What is colostrum?
Colostrum is the very first milk your breasts secrete during pregnancy. You probably won’t notice it until it starts to leak at the end of your pregnancy. Although colostrum is only produced in small amount, it’s a powerful source of antibodies and immunoglobulins, which helps guard the newborn against bacteria and viruses, as well as stimulating the expulsion of the tarry first stools called meconium.
What are the benefits of colostrum?
A newborn’s stomach is weak and vulnerable. Colostrum is perfect for the first feeds as it’s very easy to digest. Also, colostrum prepares the young digestive system for the mature milk that your breasts produce in the next days.
Colostrum is full of leukocytes (protective white blood cells) that fight bacterial and viral infections. Babies who are fed colostrum have a lower risk of developing pneumonia, fluand bronchitis, stomach and ear infections. After a while, the newborn will gradually producing antibodies on their own. In addition, colostrum helps the body get rid of bilirubin, thus reducing the risk of jaundice.
Colostrum also helps the baby’s gastrointestinal tract. It prevents foreign substances from penetrating and sensitizing a baby to foods that the mother has eaten before.
It is also believed that colostrum may reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s Disease and some infections. Colostrum contributes to improve physical performance and build lean body mass. Colostrum is most effective if used during a period of high-intensity training. Research suggests that colostrum can help people avoid getting a flu.
Does colostrum have side effects?
Until now, colostrum is considered to be safe and not have any side effect. However, long-term usage of colostrum may result in anxiety, logorrhea, and insomnia. All the sub-side effects will disappear after a few days
Will I run out of colostrum?
The colostrum will gradually turn into mature milk after the first couple weeks of birth. During the transition, the rate of antibodies decreases but the milk volume will increase. Fortunately, the disease-fighting function is still there. The more milk a baby receive from her mother, the higher level of immunological protection is.
Although manufacturers of infant formula have tried to replace and find alternative sources for colostrum, they cannot duplicate the same nutritional benefits exist in human breast milk. Therefore, try to breastfeed your baby if possible, at least for the first few weeks, so she can get all the goodness coming from your breast milk.
Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.
Review Date: October 16, 2017 | Last Modified: September 11, 2019