When a baby is born, breastfeeding the baby immediately or as soon as possible is medically recommended. This not only improves the bond between mother and child but also helps the baby to receive vital nutrients for survival. Colostrum is one of the key components of breastmilk, for a new-born baby. It is the most vital thing that should be given to a baby as the composition of colostrum is enriched with antibodies, also referred to as the “foremilk”.
What is Colostrum?
The colostrum also referred to as nipple discharge during pregnancy, is a common feature of the pregnancy process. After 3 or 4 months of being pregnant, the breasts start the preparation of a thick, yellowish creamy-looking fluid with a sticky feel which progresses with pregnancy and becomes white by the delivery time. Let us go through some salient features of colostrum:
- Instead of giving more calories or fat content, the composition of colostrum boosts the immunity system of the baby.
- It has more lactoprotein and lactalbumin.
- Colostrum is enriched with antibodies and offers passive immunity to the new-born as well.
- It has natural sources that are required for the healthy development of the baby.
- The colostrum might come in smaller quantities, but the composition is power-packed with full nutrition.
- It is higher in protein content while lower in sugar and fat.
- Traces of beta-carotene can make it look golden yellow or orange in appearance.
- Blood from the milk ducts can easily pass through the colostrum.
- When mixed with blood, the colostrum can even change its appearance to red, pink, rust, or brown and few traces of blood are not a cause of worry.
- The breasts produce the colostrum for 4-5 days after the delivery of the baby.
- Post the 5th day the breast milk starts to replace the colostrum.
What are the Compositions of Colostrum?
Colostrum is no doubt beneficial for the growth, development, and immunity of the baby. But it is even important to know “what are the compositions of colostrum” which make it so important and effective. Let us have a look below:
- Colostrum is a powerhouse of vitamins, proteins, and less degree of lactose content, and colostrum is considered very good for the immunity of the baby.
- It has lactoferrin that is good for immunity as it has antiviral as well as antimicrobial properties.
- It also has factors especially the alpha and beta that help in growth.
- Insulin and many other growth factors that are vital for muscle as well as cartilage repair form a part.
- As it is enriched with antibodies, that can help in the prevention of all sorts of bacterial digestive infections.
- Colostrum is also said to have hormones. However, the effect on the body is still not proven.
- Dairy-free and free from lactose.
- The composition makes it a safe bet for lactose intolerant patients.
Benefits of Colostrum:`
The composition of colostrum has many health benefits that can not be overlooked, and they are given as under:
- It has all the vital ingredients in a strong concoction.
- Presence of all laxatives that aid in the first bowel movement and makes it a smooth process.
- Helps in the prevention of jaundice by eliminating the bilirubin from the body of the baby.
- It’s even known to have white blood cells, which help build the baby’s immunity system stronger.
- Has a great number of antibodies referred to as secretory immunoglobulin, which are even the first set of immunizations for the baby to be able to fight the infections.
- Has high cholesterol which aids in the growth of the nervous system of the baby.
- Since the intestines of an infant are leaky, there are chances of foreign proteins to penetrate through. But with colostrum, the holes present in the intestinal tract get sealed thus protecting the baby against all food allergies.
- Helps against the prevention of Alzheimer’s.
- Boosts the growth of the baby by offering several nutrients like calcium, vitamin, K, A, B6, B12, and zinc to your body.
- Enriched with growth factors that are needed by the new-borns for the growth and repair of bones, muscles, and cartilages.
What are the Side Effects?
As per the studies, there are very rare side effects of taking colostrums. It is generally considered safe, but it does have mild effects like:
As mentioned above, the colostrum is extremely important for the baby. Ensure your baby gets it and this precious liquid gold is not wasted. There have been times when this precious liquid has been discarded away under the assumption that it was dirty milk. Now with awareness, every mother knows the importance of colostrum.