Colostrum and its benefits

Colostrum and its benefits

Colostrum and what you need to know about it

So by now everyone and their relative has been talking to you about colostrum and how important it is for your baby. Although it is a scary word, all it means is the first milk that you produce for your baby.

What is colostrum?

Colostrum is the first milk secreted by the mammary glands. Colostrum is also known as “liquid gold” because of the various health benefits it has. The breasts begin to produce the milk three-four months into the pregnancy. Most pregnant women realise the presence of this only if it leaks during the end of the pregnancy.

Not a lot of people know that back in the old days, before penicillin was discovered, conventional doctors used to use colostrum for its various antibiotic effects.

Lactogenesis or the Stage 1 of lactation, or when colostrum is first made, begins midway through your pregnancy. Your breasts might become larger and you may see spidery veins on the surface. Do not worry, this is absolutely normal.

The colostrum is not produced in very large quantities, but what it lacks in volume it more than makes up for in its utility. The Colostrum is full of antibodies and immunoglobulins, so feeding colostrum to your baby is like giving her, her first vaccination. This has various benefits for the newborn.

Let’s look at a few, for now.

Benefits of Colostrum:

  1. Colostrum is known to play a therapeutic role in beating cancer, AIDS, diabetes and a lot of autoimmune diseases as well.
  2. Colostrum also helps with rebuilding the immune system and destroying bacteria.
  3. It helps accelerate the healing of all body tissue.
  4. It is the perfect first feed as the baby can easily digest it
  5. Prepares the baby’s digestive system for the mature milk which she will receive soon
  6. High in leukocytes it helps the body fight bacterial and viral infections
  7. Helps expel bilirubin from the baby’s body thus preventing jaundice
  8. It is rich in minerals and and vitamins like calcium, zinc, Vitamin A, Vitamin B6, etc. which helps the baby’s overall growth and development.
  9. Colostrum has about three times more proteins than normal milk and helps with giving newborns the essential nutrition required.
  10. The perfect combination of cholesterol, sodium, potassium and the other essentials in colostrum is known to have helped optimum development of your newborn’s brain, heart and the central nervous system.

As your baby’s appetite increases, the colostrum is replaced with constant supply of mature breast milk. Do not worry if you see the colostrum thinning after a few days. Colostrum turns into normal mature milk within three to five days after birth. It is thus essential that you try and feed the baby in the initial hours post the baby’s birth. Express this desire to breastfeed to your gynaecologist and plan with him to ensure you do not face any hitches during the actual feeding time. If you do face issues at all with finding a comfortable position with the feeding, try and find a comfortable position.