Pregnant Lucy Mecklenburgh reveals her breast milk is bright orange, but what causes this?

Lucy Meckleburgh has revealed she has been producing bright orange breast milk during her pregnancy [Photo: Getty]
Lucy Meckleburgh has revealed she has been producing bright orange breast milk during her pregnancy [Photo: Getty]

Pregnant Lucy Mecklenburgh has revealed her surprise at finding out she has “bright orange” breast milk.

The reality TV star, 28, who is expecting her first child with her fiancé, Ryan Thomas, 35, has been discussing some of the more unusual side effects of pregnancy on Instagram.

Lucy, who announced her pregnancy in August, is thought to be in her second trimester.

The mum-to-be revealed on Instagram stories that she has been experiencing some pregnancy symptoms, including back pain, which she wasn’t expecting until the third trimester.

The fitness entrepreneur also said she has already been producing orange colostrum - the first breast milk a mother produces - during her pregnancy.

“Helppp Pregnancy back pain. is there anything I can do to ease it? I expected this in the 3rd tri but not yet,” she wrote on her stories.

“I'm experiencing a lot of things a lot earlier than expected!!! Bright orange Colostrum was another treat.”

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According to Rachel Fitz-Desorgher, baby expert at The Baby Show and author of Your Baby Skin to Skin, a woman will start to produce colostrum from around 16 weeks of pregnancy.

“Colostrum is our first milk and is highly specialised to be the perfect first food for your baby,” she explains.

“It has high levels of antibodies to fight infection, and exactly the right amounts of vitamins, minerals, proteins, carbohydrates and fats for your newborn. It is very easy to digest and also helps the bowel to empty the first sticky poo called meconium.”

While it is typically yellow in colour, the colour of colostrum can vary from woman to woman.

My Expert Midwife co-founder and midwife, Lesley Gilchrist explains: “Before women experience breastfeeding, it’s normal to expect that human milk would be a creamy white colour, as those are the milk products we have been used to seeing.

“But different women produce different colostrum as it is tailored to their own baby's needs. These differences can mean varying colours ranging from clear, white, cream, yellow or orange and all are normal.”

Fitz-Desorgher says the deep orange-yellow colour Mecklenburgh noticed could be due to the high levels of beta-carotene in it.

It is normal for colostrum to leak during pregnancy, as the woman’s body prepares to feed her baby.

“It can happen from before 20 weeks of pregnancy,” Gilchrest explains. “And is individual to each pregnant woman and often controlled by hormone production.

“In fact, women are now encouraged to hand express colostrum from 36/37 weeks in pregnancy, as this can be collected, stored in the freezer and given to your baby after the birth.

“This is especially helpful for mothers who may have difficulties establishing breastfeeding in the early days or for babies who have problems at birth and need to maintain their blood sugar levels.”

Just as it is perfectly normal for women’s breast milk to differ in colour, it is also typical for there to be variants in colour during the breastfeeding process.

Earlier this year an image illustrating the amazing colour-changing propensities of breast milk went viral after being shared on Facebook.

A British mother shared side-by-side photos of two bottles of breast milk, that had been pumped three days apart.

One of the bottles was a regular colour and the other, taken three days later, had a blue tinge.

The mum, from Birmingham, attributed the changing colour to the fact that her daughter had been given her injections in between.

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Colostrum, first breast milk, can leak during pregnancy [Photo: Getty]
Colostrum, first breast milk, can leak during pregnancy [Photo: Getty]

According to experts breast milk can actually change in a number of different ways, for many different reasons.

“The colour and consistency of breast milk will change on a daily and even hourly basis depending on many factors,” explains Liz Halliday, Deputy Head of Midwifery at Private Midwives.

“This includes the age of your baby, how long it has been since you least fed or pumped, what point in a feed or pump you are at, whether you or your baby has been exposed to a bacterial or viral infection, and what you have eaten or drunk,” she adds.

Halliday says carrots, beetroot and spinach tend to tint the milk orange, pink or green respectively.

Interestingly the weather can also have an impact on the colour of breast milk.

“Mothers tend to produce more watery milk in hot weather which helps to keep baby hydrated,” Halliday explains.

“What is important is that the colour or consistency doesn’t matter. Your body will simply produce what you baby needs right now and your milk will constantly change based on those needs,” she adds.

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