Colostrum is the milk produced in a pregnant woman’s breasts up to 3-4 months before delivery. Babies only need a small amount of colostrum because it is rich in antibodies and immunoglobulins that help them fight illnesses from bacteria and viruses. Colostrum is also rich in vital nutrients that newborns need for the first days of life.
Another fasciniating part of Colostrum is it contains two growth factors, which help a baby grow and repair their skeletal system.
One thing that new moms are often surprised by, is how colostrum looks and feels. It ranges from clear, to dark yellow, and can be very thick and sticky.
Photo Credit: Jennifer Miller
It is very low in fat and high in carbohydrates and protein, in addition to the immunity building components. Oftentimes moms worry that they are not feeding their baby enough, but a newborn's stomach is only the size of a cherry!
Photo Courtesy of: Babiesfirstlactation.com
About 3-5 days after delivery, a woman’s colostrum changes to mature milk, which increases in volume but decreases in the concentration of antibodies. Look at the difference in color between colostrum and mature milk:
Photo Credit: Camille Sison Lactation
Humans are amazing! Babies are born with an instinct to suckle. When a woman’s breast is suckled immediately after delivery, it causes her uterus to contract, which decreases the risk for excessive uterine bleeding! So, breastfeeding is not only incredible for baby…it can also be life-saving for mom!
New Mother's Guide to Breastfeeding, 2nd Edition (Copyright © 2011 American Academy of Pediatrics)