What is Colostrum?
Colostrum is the first to produce breast fluid. It is produced in a very small quantity. But it is as precious as a diamond due to the non-substitutable nourishment it gives. Colostrum is the first highly nutritious food for your baby before milk production starts in you.
When Colostrum is produced? How does it look?
A mother’s body produces colostrum long before the child is born. It is secreted sometimes as early as the beginning of the second trimester of pregnancy and continues at least till the initial 3-4 days after the baby’s birth. It is a thick, sticky, and yellowish fluid. If you happen to notice yellowish drops oozing out of your breast before delivery or find yellow stains over your bra, understand that your body has started the production of colostrum.
How much Colostrum does an infant need?
It is rightly mimicked as liquid gold for the greater benefits it gives to infants. It is essential that every infant must have colostrum in the initial days to develop better immunity and growth. However, we must remember that the stomach of your just-born would be the size of a cherry. A newborn baby requires 5 milliliters of colostrum per day which is just a teaspoon of Colostrum to fill the tiny tummy and enjoy its benefit!
Nutritional factors: Carbohydrates, proteins, fats, and vitamins.
Immune factor: The colostrum has many antibodies like IgG, IgA, IgM, and IgD, as immune cells like Lysozome, cytokine, and the protein lactoferrin for non-immune protection.
Growth factor: PDGF, EGF, IGF 1, VEGF, TGF alpha, and TGF beta which is basically natural proteins that help in cell growth and repair of damaged cells.
Benefits of Colostrum – The Liquid Gold
Antibacterial and Antiviral Characteristics
Colostrum contains a protein called “lactoferrin” which helps to bind iron, which in turn plays a major role in immune function. It also increases the antioxidant level which reduces the risk of many diseases.
Makes the baby high up!
It contains growth factors, the reason for which an increasing number of athletes take colostrum as a supplement.
It contains lots of immunoglobulins. There are five types of immunoglobulin overall out of which four types are present in Colostrum.
Colostrum also helps in digestion and acts against helicobacter pylorus which is a bacterium causing stomach ulcers. It also helps the baby’s digestive system to get rid of meconium which is the first baby poop that is built in the womb.
Feeding with Latching and Secretion issues
“Those first three days are so crucial time for establishing breastfeeding,” says Professor Hartman, a leading expert in the department of lactation at The University of Western Australia.
An important reflex called the sucking reflex develops as early as 32 weeks of pregnancy and is fully evolved by 36 weeks. It is the tendency of the baby to suck anything and everything which comes near his/her mouth. Rooting is another reflex that makes the baby search for the breast instinctually before latching. Most babies are born with these reflexes. Breastfeeding as early as possible helps to establish these reflexes and have a proper lactation period.
Some babies may have latching issues and some mommies may face difficulty in milk secretion. Eventually, those two scenarios would improve by feeding. However don’t stop feeding, because only feeding and sucking improves the situation.
However, there may be some situations when the mother is unable to feed the baby. “How can I feed my baby with colostrum?” is a question that bothers every first-time mother during those situations. These solutions will come in handy.
Yes. You heard it right. Expressing the milk and giving it to your baby is another way to let your little charm enjoy the advantages of colostrum and breast milk.
How to express it?
Expressing can be done in two periods:
Prenatal expression of colostrum is of great importance for babies birthed by mothers with gestational diabetics. Since this condition leads to a baby with low blood sugar. In those cases, Colostrum is of huge importance.
Do not express or stop expressing if you experience contraction. Avoid expressing colostrum before you reach 39 weeks.
Steps to express
- Express with 3 to 5 minutes in each breast for two sessions each.
- Use a sterile syringe to get the colostrum drops.
- Colostrum can be stored in syringes and zip lock covers.
- Never forget to label the colostrum.
- Colostrum can be stored for 3 months or 12 months in the deep freeze.
- Do not worry about thinking your colostrum will be exhausted if you express it prenatally. No matter how much you express, your body will still produce more colostrum till milk production starts. Amazing isn’t it it?
Post-natal expressing of colostrum can be done either manually or by pumping. Therefore now what is going to stop you from presenting the liquid gold for your charmer?
Colostrum is used as a supplement for various nervous problems and as an immune booster in the field of Ayurveda medicine for centuries. For more than 20 years, western medical research has produced several hundred studies that point to its usefulness as a food supplement. They have found out that it can optimize the health of both healthy and sick adults and children. The supplements are used more for wound healing and also provide beneficial effects for the skin.
These supplements are manufactured from bovine colostrum. These are available in the form of powder or capsule. Colostrum is safe even for people with lactose intolerance as it does not contain lactose. Generally, colostrum does not have any side effects but is always recommended to be taken under the prescription of the doctor. While borrowing colostrum from other mothers, ensure to check that they are free from transmittable diseases.
So mommies, Let’s start providing the best for our babies from day one by nourishing them with this little yet precious liquid gold.