Colostrum benefits make it highly imperative that you breastfeed your baby after birth even if you tend to switch to breast milk substitutes at a later stage.
Colostrum is a yellowish and thick substance produced in the mother’s milk glands during the second trimester of pregnancy. 2-3 days after your baby is born, it is replaced by normal breast milk.
Colostrum benefits are numerous and they cover multiple aspects of your baby’s bodily and cognitive development and growth:
- Colostrum protects your newborn against infections and allergies. Its high concentration of antibodies strengthens the baby’s delicate lining of the respiratory and digestion systems. At such an early stage, the baby is not yet able to produce these antibodies on her own.
- It provides a preliminary defense against diseases. Colostrum is rich in macrophages and various white blood cells designed to kill harmful bacteria.
- Anti-inflammatory: Colostrum contains lactoferrin (lactotransferrin) – an anti-inflammatory protein which binds to free iron in the digestive system and weakens bacteria.
- It is rich in vitamin A which assists the body in fighting infections and intestinal diseases.
- Its laxative effect helps the body get rid of meconium (baby’s first stool).
- Colostrum increases the concentration of probiotics in the baby’s intestines and so prevents digestive disorders later in life.
- It helps maintain body temperature thanks to its high caloric value that gives the baby the energy needed to keep her body warm.
- Finally one of the most important colostrum benefits is related to cognitive development thanks to high concentration of unsaturated fatty acids (DHA and ARA). Theses acids are vital for brain growth in the baby’s early stages of life. They are abundant in breast milk and are not included in most infant formulas.
Using colostrum powder
If you don’t want to breastfeed and still want your baby to enjoy the benefits mentioned above, you should consider using colostrum powder. There are many products in the market. I strongly recommend consulting your pharmacist or your pediatrician before deciding on a specific product.