Colostrum, which has also been called the “first milk," “liquid gold" or “immune milk" is a clear, sticky, thick liquid that is produced by a mother’s mammary glands after the first day of her baby’s birth.
Colostrum is rich in proteins, carbs, lipids (fat), and immune factors. The benefits of colostrum are enormous. Colostrum is produced in small quantities for the first four days and then replaced with a lighter, thinner liquid (mature breast milk) Your breasts might start producing colostrum during the last months of pregnancy, but it is also normal for them to start producing it the day your baby is born.
As soon as the placenta is delivered at birth, your body will start to produce larger amounts of colostrum, on between day 3 and 5 your milk becomes whiter and more abundant. Many mothers call this the "coming in" of milk. The gradual increase in milk gives your baby and your body time to adjust. By day 10 - 12 you will have achieved full production.
On day one, your baby's stomach capacity is about 5-7 ml or the size of a marble. This is why just a few tsp of colostrum is needed to satisfy a baby’s appetite. On day seven, your baby’s tummy is about the size of a ping-pong ball, by then your milk supply will be meeting your baby’s demands with mature milk. So, new mothers should not be worried about a low milk supply during the first few days. Breastfeed your baby as often as you can, so that your milk supply increases sufficiently.
- A newborn baby has a tiny stomach, which can only take small amounts, and colostrum is provided in small amounts.
- It is a concentrated (high in nutrients) liquid that is made especially for a baby’s needs.
- Colostrum encourages the occurrence of baby’s first bowel movement, clearing the digestive tract of meconium (first dark stool).
- Colostrum also contains many antibodies and growth factors. The growth factors support the development of a baby’s digestive system, and the antibodies promote the immune system.
- It contains immunoglobulin A, which is an antibody that protects the baby against infections of the throat, lungs, and intestines.
- It contains protective white cells, which help destroy disease-causing bacteria and viruses.
- A new scientific discovery is the presence of a substance called pancreatic secretory trpsin inhibitor (PSTI). This ingredient in breast milk is seven times higher in colostrum. It provides extra gut protection.
- Colostrum encourages the growth of good bacteria because of its ph level.
- It contains antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
- Protection of the gut lining.