This is the first milk you will produce in the first days following birth. It is different than the mature milk, thicker and more yellow, and it’s ideal for the needs of your newborn and their small tummy. Colostrum is easy to digest, packed full of goodness, and protects baby in many different ways.
Colostrum is considered the first immunisation for your baby, helping them stay healthy and supporting their development in many amazing ways. Did you know that two thirds of the cells in colostrum are infection-fighting white blood cells? It also contains a special antibody (sIgA) which lines baby’s gut and respiratory system, adding another level of protection from infection. The growth factors in colostrum help stimulate the growth of mucus membranes in your baby’s intestine, whilst the prebiotics feed the good bacteria in baby’s gut. Babies are usually born with low reserves of Vitamin A, so colostrum has lots of it, helping baby’s immune system, skin and vision.
Did you know colostrum has a similar make-up to amniotic fluid (the water around baby)? As baby has been swallowing amniotic fluid throughout the pregnancy, this composition of colostrum makes for an easier transition to life outside the womb. Our bodies are so clever!
Colostrum is rich in minerals, like zinc and magnesium, which support your baby’s growth and brain development. But the association between breastfeeding and brain growth doesn’t stop with colostrum. Research has shown that breastfeeding for 3 months increases baby’s brain growth by 20-30%. This doesn’t have to be exclusive, babies who had both breast milk and formula showed better brain development than babies on formula alone.
Breastfeeding is not the only way to boost your baby’s brain development, but is surely a great one!
Whilst colostrum is the best nourishment for your baby, breastfeeding is a new skill for both of you and it may take some time for you to feel confident with it. Information, support and patience are key for a positive breastfeeding experience. You can do this, mama, and we are here to help.