Let’s talk about colostrum, yup I said it, colostrum. Colostrum is what the first kind of milk a mother produces is called… and it IS milk! Colostrum comes out slowly, in small amounts and is often times thick in consistency. Many moms think that colostrum has little benefit to her baby, but this is far, far from the truth! Colostrum is packed full of the important properties and protection that your baby needs in the first few hours and days of life. Although it may seem as though there is little of it, colostrum is PERFECT for your baby. Remember, your baby has just learned how to breath, she needs something that comes out slowly and in small amounts or she would choke. I encourage all moms to use your hands to express out a little bit of your colostrum. This is called hand expression, and it is an essential know-how for new moms. Hand expressing a small amount of colostrum before breastfeeding can help a baby latch, and expressing a small amount after breastfeeding can help sore nipples. To learn more about hand expression, along with demonstrations click below: http://newborns.stanford.edu/Breastfeeding/HandExpression.html
Your body produces colostrum the first few days after birth. Colostrum slowly transforms to transitional milk and then what we simply call milk at days 3-6 after birth. During the first day after birth your baby’s belly is only the size of a marble! This means her belly fills after just a half-teaspoon or maybe a teaspoon of colostrum at each feeding. On day two and day three your baby gradually takes more as her belly grows. During these days she may show signs of hunger more frequently, this does NOT mean you don’t have enough milk! On day 2 and day 3 most babies have periods of marathon and cluster feeding, especially at night. This means that she wants to breastfeed for an hour or two (or three!) at a time, or she wants to breastfeed for shorter durations every 45 minutes or every hour! This marathon and cluster feeding is a good thing, as it sets moms up for a good milk supply. However, just because it’s a good thing, doesn’t mean that it’s not challenging. During this period of time it is important for moms to take naps when your baby is sleeping… sleep when baby sleeps!
The benefits of breastmilk are well known and numerous! Although the benefits of colostrum are not popular knowledge, they are just as numerous! New studies have even shown that colostrum can be used as oral immune therapy to at risk infants!
Please be aware that this information provided is intended solely for general informational and educational purposes and is not intended to be substituted for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or medical provider for any questions you may have regarding your or your baby’s medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking it because of something you have received from this website or blog.
- Gephar, S., Weller, M., & (2014). Advances in Neonatal Care (Ed.), Colostrum as Oral Immune Therapy to Promote Neonatal Health, 14 (1). 44-51. doi: 10.1097/ANC.0000000000000052
- Lowdermilk, D, Perry, S., Casion, K., & Rhodes, K. (2012). Maternity and Women’s Health Care. (10thed.). St: Louis, MO: Elsevier Inc.
- Stanford School of Medicine. (2015). Hand Expression of Breastmilk. Retrieved from http://newborns.stanford.edu/Breastfeeding/HandExp ression.html
- Uruakpa, F, Ismond, M., & Akobundu, E. (2002). Nutrition Research (Ed.), Colostrum and Its Benefits: A Review, 22 (6). 755-767. Elsevier. Retrieved from Science Direct. doi:10.1016/S0271-5317(02)00373-1