, it’s just a variation of normal!
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Katie Clark is an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC). She has helped thousands of mothers and families around the globe navigate breastfeeding challenges and questions since 2015. She has a passion for creating research-based, helpful breastfeeding education and helping parents find a way to make breastfeeding work for them. Katie is a mom of three little boys and lives in the great state of Colorado. She also has a degree in Communications with an emphasis in print journalism.