Colostrum : The first yellow milk?
Why is it important to start breastfeeding ASAP?
What is Colostrum ?
Colostrum is the first thick discharge produced by the mammary glands. Its production starts during late pregnancy and continues during the early few days after delivery. Colostrum is thick, sticky and yellowish to orange in color. It gradually changes to mature milk over the first couple of weeks after delivery.
How does Colostrum help my baby ?
Colostrum is the reason why there is so much stress on starting breastfeeding as early as possible, since it is produced only for the first few days.
- Colostrum is produced by mammary glands during late pregnancy. This happens during the last trimester and the production usually starts just before delivery.
- Colostrum is very rich and concentrated in nutrients.
- It is low in fat and high in carbohydrates, protein and antibodies, which help in building immunity of the baby. It is in a way baby’s first immunisation provided by nature.
- It provodes antibodies against pathogenic bacteria and not the useful bacteria.
- Colostrum has a mild laxative effect, which helps in passing of the baby’s first stool, the meconium. Meconium is blackish-green in color and once it has been passed, the traditional stools start.
- It also clears excess bilirunbin. Excess bilirunbin is the cause of infant jaundice, thus colostrum also reduces chances of jaundice.
Read what is normal and what is not – green poop in babies
- Colostrum is also known to line baby’s intestines, thus protecting them from absorbing anything offensive that mother may have ingested.
Amount of colostrum produced is so little, is it enough for my baby ?
Colostrum is produced in very small quantities and a new mother often wonders if it is enough to feed her newborn. Many mothers panic and unfortunately resort to top-feed such as a formula.
However, mother nature has taken care of everything and we should trust how nature functions. A newborn baby’s stomach is very very tiny and hardly hold 5-7 ml of milk. The colostrum produced is enough for the baby.
As baby grows and tummy becomes bigger, your breasts gradually start producing transition milk, which is orangish but thinner, and then mature milk, which is white in color and thin and more in volume.
Feeding baby frequently will make sure, she gets all that she needs. If you try feeding too much at one time, baby will just spit it up.
Thus colostrum is necessary for babies and the mother, doctors as well as the family must ensure that breastfeeding the baby is started as soon as mother is well enough to do the same.