The Wonder Of Colostrum!

What Is Colostrum?

Colostrum is the first milk you produce in small amounts during late pregnancy and when your baby is firstborn. It is sticky in consistency and yellowish in colour. Essentially what it is- is a concentrated form of breastmilk packed full of immunological properties to protect your newborn from the sudden exposure to all of the germs in the big, wide world.

It is said that a mother may begin to produce this colostrum as early as 16-22 weeks pregnant and will continue until their milk comes in. This usually happens around day 2-3 post-birth.

How Much Colostrum Will I Produce?

On day 1, your baby is expected to receive anywhere from ½ – 2 tsp of colostrum during each feed. Your baby's stomach is tiny at birth and this is the perfect amount for them to get off to a great start. Colostrum is often described as ‘liquid gold’ as it contains antibodies, enzymes and is high in protein. All of which give your baby the best start in life. 

Another of its uses, according to Ina May’s Guide to Breastfeeding is to act as a laxative and help baby to pass meconium (baby’s first poo) and prepare their immature intestines for greater quantities of milk.

What If I'm Planning to Formula Feed?

Even if you are planning to use formula, in an ideal world you would initiate breastfeeding on day 1 to ensure your baby receives the incredible health benefits of colostrum. If this is not possible, or not something you are planning, then hand expressing colostrum into a syringe is an alternative. The midwives supporting you will be able to help with this so it is worth a mention when they offer some feeding support after birth. 

All in all, colostrum is amazing and cleverly designed to give your baby everything they need to thrive in the first few days whether you then choose to go on to breastfeed or formula feed later!