lifestyle

Mums are discovering why their breast milk changes colour – and it's blowing their minds


A mum on TikTok noticed that her breast milk sometimes changes from yellow in colour to pure white and claimed the reason why is all to do with her daughter’s health

A selection of four bags of frozen breastmilk that are all different colours. One is the normal colour of milk, one is creamy, one is very yellow, and the last one is partially transparent.
The mum said the different colours represent different stages of her baby’s health

Any mum who has pumped her breast milk will likely have seen some change in the milk’s colouration over time, with some days appearing more yellow than others.

One mum on TikTok claims to have just discovered a reason for the change in colour – and she claims it’s all to do with how healthy your baby is.

Jessika Gancedo, @jessikabaileyg, shared a video showcasing four different bags of milk she had pumped, each of which was a different colour.

The mum then shared how she believed the changes in colour lined up perfectly with her daughter coming down with a cold.

She said in the clip: “I rarely pump, so I don’t get to see this often, but this is normally what breast milk looks like in colour. It’s white, it’s nothing out of the ordinary.”

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Moving onto the next two bags, which were slightly yellow in colour, she then added: “This is what it looks like when my daughter begins to get sick so it’s a little bit yellow but not anything crazy.

“This is when she is sick, it’s very yellow, see all that goodness.”

It’s thought that the yellow colouring in breast milk means the mum is producing extra fat and antibodies in response to her daughter’s illness to try and help speed up the baby’s recovery.

But Jessika’s final bag of milk is what really surprised her – as it was very pale and almost transparent in colour.







She produced yellow breastmilk when her daughter was sick
(

Image:

@jessikabaileyg/TikTok)







The whiter milk had a higher water content
(

Image:

@jessikabaileyg/TikTok)

She explained: “This is what really threw me today.

“Me and my fiancé went on a date, and I was gone from her for four hours.

“My body made milk with a bunch of water because it assumed that my daughter was dehydrated from not eating for four hours.

“Look how weird that is – how much our bodies acclimate to what our babies need.”

Jessika’s claims have not been widely studied by researchers, but can be supported by one study carried out in Israel in 2012, when 30 mums whose babies were hospitalised with a fever were tested against a control group of healthy mums.

The results suggested levels of an infection-fighting substance named tumour necrosis factor alpha (TNFα) were higher in the milk produced by the mums of sick infants.

Part of the study read: “During active infection in nursing infants, the total number of white blood cells, specifically the number of macrophages, and TNFα levels increase in their mothers’ breast milk.

“These results may support the dynamic nature of the immune defence provided by breastfeeding sick infants.”

But Dr Shazia Malik, Consultant Obstetrician and Gynaecologist at The Portland Hospital for Women and Children, explained to Good Housekeeping in 2016 that while breast milk can change when your baby is sick, your body isn’t actually able to recognise that your child is ill.

Instead, it’s the change in feeding pattern that makes your breastmilk look different, as a sick baby will either feed more or less than usual.

Dr Malik said: “The beauty of breast milk is that it adapts to the child. So it’s not surprising that if a child is ill, it reads the difference and changes accordingly.

“The first milk comes out thinner and bluer in colour because it has more water compared to protein, whereas the creamy yellow milk is thicker because it has more protein and antibodies.

“Breast milk doesn’t recognise if a baby is ill, but it will recognise how often the baby feeds. The milk will adapt according to that, for example, if a baby has a growth spurt, the mother’s body will recognise its needs are changing.”

However, your baby being sick is far from the only reason your breast milk might change colour.

Breast milk can also take on a slightly yellow tinge after freezing and can even have different hues depending on your diet – especially if you eat foods that are orange or yellow in colour, such as carrots or sweet potatoes.

Jessika’s video has been viewed more than 3.6 million times – and some commenters were blown away by her claims.

One person commented: “This is actually really cool, I didn’t think that would happen.”

While another said: “I can’t believe our physical body knows when our children are sick.”

And a third wrote: “Woah that’s crazy! I never knew that was possible. Thank you for sharing.”

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