Colostrum is the first milk you make for your baby and it is incredibly beneficial for your baby. You may not have heard much about this ‘liquid gold’ during your pregnancy, but it’s pretty amazing stuff. Your baby will benefit from receiving colostrum, so if you’re struggling with breastfeeding or feel like giving up, learning more about this amazing substance may give you the boost you need to keep going. Here are five amazing things you need to know about colostrum:
- You will produce it whether you breastfeed or not
Your body has been producing colostrum from as early as four months into the pregnancy. Whilst you’ve been busy growing your baby, your body has been busy preparing to nourish the baby after the birth. Some women leak colostrum from their nipples during pregnancy.
- It’s packed full of antibodies
Colostrum is high in antibodies, allowing your baby to receive some extra immunity from you after the birth. It’s also high in protein, making it a great source of nutrition for your newborn baby. Colostrum is lower in fats and sugars than breast milk, making it easier to digest. Newborn babies don’t need as many fats or sugars in their diet during the first few days of life, so colostrum is perfectly tailored to your baby’s needs.
- You might not know it’s there
Your breasts won’t feel full until your milk comes in, at this point you’ll feel more like Pamela Anderson than a new mom. Until then, however, your breasts are still producing and storing colostrum for your baby. You breasts may not feel engorged yet, but they are still full of colostrum to nourish your baby.
- Your baby doesn’t need much
Your baby’s first feed may be as little as 2 ml of colostrum, but that’s plenty for his tiny tummy. By the end of day three, he may be having as much as 60 ml in one feed. Some mothers worry that they’re not producing enough milk for their babies, but don’t worry, you don’t need to produce much colostrum to be able to fill that little tummy. The more you feed during the early days, the better this will be for your milk supply when it does come in.
- It won’t be there for long
Just a few days after the birth you will start producing breast milk. The suckling action of your baby at the breast during colostrum feeds will help to prepare your breasts for breast milk production. Most women find their milk comes in around day two or three, but around a quarter of women find it takes longer. You’ll probably know when your milk comes in, not least because the postman won’t know where to look when you answer the door. Your breasts may feel swollen, tender, engorged and tingly. You may leak milk between feeds as your body produces an excess of milk. You may also find that you feel particularly emotional around the time your milk comes in, many mothers report feeling ‘weepy’ (huge understatement).
Has your milk come in yet?
Written by Fiona (@Fiona_Peacock), mother, writer and lover of all things baby related.
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a trained medical doctor. Health & Parenting Ltd disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information, which is provided to you on a general information basis only and not as a substitute for personalized medical advice. All contents copyright © Health & Parenting Ltd 2016. All rights reserved.