Editor’s Note: This was originally published in August 2014 and has been reviewed & updated to provide you with the most current content. Fun fact – this was our most popular blog post of 2019!
The Milk Bank would like all of our donors to know that every drop of milk is seen as “liquid gold.” The milk that a woman shares is life saving and we are always grateful for every woman who has made the choice to donate their breast milk.
Often, though, we are asked if we can accept milk from approved donors whose milk may have some color and smell variation, the answer will always be YES!
Why is my milk a different color from one day to the next?
Breast milk does not always look the same because it changes constantly in its nutritional composition. Breast milk is naturally designed to meet the changing needs of development in the baby.
Any unusual color of a mother’s breast milk is due mostly to her diet. For example, food dyes in foods or drinks can alter the color of breast milk. It may be thin and watery looking, and may have a blue or yellow tint to it. It can even take on a hint of green if large amounts of green colored foods are consumed. The color of the milk is usually not anything to be concerned about.
What if my milk smells different?
This is common. Moms might be concerned that their breast milk may taste or smell unusual, A change in the taste and smell of stored breast milk can occur due to an enzyme called lipase (which naturally occurs in breast milk) breaking down fat into fatty acids. It may have a soapy or metallic taste, however, this is not harmful but some babies may dislike the taste and refuse the milk. This doesn’t happen to many mothers, but in those who have a high lipase activity.There isn’t anything wrong with the levels of lipase in your milk; it just breaks down those fats extra fast.
Does The Milk Bank even want milk affected by excess lipase?
Yes! When The Milk Bank receives a donation of milk it is pooled and mixed with several other donors’ milk and then pasteurized, therefore any unusual colors or smells disappear. Pasteurization also inactivates the lipase enzyme.
As long as your expressed breast milk is stored correctly, your breast milk is perfectly fine to donate!
If you have specific concerns about your milk, please contact us! We also offer free lactation support for donors and non-donors alike with in-person consultations as well as our private Baby Cafe Facebook group.
Since my relocation from the UK to the USA in 2008, I have worked tirelessly to create a career in the field I feel so passionately about. I graduated in 1997 from the University of Birmingham, Central England, with a Bachelors in Midwifery. My career as a Registered Midwife in the UK allowed me the honor of delivering and supporting moms in an incredible life event-birth. My passion for breastfeeding really began when I became a Mother.
The challenges I faced along the way taught me that all moms need good community breastfeeding support. Following my immigration to the United States, I became an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC). Since then I have been employed as a hospital based IBCLC and provided private home visits as a Lactation Consultant. I am happy to say I found my calling here at The Milk Bank.
Contact me at email@example.com or extension 104 to:
-Learn more about providing TMB programs and services at your facility
-Schedule professional education for your healthcare team
-Inquire about our lactation support program