Experts have long discussed the amazing qualities of breast milk. Not only does it offer babies the perfect blend of nutrition, but breast milk also contains antibodies that can boost your child’s immune system.
But there’s still some things about breast milk that continue to surprise us, including the fact that it can change colour.
Which is probably why an image of its amazing colour-changing propensities is currently going viral.
Taking to Facebook, British mother Jody Danielle Fisher 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.
“Nancy had her 1 year injections on Tuesday afternoon,” the mum wrote, before explaining that the one on the left, with “normal” coloured milk was from the day before she had them.
On the right, you can clearly see what she describes to be “blue”-coloured milk, taken just two days after the vaccinations.
The reason behind the sudden colour switch, Fisher says, offers yet another example of how amazing breast milk is.
“It’s blue from all the antibodies my body is producing, as it thinks she’s sick with what she was vaccinated against!” she explained.
“When she feeds, her saliva sends signals to my body to produce more milk with illness specific antibodies!”
According to the Daily Mail after her post started gaining attention, the mum edited her caption to say she was in no way shaming women who used formula and isn’t anti-vaccinations either.
“I formula fed my first and combination fed my second and third,’ she said.
“I was merely showing what women’s bodies can do when their children are poorly and this is one of the reasons I’m still breastfeeding at 13 months, as I’m often questioned as to why I’m still doing so.”
So what can cause women’s breast milk to change colour?
According to experts breast milk can actually change in a number of different ways, for many different reasons.
“It is well known that breast milk can change colour particularly with changes in mums diet,” explains Mr Ian Currie, consultant gynaecologist at BMI The Chiltern Hospital in Buckinghamshire.
It also changes with time. The first milk a mum produces can be sticky and yellow, known as colostrum, but then it can change to become thinner and more watery.
“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.
Mr Currie says changing coloured milk isn’t usually something to be concerned about but suggest mums look out for a pink tinge in their breast milk, which could be blood.
He suggests always seeking expert advice if mums do spot blood in their breast milk.
This isn’t the first time a mum has taken to social media to reveal that breast milk can change colour.
Back in 2017, mum Ashlee Chase shared a picture of two bags of breast milk. The bag at the top of the photo was white, while the other, below it, had a distinct yellow tinge.
Since her 7-year-old daughter Peyton had been home sick with a high fever and strep throat, Chase says she originally thought that she was sick, too.
But once she called her daughter’s doctor, she was told that the breast milk’s yellowish colour meant there was more fat and antibodies in the milk to help her youngest baby fight the infection.
And last year a mum went online to share an image of her bright red breast milk to warn other mothers about the early signs of the common breastfeeding condition mastitis.
Tanya Knox was expressing milk when she looked down and noticed the milk was not its usual milky white.
After investigating, Tanya noticed a blood clot the size of a 10p coin, which had changed the colour of her milk.
Though passing the clot did not hurt the Aussie mum she admits to feeling shocked by the sight of it, so she decided to share the pictures to The Milk Meg’s Facebook page to raise awareness of the causes of bloody breast milk and reassure other mums who might experience something similar.