The best thing your can do for the health of your newborn is to breastfeed him or her.
Colostrum is the “first milk” that a breastfeeding mother produces in the weeks before delivery and in the early days of breastfeeding. It is like liquid gold! This special milk is low in fat, and high in carbohydrates, protein, and antibodies and is extremely easy to digest. Although the amount of colostrum is low, it is high in concentrated nutrition. It is the perfect first food for your newborn baby.
If you worry that you have no milk yet, remember that a little bit of colostrum goes a long way. Put your baby to breast often for him to “sip” on colostrum. This helps bring in your “second milk," the mature milk, sooner.
FYI - Feed your newborn every 2 - 3 hours around the clock to ensure he/she is off to a good start.
Did you know?
- Colostrum has a laxative effect on your baby, helping him pass meconium which aids in the first bowel movements and helps prevent jaundice.
- Colostrum is often called “white blood” because it provides large amounts of living cells (lymphocytes and macrophages, similar to those in blood) which will defend your baby against infections and illnesses. A study found colostrum to be 3 times more effective than a flu shot!
- Colostrum has an especially important role in protecting your baby's gastrointestinal tract. A newborn's intestines are very permeable (leaky). Colostrum seals the holes by “painting” the gastrointestinal tract with a barrier which prevents most foreign proteins (from food the mother has eaten or from formula) from penetrating the gut and possibly sensitizing your baby to an allergy.
- Colostrum is considered your baby’s first immunization because it contains large quantities of an antibody called secretory immunoglobulin A (sIgA).
- As breastmilk changes from colostrum to mature milk, the concentration of immune factors and antibodies decreases, but the volume of breastmilk greatly increases. Therefore, the amount of infection fighters your baby receives remains fairly constant throughout breastfeeding.
Colostrum is proving to have neuro-protective effects which may prevent Alzheimer’s. *Douraghi-Zadeh et al: The protective effects of the nutraceutical, colostrinin, against Alzheimer’s disease, is mediated via prevention of apoptosis in human neurons induced by aggregated betaamyloid. J Nutr Health Aging 2009 Jun;13(6):522-7
To help your baby get the full benefit from colostrum:
Make sure the first several feedings are colostrum. If supplementation becomes necessary for a medical concern, try expressing some of your own colostrum. You can express some colostrum by hand or use a breast pump and feed it to your baby by spoon or syringe. Ask your lactation consultant for assistance. Make sure the babies gut is first protected by colostrum before other fluids are given.
Breastfeeding is not always easy and millions of moms struggle with it. It will take time for you and your baby to get a hang of it. Ask for help if you're struggling. Here are some blog to help you.
- Need Breastfeeding Reassurance? Here are the BEST Breastfeeding videos to help you get it right!
- Worried your baby is not getting enough? Check out How Much Can A Newborn Really Drink?
- Breastfeeding Mom's Survival Guide for the First Two Weeks
- How To Know If Your Baby Is Getting Enough To Eat
If you are struggling or in a lot of pain.
See a lactation specialist ASAP or get some sort of breastfeeding support.
QUESTIONS: Will your try breastfeeding or will your supplement with formula once your baby is born? Why? If you're an experienced mom, what did you choose to do with your little one? I would love to hear your thoughts so please leave a comment in the comment box below.
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Published with permission by Lactation Education Resources www.LactationTraining.com: May 2014 issue