Colostrum is the first food that your breasts make for your newborn. As it has innumerable benefits, it is also called liquid gold or superfood. Continue reading to know what is in colostrum and how it protects your baby in the initial days.
Last Updated: Oct 22, 2020 11:29 GMT
What is colostrum?
Colostrum is a thick, creamy, sticky, yellow fluid that is produced by a mother, immediately after the birth of a baby. It contains all the necessary components that a baby requires to face the new world. It is thicker than the mature breast milk and it is personalized to meet the baby’s specific needs.
Colostrum will be produced several days after the delivery until a mother’s milk volume increases. It is important that you start feeding within one hour to nourish your baby with this liquid gold. The sooner you start breastfeeding, you possess two benefits. First advantage is your baby will stimulate your breasts to produce more milk and second advantage is as you feed, your uterus contracts and this will in turn arrest the excessive bleeding after delivery.
What does Colostrum contain?
Colostrum is highly concentrated, enriched with protein and nutrient dense. It is low in fat and sugar and easy to digest. It is loaded with a lot of immune components that are necessary for the newborn to fight against infections. No formula can replace the constituents of the colostrum.
How much colostrum is needed?
You will produce colostrum for 2 to 5 days after the birth of your child. You may be able to produce 1 to 4 teaspoons of colostrum per day. This is enough for your little ones tiny stomach. After five days, “transitional milk” (thinner and white milk) will do the job which is a combination of colostrum and mature milk. Once you start producing the transitional milk, you will feel that your breasts are firm and full.
Benefits of Colostrum
Colostrum has countless health benefits as follows.
1. Builds Immunity: Nearly two thirds of the cells in the colostrum are white blood cells. These white blood cells help guard against the pathogens. The antibodies produced by the white blood cells help neutralize the viruses and bacteria. While babies have immature guts, these antibodies are effective to fight against diarrhea and tummy upsets.
2. Prevents neonatal jaundice: Colostrum acts as a laxative and helps your baby to pass the first bowel movement (poo) called meconium. Colostrum also helps in flushing out the excess bilirubin through poo, thereby aiding in preventing neonatal jaundice.
3. Gut Function: Colostrum contains a secretory antibody called sIgA (secretory immunoglobulin A). This antibody lines the gastrointestinal tract. This sIgA gets concentrated in the mucus lining of the baby’s gut and respiratory system, protecting your baby against illnesses. The growth of protective mucus membranes in the little ones intestines is stimulated by the immune components and growth factors in the colostrum. The prebiotics in the colostrum aid in the growth of good bacteria in your baby’s gut.
4. Organ development: Colostrum is rich in vitamins and carotenoids. Vitamin A is necessary for a baby’s vision and also essential for maintaining your baby’s skin healthy. Baby’s heart and bones are strengthened by minerals like magnesium in the colostrum. Colostrum contains four times more zinc than the mature milk and this zinc is essential for your little ones rapidly developing brain. The cholesterol in colostrum is essential for the growth of the nervous system.
5. Other functions
· It is a well-established fact that preterm infants who intake colostrum had significantly better health outcomes.
· It helps to prevent low blood sugar in newborns.
· It is considered to have neuro protective effects that aids in preventing Alzheimer.
Colostrum provides the right blend of nutrients for the growth of your baby and it is the perfect food for your newborn.