Lactation consultants hate hearing the phrase, “My milk’s not in yet. I only have colostrum.” Why? Because colostrum is so important to your baby. There is nothing “only” about it! Here are just a few of its’ miraculous properties.
Colostrum is a natural laxative. It helps your baby expel all that meconium from her intestines—decreasing her risk of jaundice.
Colostrum is rich in special antibodies called immunoglobins. These immunoglobins protect your baby from viruses and bacteria. The colostrum coats the your baby’s stomach and intestines with a protective shield—some of these mighty antibodies actually attack and kill pathogens!
Your colostrum is unique. You give your baby antibodies that are specific for your environment and the exposure you’ve had to various viruses and bacteria. That is also true for mature milk.
Colostrum has 3 times the protein of mature milk which helps maintain blood sugar levels. The mineral content is much higher than mature milk as well. Mom’s who give birth prematurely produce colostrum longer—giving those fragile babies the advantages of super rich food for a longer period of time.
Beta-carotene is prevalent in colostrum along with other antioxidants. The beta-carotene is responsible for the yellow to orange tint of your first milk.
What if your baby has trouble getting started at the breast? No worries. You can express your colostrum and give it to your baby. Any amount is beneficial. Even a drop of this incredible first milk contributes to your baby’s health.
See also: Breastfeeding Myths: Colostrum
Written by Renee Beebe, M.Ed., IBCLC. Renee is a lactation consultant in private practice in Seattle, Washington. She is available for home/hospital visits and phone consultations. Renee can be reached at www.second9months.com