Colostrum benefits are many, and have no artificial equivalent. When you begin breastfeeding your newborn you give her the healthiest start with colostrum - the "first" milk.
The benefit of colostrum - or beestings - is without comparison. For this reason it is aptly referred to as "liquid gold". Colostrum is custom formulated for newborns.
Colostrum can be defined as a thick yellowish substance that continues to secrete from a new mothers breasts for 2-5 days from the time her baby is born until regular mothers milk starts. It is made up mostly of serum and white blood cells. It is also called Beestings.
Photo courtesy of Enid H. W.
1 One benefit of colostrum is its very low fat and carbohydrate content. This makes it easier for a newborn baby to digest his meal.
2 This "first milk" is also richer in immunity factors than true breast milk. It has the perfect amount of protein and minerals (more protein actually than regular mothers milk), as well as many antibodies that will protect your baby's health until he has built up his own immune system.
3 Another benefit is its slightly laxative effect. This helps clear meconium (a greenish-black tarry substance which is an accumulation of cells, mucus, and bile).
Meconium collects in the babys bowels before birth and in passing it, your newborns intestines become ready for digestion.
The advantages are unmatched, and being educated about the benefit of colostrum to a newborn can make all the difference in providing the motivation to offer your child this beautiful "liquid gold".
I met a proud new mom one day in the mothers room at a public place. Her baby was two days old and the mom was warming a baby bottle.
After complimenting her on her sweet, beautiful creation I thoughtlessly asked her if she had bottled her colostrum to make it easier for the trip out (as an attachment parenting mama who knows the value of colostrum and loves to breast-feed, I for the moment forgot the alternative).
"No", she replied, "it's not even real milk anyway".
That experience emphasized to me the importance of doing research and getting all the facts.
Little did that new mom realize - colostrum was better for her two day old than "real milk".
It has been suggested by some professionals that even if you are not planning to breast-feed, consider allowing your precious bundle the benefit of colostrum for the first few days of life. Your baby's immune system will get a big boost in its firepower to live life on the outside.
Even during your third trimester it is normal for your nipples to start leaking colostrum during pregnancy, although it generally won't be much more than a drop or two. But if it's beyond your comfort level, breast pads work well (I like the washable 100% cotton pads because I went through a lot and these are most eco-friendly, absorbable and comfortable).
The overwhelming benefit of colostrum is unmatched. Colostrum or beestings provides a custom diet for a newborn and supplies the antibodies to fight illness until baby's own immune system kicks in. It also prepares the gut for proper digestion.
When you first start breastfeeding and your baby get's colostrum benefits - it really is the best welcome gift you could give your little one!