By Cassie Morris
Breastfeeding mom Jo Johnson (@jojohnsonoverby) gained over 15 million views and 15,000 comments when she uploaded the footage to her account.
TikTok mom Jo claims that no one warned her that breastmilk could come in a “variety of colors.”
As she demonstrates in her video, sometimes her milk appears completely normal, and other times it has come out shockingly pink — something she had no idea was possible.
According to Amy Peterson, board-certified lactation consultant and Forbes Health Advisory Board Member, breast milk can come in a wide array of colors — such as shades of green, yellow, pink, and even black — for a wide array of reasons.
“Color variations of breast milk come from the mother’s diet, certain medications or herbs she ingests, or medical conditions or infections,” says Peterson.
Brightly pigmented foods, such as beets, could cause pink milk, but so can a medical issue.
“Breast milk can be pink from a small amount of blood in the milk, either from within the breast or from an injured nipple, or pink can be the sign of infection (Serratia Marcescens),” says Peterson.
Pink milk could also be a symptom of pregnancy, according to Peterson. “Becoming pregnant again sometimes causes ‘rusty pipe syndrome,’ where a bit of blood mixes in with milk due to increased vascularization during pregnancy. This is the first symptom of pregnancy for some moms.”
Jo states in the video that her blood-tinted milk is safe for her baby to drink — and Peterson agrees.
“Pink milk caused by small amounts of blood is considered safe for babies to consume. It takes only a tiny amount of blood to make breast milk pink, and most babies digest this easily. Larger amounts of blood in milk may cause a baby to regurgitate, in which case a mom might want to consider pumping to support milk supply until the milk returns to normal,” says Peterson.
However, it’s important to monitor the situation and visit your doctor if the symptoms persist.
“Bright red milk and/or pink milk along with symptoms of infection warrant a visit with a health care provider,” says Peterson. “Pink milk unrelated to diet, that doesn’t resolve in a few days, may also warrant a visit with a health care provider to rule out infection.”
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