Intermountain Health logo
Set location
Get care nowMake an appointmentSign in

Intermountain Moms

Understanding Colostrum - the Baby Super Food

By Kasee Bailey

Apr 20, 2018

holding baby

Moms: give yourself a big pat on the back. You’re doing great.

Importance of Colostrum

Transition to motherhood (or continuing to grow your family) is no small task, and you’ve likely developed some feelings of apprehension about being able to take care of and provide for your baby. (We understand!)

Don’t worry. Believe it or not, your body is already clued in to the task ahead — after all, it’s had nine months of prep time — and is ready to take on the challenge.

By now, you’ve researched the virtues of mom’s milk, heralded as the perfect diet for your little one. But there’s more.

Upon delivering your little bundle of joy, your breasts first release colostrum (which you’ve actually been producing since mid-pregnancy), a rich, sticky, clear or yellow substance — which has earned it the rep of “liquid gold” — a precursor to your breastmilk. This protein-packed fluid truly is invaluable — as far as your baby’s nutrition is concerned.

Colostrum is often overlooked, but remains a vitally important substance for your infant. While colostrum can be produced by moms during their pregnancies, it’s not until after the delivery of the placenta that hormonal shifts in your body encourage lactation and release of colostrum, which allows baby to begin feeding immediately after birth. As your baby’s first food, it provides the nutrients and nourishment your baby needs. Better yet, this potent vitamin filled fluid is tailored to your baby uniquely.

The Power of Colostrum

Colostrum boasts an impressive resume of health benefits for baby. Here’s a sampling:

    ● Immunization: With powerful immune-boosting properties, colostrum contains antibodies and provides protection against environmental germs and internal inflammation (it helps to destroy those harmful microorganisms!) It contributes significantly to the healthy, long-term development of your baby.

    ● Gut Health: Colostrum is easy to digest and helps line the gut with a protective layer that safeguards against future infections and diseases. It also encourages the growth of good bacteria.

    ● Nutrient-Rich Nourishment: Forget kale or chia seeds — colostrum beats out popular superfoods when it comes to providing your infant with A-plus nutrition. It’s chock-full of proteins, antioxidants, and other key nutrients.

    ● Body Regulation: Colostrum helps your little one adjust to life on the outside the womb by regulating body temperature, blood sugar, metabolism, and lung and vascular functions.

    ● Natural Laxative: Colostrum helps rid your baby’s system of meconium — the black poop built up in the womb — which in turn, helps reduce jaundice.

    ● Aid to Premature Infants: For the little ones who make an early appearance, colostrum promotes healthy growth in preemies.

    ● Small Doses of Nourishment Customized to Baby: Colostrum comes in small, concentrated amounts, which is perfect for your growing infant. Don’t worry if the amount of colostrum you produce seems too small to be significant. Every drop counts — and the current size of your baby’s appetite is such that you’re producing exactly what they need to thrive.

    If you’re experience breastfeeding difficulties with your newborn, try hand-expressing the colostrum to give to your baby by a bottle or spoon.

So mamas, it’s time to give yourself a break. And a round of applause. Your body knows your baby.