There is a lot of confusion among mothers about colostrum, which is the rather different looking breast milk that comes out the first few days after childbirth.
Not at all like regular milk, colostrum is yellow, thicker and stickier than breast milk, and both tastes and smells different. But is it bad to squeeze colostrum out before your baby starts feeding properly?
In many societies, it was normal to pump out the first breast milk, i.e. colostrum, because it had a rather different look. New mothers used to get rid of colostrum before their babies would demand to be fed because they weren’t sure whether it was good for their child or not. Now, everyone is not so sure if that is the right thing to do.
Just how Good is Colostrum for a Newborn?
First of all, the supply of colostrum isn’t much, even for women who are blessed with ample production of breastmilk for their babies. However, the little amount of colostrum that is produced in the mother’s breasts are enough to completely fill a newborn’s stomach, which is no bigger than a marble.
The supply of colostrum is actually the right amount that is needed for the baby so there is no chance of an exclusively breastfed baby to overfeed.
A newborn is barely ready to greet the world, even after preparing itself for nine months in the womb. Colostrum helps in immunizing your newborn so that it is stronger to fight infections and other common illnesses.
How can Colostrum Help your Newborn to Adjust?
Colostrum is not only an extremely nutritious food for your baby, but also work as a kind of laxative.
For the first few days, babies pass a different kind of stool. This black and exceptionally smelly excreta is called meconium. Colostrum can help pass meconium quickly so that the baby can quickly adjust to regular feeding and bathroom roles.
Along with meconium, bilirubin is also passed when the baby gets colostrum. Bilirubin is, unfortunately, present in every newborn and is the main cause behind neonatal jaundice. If it passes quickly, it means that your newborn has less chance of being affected with severe jaundice.
Colostrum may be very little in amount, but it is extremely rich in protein.
The small amount of colostrum produced by the mother is enough to fill your newborn’s stomach and give them hours of uninterrupted sleep. The more a newborn sleeps, the quicker it is ready to start its new life. A well-rested baby grows better than a fussy baby, both physically and mentally.
What does Colostrum Contain?
There’s very few nutrition that is not present in Colostrum; it is not called “liquid gold” for nothing. Colostrum is rich in Vitamin A, Vitamin B6, Vitamin b12 and Vitamin K, which is important for your baby’s growth, even in the first few days. It is also full of good cholesterol, sugar, calcium and zinc.
The little Colostrum that mothers produce doesn’t only fill a newborn completely, but have enough nutrients to help a newborn baby get ready to face the world.
When is Colostrum Made?
In some women, production of Colostrum starts when they are pregnant, as early as the 16th week of pregnancy.
The baby needs this special breastmilk for only the first few days; after that, regular milk starts to come in and both the baby’s appetite and size of stomach increases.
After the first few days, the small amount of Colostrum is not going to be enough for the baby and it is going to need full feedings, either breastmilk or in absence of that - formula.
What Happens if the Baby Doesn’t get Colostrum?
There are some cases when the newborn baby doesn’t get this extremely nutritious milk, either because it is late in feeding or some complications in the mother.
It is not a big deal if that happens; the baby may miss out on some initial nutrients, but breastfeeding your newborn for the next would definitely ensure it receives all the nutrition you can give them.
So, to Answer the Question...
It is not a good idea to squeeze out Colostrum; rather, it is one of the best gifts a mother can give her child. The first milk is like nature’s way of vaccinating your baby against a number of diseases and conditions.
As a new mother, you shouldn’t ignore the importance of providing your newborn with the first milk your breasts are going to make, because the importance of Colostrum cannot be disregarded.
A new mother may only make a few teaspoon of Colostrum each day, but that little amount is full of more nutrition than anything you can give your child. Unfortunately, Colostrum doesn’t come naturally to all woman, but if you have the chance, it is very important that your child receives this amazing gift of nature.
What are your thoughts on this? Will you feed your child Colostrum, or are you still thinking about squeezing it out before regular breast milk comes in