Throughout pregnancy and the first few days of breastfeeding, a mother’s breasts produce colostrum. Measured in teaspoons, rather than ounces, colostrum’s concentrated, nutrient-rich properties make it the perfect first food for newborns.
Colostrum is a living fluid, resembling blood in its composition. It contains over 60 components, 30 of which are exclusive to human milk. It is species-specific, designed for human babies (Neville and Neifert 1985).
Colostrum is high in carbohydrates, proteins, and disease-fighting antibodies to keep your newborn healthy. It has a mild laxative effect, helping baby pass meconium (the first stools) which aids in the excretion of excess bilirubin and helps prevent jaundice.
A baby’s stomach is very small at birth. The average colostrum intake by healthy babies increases from 2-10 mL per feeding in the first 24 hours to 30-60 mL (1-2 oz) per feed by the end of day 3 (ABM 2009).
Neville, M. and Neifert, M. Lactation, Physiology, Nutrition, and Breast-Feeding. New York, NY: Plenum Press, 1983.
ABM [Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine] Clinical Protocol #3: Hospital guidelines for the use of supplementary feedings in the healthy term breastfed neonate, revised 2009. Breastfeed Med. 2009;4(3):175-82.
When will my milk come in? • KellyMom.com. (2016, March 15). Retrieved June 19, 2017, from http://kellymom.com/ages/newborn/when-will-my-milk-come-in/
What is colostrum? How does it benefit my baby? (n.d.). Retrieved June 19, 2017, from http://www.lalecheleague.org/faq/colostrum.html
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