Colostrum is considered a liquid gold for the newborn. A breastfeeding mother produces colostrum before delivery or during the early stages of pregnancy. Considered as the 'first milk', it is high in carbohydrates, protein as well as antibodies, and most importantly, it is easy to digest.
Even though the mother produces less amount of colostrum, the concentration of nutrition is quite high. Thus, making it perfect for newborns. If you worry about no milk, then it is important to remember that a small amount of colostrum goes a long way.
However, it is important to keep your baby to your breast so that he or she can keep sipping on colostrum. It will help in bringing the second milk or the mature milk quickly. Listed below are some of the things that you must know about colostrum.
Health benefits of colostrum
According to some of the researchers, there are hundreds of health benefits when it comes to bovine colostrum. Listed below are some of the common health benefits of colostrum.
- Increases breastfeeding- It has been found that babies consuming colostrum right after birth indulge in breastfeeding. As a result, their mothers end up producing more breast milk. According to a 2018 study, it has been found that early skin contact, as well as colostrum exposure, leads to encouraging breastfeeding, especially in preterm babies.
- Keeps failure to thrive away- Babies having low birth weight can benefit from the colostrum. Either the mother can feed the baby or can be given bovine colostrum since it has been found that it supports healthy weight gain in the baby and keeps failing to thrive away.
- Provides all the necessary nutrients- It is important to understand that colostrum is the only food, which is fed to the babies after birth. Bovine colostrum is filled with all the key nutrients that a newborn needs that too in a concentrated form. Besides, it also enough for filling the tiny stomach of a newborn.
- Keeps newborn healthy- Colostrum is filled with laxatives that help with easy bowel movement. Apart from that, it also removes bilirubin from babies, which prevents jaundice.
- Improves the immunity system- Colostrum consists of white blood since it provides living cells like lymphocytes as well as macrophages. These are beneficial for keeping the baby’s system healthy.
- Protect the intestines of the newborns- It is vital to understand that the intestines of infants are leaky. Feeding colostrum seals the homes present in the gastrointestinal tract and even provides a barrier. It prevents foreign proteins from penetrating the gut. Besides, it keeps the baby safe from food allergies.
- Provide immunization- Colostrum has a high amount of antibody known as secretory immunoglobulin A. It is considered the first immunization of newborns against infection.
Why is colostrum so important for babies?
Bovine colostrum is extremely beneficial for newborns since it is highly nutritious and comes with multiple benefits. Soon after the baby is born, the mother produces colostrum, which is important to be fed to the baby.
The reason behind this is colostrum only stays for four to five days post-labor. After that, the breastmilk changes to mature milk. Automatically, the concentration of the immune factors, as well as antibodies, decreases too. However, the volume of breastmilk increases.
Since the newborns cannot get artificial immunizations, it is vital to feed the colostrum. It works as a natural immunizer and protects the baby from any harmful bacteria or virus. Besides, many studies have found that colostrum is three times more effective than flu shots.
As already mentioned, the gastrointestinal tracts of newborns are quite permeable. However, bovine colostrum is one of the best solutions since it paints a barrier wall and even seals the holes on the intestinal walls.
As a result, your baby will be protected from any allergies. Even it protects foreign protein from entering into the baby. Thus, you can understand that colostrum is important for babies. Besides, colostrum does not contain milk and not even lactose. Hence, it is safe for babies as they can be lactose intolerant.
How much colostrum does a newborn need?
A mother produces colostrum during the initial phase of post-pregnancy. While your body learns to make more colostrum, your baby learns to feed. However, it is vital to understand that you must not expect plentiful immediately.
Normally, a newborn consumes a teaspoon full of colostrum in the first twenty-four hours. This is perfect for their small stomach. The reason behind this is the size of the baby's stomach is like a cherry on the first day.
Therefore, they will normally drink only five to seven milliliters of milk every time you feed them. But, it is vital to understand that the size of the stomach increases to the size of a walnut by the third day. As a result, they will need about 22-27ml of colostrum.
Make sure that the first few feedings are colostrum since it is vital for the babies. However, if your doctor asks you for supplementation due to any medical concern, it is best to express your colostrum. You can either breast pump and let your baby drink it using a spoon or a syringe. As a new mother, you can take help from your doctor regarding colostrum and how it is beneficial for the baby.