If you are a first time mom I am sure there are lots of things going through your mind, but if you are an expat mom like me things get even more complicated.
There are so many things I had to do all alone before my baby came, that I didn’t have time to do research about a lot of things, one of them was Colostrum.
During my second pregnancy I made it a point to read up on the same and here is what I finally found out.
As adults the milk that we drink is pretty consistent in appearance, taste, and nutrition. But breast milk is different, it changes in the days following your child’s birth. During pregnancy and when we begin breastfeeding, women’s bodies produce colostrum. After few days the milk comes in and changes to more mature breast milk.
So what is Colostrum?
Colostrum is an early form of breast milk that the body produces during pregnancy and for at least few days following childbirth.
It’s an incredibly nutritious, protective and healthy form of breast milk that is very important in baby’s first days
So what does it look like?
Being a first time mom you may get confused, so this is what I observed: Compared to breast milk, Colostrum is usually stickier, thicker and more yellow in color. It is lower in volume and has a slower flow than breast milk. You may not usually feel like your breasts are full until the regular breast milk comes in.
But why is it so important?
One big question that led me to do so much research was to understand the importance of Colostrum.
In the days immediately following birth, new-borns need the protective effects of colostrum more than they need nutrition from breast milk. Colostrum is easier to breastfeed and digest for new-borns, plus it has a natural laxative effect which is good for their health.
Essentially, colostrum is breast milk with training wheels.
Colostrum also contains the following:
Antibodies: protect the baby from germs and boosts his immune system.
Leukocytes: white cells that fight bacteria and viruses
Lactobacillus: a type of bacteria that helps protect the intestine
Nutrition: colostrum has more immunization properties than nutritious properties, but it’s healthy, too. It is low in fat and sugar and high in carbohydrates and protein.
How can babies get the most benefits?
Now comes the big question, something I learnt after my first pregnancy, in the first few days following your baby’s birth you should try to breastfeed eight to twelve times every 24 hours (or more if possible). This prevents engorgement and helps in maintaining the supply of milk, while making sure your baby is getting all the protective benefits of Colostrum.
But what if you are like me and for some reason you are not able to breastfeed? I would say, try and talk to some professional. There are lactation specialist also present in the hospital.
I know there are lots of benefits to breastfeeding, but having said that: Remember it’s your decision to breastfeed or bottle feed! Never feel judged, it’s your body and your decision.