LivingOrange or brown breast milk? It's the rusty pipe...

Orange or brown breast milk? It's the rusty pipe syndrome.

It can be alarming to see that our milk has such a strange color, but there is usually no reason to be scared. What we should know is that the color of breast milk is not always white (or yellowish as we see it) but sometimes it can take on other shades, without this being anything bad.

Rusty pipe syndrome, brown colostrum, or rusty-pipe syndrome is a benign condition of breastfeeding in which the color of breast milk turns orange, brown, or rust-colored. It usually occurs in both breasts, is not painful and mainly affects mothers giving birth for the first time, either during the days before delivery or during the first days of breastfeeding.

As published by the Journal of Pediatrics of Primary Care that includes a real case, it is something very rare and it is recommended not to stop breastfeeding , as it is very unlikely that it will affect the baby. Occasionally, it can cause irritation or vomiting, and in this case, temporary substitution of breastfeeding should be considered.

What is this color due to?

This color change is due to the milk mixing with blood that seeps from fragile blood vessels that have grown and developed around the glandular tissue. In the days before childbirth, the supply of blood to the breast increases a lot. This can cause small capillaries to break and when mixed with the milk it takes on a brown appearance .

The milk can also be stained pink or red when there are cracks in the nipple, in cases of mastitis or internal injuries of the ducts due to the whitish liquid being stained with blood. Depending on the amount of blood, the color will be more or less intense, even pink strands can be seen in the milk.

In these cases we may see the baby regurgitating blood or his poop being brown/blackish.

To do?

Usually nothing needs to be done as rusty pipe syndrome resolves itself without treatment within three to seven days. As milk production increases, the color normalizes.

We can see the appearance of the milk on the third day where it still maintains an orange color, and on the sixth day it is practically the normal color.

However, if after that time it does not improve, other problems such as cracks, mastitis, papillomas, unnoticed trauma or breast cancer must be ruled out.

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