Is Colostrum Good For The Baby?

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There are so many things women are not aware of until they become mothers. This is because pregnancy can seem daunting for the most part, and more often than not, there isn’t anyone there to help with the specific issues that pregnant women may face. Colostrum is one such thing. If you have never heard of this, then you are not alone, we are here to help.

Colostrum or nipple discharge is a normal part of pregnancy. An expecting mother experiences this leakage by the end of the first trimester or the start of the second trimester. Some women also experience a discharge once they hear a baby cry. Colostrum is highly beneficial to newborn babies. In this article, we will discuss whether colostrum is good for your baby or not.

In this article:

What Is Colostrum?
What Does Colostrum Look Like?
Colostrum Benefits
How Long Does Colostrum Last After Childbirth?
What To Do When Colostrum In Leaking?
What If You Can’t Feed Colostrum To Your New-born?

All You Need to Know About Colostrum

What Is Colostrum?

When you are 3 or 4 months into the pregnancy, your breast starts preparing a milk-like fluid which is named colostrum. It is also called the first milk produced by your breast during pregnancy. It starts leaking by the end of the first trimester of pregnancy.

what is colostrum

What Does Colostrum Look Like?

The discharge of colostrum starts at the beginning of your pregnancy. At that time, colostrum will appear thick, creamy and yellowish in color. As time passes by and the date of delivery comes nearer, this same fluid will become white. A lot of women leak colostrum from the 1st week of the 2nd trimester and the discharge increases towards the end of the pregnancy, as your body gets ready for the birth of the baby.

Colostrum Benefits

Colostrum has numerous benefits for babies. Some of the benefits are as follows:

  • It is the first milk that should be fed to the baby after birth. It provides key nutrients in a very concentrated form and is enough for filling a newborn baby’s small stomach.
  • It has laxative effects that help in the first defecation in a baby and also prevents jaundice by expelling bilirubin from your baby’s body.
  • It is also referred to as ‘white blood’, as it provides large about of living cells like lymphocytes and macrophages which makes the baby’s immunity system strong.
  • An infant’s intestines are very leaky. Colostrum seals the holes in the gastrointestinal tract with a barrier that prevents most foreign proteins from penetrating the gut. This could either come from the mother’s milk or formula milk; As a result, your baby is safe from any food allergy.
  • It has a very high amount of the antibody called the secretory immunoglobulin A. Hence, it is considered to be your baby’s first immunization against infections.
  • It is also supposed to have neuroprotective effects which may help in preventing Alzheimer’s.
  • As colostrum is high in cholesterol, it helps in the growth of your baby’s nervous system.
  • It also helps in the overall growth and development of your baby by providing nutrients like zinc, calcium, Vitamins A, B6, B12 and K to your baby.

The above benefits details down the importance of colostrum for the healthy development of a baby.

How Long Does Colostrum Last After Childbirth?

Many women wonder for how long they will keep producing colostrum. The answer is that your breasts produce this essential nutrient for 3 to 4 days after childbirth. From the 5th day onwards, it is slowly replaced by breast-milk which will start to appear thinner and whiter and the volume will increase. In very rare cases, the mother’s milk takes longer than a week to come in.

What To Do When Colostrum In Leaking?

If you’re leaking colostrum, it’s probably less than a couple of drops. If the flow is more, then wear nursing pads inside your bra to catch the overflow.

What If You Can’t Feed Colostrum To Your New-born?

Well, you should be able to feed colostrum to your new-born unless she has been kept away from you, which could be due to innumerable reasons. Whatever the case could also be, speak to your doctor and share your attempt to feed your new-born. If the doctor deems it right, he/she will assist you to feed your baby right after birth. The doctor can also assist you with breastfeeding positions which will work out well in your scenario.

Therefore, to conclude, colostrum is a magic drug that is absolutely essential for your baby. It only has benefits and more than that, benefits that will last a lifetime for your kid. As a mother, you would want to offer the best to your baby. That being said, if any problem arises, always consult your doctor.

References:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16077241

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0271531702003731

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