Colostrum, the whitest gold
Colostrum is a dense, creamy, yellowish liquid produced by the mother's breast before her milk comes in, which generally happens about three days after the birth. Rich in nutrients and highly valuable for increasing a newborn's immune defences, colostrum is entirely sufficient as the baby's first food until the "real milk" comes in.
Therefore, let's take a look at the characteristics and functions of this first food:
- At first, colostrum is a very pale colour, but later it takes on a deeper yellowish colour. However, as the days go by the milk becomes lighter until it comes out white, although it is not the colour of cow's milk; it is denser because it is richer in proteins and it is also more transparent because it is more oily and rich in fat to ensure the baby's proper mental and physical development during the first year.
- A mother can produce 7 to 120 millilitres of colostrum, as the mammary gland secretes colostrum regardless of the child's weight and nutritional requirements.
- Colostrum tastes the same as the amniotic fluid, giving the newborn baby a sense of security, as they were used to tasting it in the womb and there is a continuity between the baby's experience inside their mother and in the new life that awaits them. Here are some reasons why feeding your baby as soon as possible with this liquid is the best way to welcome them into the world.
- Colostrum consistently provides immunoglobulin A, an important protective factor that the body is not able to produce for itself until the third month of life. Its function is to protect the walls of the intestine and respiratory tract from attack by harmful microorganisms, and it also neutralises toxins.