A new mother produces colostrum starting during her pregnancy and for a few days following the birth of her baby. Colostrum is a nutrient rich fluid that is easy to digest and provides the perfect food for a newborn. In addition to being the perfect food, the colostrum also provides vital health benefits.
Colostrum can be thought of as Mother Nature’s vaccine; being rich in immunoglobulins it will provide protection from viruses and infections
High amounts of sodium, potassium, chloride and cholesterol are believed to be important in the development of the infant’s heart, brain and central nervous system
Colostrum also contains high concentrations of leukocytes, which are protective white cells that can destroy disease-causing bacteria and viruses
Of special importance is the action that colostrum takes on the walls of the infant’s GI tract, which is still very permeable after birth. The colostrum coats the GI tract sealing the permeability and thus preventing foreign substances from entering and causing illness
Research indicates that premature babies fed formula tend to vomit more and continue tube feeding longer than those fed human colostrum and breast milk
Colostrum is highly concentrated with absolutely essential nutrients; such as protein, antioxidants, carbohydrates, and antibodies
Concentrated levels of immune factors and growth factors promote infants growth and development (higher levels than found in breast milk)
Infants who receive colostrum in the first few days after birth tend to be healthier babies and healthier adults
Being easy to digest and slightly laxative it will encourage the infant to pass initial stools, which aids in the excretion of excess bilirubin and helps prevent jaundice
Interestingly, breastfed babies tend to develop with higher IQ’s than formula fed babies, although it is presently unclear how much that has to do with colostrum, and how much to do with breast milk
Colostrum contains large numbers of antibodies called “secretory immunoglobulin” (IgA) that help protect the mucous membranes in the throat, lungs, and intestines of the infant
Gives babies ‘passive’ immunity until their own immune systems develop, meaning immunity from the mother, through the antibodies contained in the colostrum and breast milk
Premature babies tend to fare better on human colostrum than commercial infant formulas
Colostrum contains over 60 components and we are still learning about all of the ways in which it is essential to newborns.
To learn about many other health benefits of colostrum you may enjoy my in depth article entitled ‘Colostrum – Mother Nature’s Ultimate Super Food’.