Milksta Blog

Colostrum Milk: Mom-Friendly Guide on the Benefits of the Liquid Gold

Newborn baby breastfeeding colostrum milk

So, you’re a few weeks away from giving birth and you hear your doctor mention colostrum milk. What exactly is it and why is there an emphasis on feeding it to your baby as soon as they pop out? When does your body produce it and how often?

Before I became a Certified Breastfeeding Specialist, colostrum used to be just another motherhood buzzword for me. I knew that my body would produce it and my baby needed it, but that’s basically all I knew.  After some careful studying, I soon gained a bigger understanding and appreciation for colostrum milk—something that I genuinely believe every momma should have. So, keep reading if you’re ready for another learning time, especially with your precious baby’s health in mind!  

What is colostrum milk?

Colostrum milk is essentially the first milk you produce for your baby. If you’ve just given birth and have started breastfeeding your baby, you will notice that your breast milk isn’t white or pale, but rather yellowish and somewhat sticky. Don’t be alarmed. That’s colostrum milk—also known as the liquid gold! Colostrum is considered the most nutritious breast milk. It’s also your baby’s first food, and it’s highly encouraged that you feed your baby all the colostrum your body produces.  [bctt tweet="Colostrum is considered the most nutritious #breastmilk. It’s also your baby’s first food, and it’s highly encouraged that you feed your baby all the #colostrum your body produces." username="getmilksta"]  

How long does colostrum last?

While the production of colostrum could begin as early as your 16th week of pregnancy, the release (or the colostrum phase) usually happens the moment you deliver your placenta until about 2 to 5 days postpartum.  Beyond this 5-day period, you can expect your breast milk to mature and adapt to your growing baby’s changing nutritional needs.  

What’s the difference between colostrum and mature breast milk? 

Colostrum is a baby’s superfood. It has been found to contain more protein and minerals than mature breast milk, but with less fat and carbohydrates. Mature milk is also produced while you’re feeding your baby, weeks after giving birth. It doesn’t have the golden color that you can see in colostrum milk and is, in fact, paler and whiter in color.  [bctt tweet="Colostrum is a baby’s #superfood. It has been found to contain more protein and minerals than mature breast milk, but with less fat and carbohydrates." username="getmilksta"] Now, if you’re like me when I was still a new mom breastfeeding, it might have been a surprise to learn that your breast milk actually changes over time. So, here’s a quick look at the different stages of breast milk:  
Breast Milk Stages What Science Says
Colostrum milk Released until 2 to 5 days after giving birth Yellowish in color
Transitional milk Usually produced at 5 days postpartum and lasts for approximately 2 weeks Contains more water, calories, fats, and lactose than colostrum
Mature milk The final milk that your body produces Contains 90% water and 10% protein, carbohydrates, vitamins, and fats Has two types: 1. Fore-milk - released at the beginning of breastfeeding; contains more water, vitamins, and protein 2. Hind-milk - released right after the fore-milk; has higher levels of fat to support your baby’s weight gain
  Colostrum milk and the other milk stages have different nutritional compositions, but they’re all meant to give what your baby needs at the time. And yes, our bodies and breast milk are that amazing!  

More colostrum & breast milk facts

Pumped colostrum milk in a cup   To help you further understand what colostrum is and what happens before, during, and after it starts to flow, here are some facts you’d be delighted to know:  
  • While colostrum is usually released after you give birth, some moms experience colostrum dripping from their breasts a few weeks before they deliver their baby. This is nothing to be alarmed about.
 
  • If you start leaking before you give birth, you might want to express or pump colostrum from your breasts. This can help you get used to your breast pump and save the dripping colostrum milk for your baby to consume later. This will also ensure that your baby will be able to get the colostrum they need, should there be latching issues during your first day of breastfeeding.
 
  • Take note that pumping colostrum can cause mild contractions that are similar to menstrual cramps. If you have a relatively healthy pregnancy and have not been placed in the high-risk basket of pregnancies, then go right ahead and pump colostrum from your dripping breasts. However, if you’re experiencing a difficult pregnancy, it’s better to just let the colostrum drip and to not tempt fate by pumping before giving birth. It’s also advisable to consult your doctor as soon as you notice colostrum on your nippies.
   
  • Transitional milk is what takes over after the colostrum phase of breastfeeding. This transitional period can last somewhere between 10 to 14 days and is when the last of your colostrum milk starts to mix with your mature breast milk.
 
  • The last phase of this transition is when your mature breast milk starts to flow. This particular breast milk carries all the nutrients your baby needs in this stage of their growth. This may be less sticky and is thinner in consistency than colostrum but is still chock-full of nutrients that your baby needs.
 

Best benefits of colostrum milk for babies

Newborn baby getting the colostrum benefits   You already know that colostrum milk is highly nutritious. How does this benefit your child? Here are some ways.   

1. It supports your baby’s growth and development

Colostrum is packed with nutrients naturally intended to support your newborn’s health. These include:
  • Vitamin A This is a vitamin that helps a child’s growth and can also help fight infections.
 
  • Vitamin B12 This supports brain development and helps with the production of healthy red blood cells.
 
  • Vitamin K One of the primary functions of this vitamin is to fight off the possibility of hemorrhagic diseases since it aids in clotting blood.
 
  • Protein This is a nutrient that’s crucial to the development and growth of your baby’s organs as well as muscles and bones.
      Colostrum also contains minerals such as magnesium, zinc, and copper. Magnesium helps support the bones and heart of your little one, while the other two are known to help in the development of your baby’s immune system. Zinc is also important in your child’s brain development.  

2. It helps fight off infections

Since colostrum has antimicrobial peptides and immunoglobulins, it is one of the first lines of defense that your newborn has. In short, it gives them a fighting chance against the possibility of infections. Colostrum also contains white blood cells, which help your baby start fighting off infections on their own.  

3. It builds your baby’s immune system

Another benefit your baby can get from colostrum is increased immunity. This is done with the help of immunoglobulins (a kind of antibodies) that line their lungs as well as their intestines.  Aside from this, colostrum also helps your baby’s intestines produce protective mucus membranes. It also helps feed the good bacteria in your baby’s gut, resulting in good digestion and nutrient absorption. [bctt tweet="#Colostrum helps your baby’s intestines produce protective mucus membranes." username="getmilksta"]  

4. It stops jaundice in its tracks

Jaundice, one of the most common disorders in newborn infants, happens when your baby has an abundance of bilirubin in their liver. Bilirubin is the byproduct of the breakdown of red blood cells, which is meant to be released by the body. If it isn’t released properly, then your baby will be at risk of having jaundice. Thankfully, your colostrum also works as a laxativehelping your baby poop more often during their first few days outside the womb. When you see blackish poop in your baby’s diapers, that is the colostrum doing its job of removing the bilirubin from your baby’s liver and preventing jaundice from happening.  

5. It helps soothe skin inflammations

If you thought that colostrum only benefits your baby’s internal systems, you’d be glad to know that it could also help in soothing skin issues like a cradle cap, diaper rash, eczema, chapped lips, and insect bites. It could even aid your body in healing sore nipples and avoiding mastitis. Yep, colostrum is good for you too, momma! Like mature breast milk, colostrum has antimicrobial properties that can treat certain skin problems. A comparative study proves that breast milk is just as effective as hydrocortisone ointment in treating dermatitis. It’s also been proven that human milk is more potent than infant formula and bovine milk in fighting microbes. Some mommas store colostrum for these very reasons. If you’d like to give it a try, you can store colostrum in syringes and then freeze them for later use.  

Before I became a Certified Breastfeeding Specialist, colostrum used to be just another motherhood buzzword for me. I knew that my body would produce it and my baby needed it, but that’s basically all I knew. 

After some careful studying, I soon gained a bigger understanding and appreciation for colostrum milk—something that I genuinely believe every momma should have. So, keep reading if you’re ready for another learning time, especially with your precious baby’s health in mind!

 

What is colostrum milk?

Colostrum milk is essentially the first milk you produce for your baby. If you’ve just given birth and have started breastfeeding your baby, you will notice that your breast milk isn’t white or pale, but rather yellowish and somewhat sticky. Don’t be alarmed. That’s colostrum milk—also known as the liquid gold!

Colostrum is considered the most nutritious breast milk. It’s also your baby’s first food, and it’s highly encouraged that you feed your baby all the colostrum your body produces. 

Colostrum is considered the most nutritious #breastmilk. It’s also your baby’s first food, and it’s highly encouraged that you feed your baby all the #colostrum your body produces. Click To Tweet

 

How long does colostrum last?

While the production of colostrum could begin as early as your 16th week of pregnancy, the release (or the colostrum phase) usually happens the moment you deliver your placenta until about 2 to 5 days postpartum. 

Beyond this 5-day period, you can expect your breast milk to mature and adapt to your growing baby’s changing nutritional needs.

 

What’s the difference between colostrum and mature breast milk? 

Colostrum is a baby’s superfood. It has been found to contain more protein and minerals than mature breast milk, but with less fat and carbohydrates. Mature milk is also produced while you’re feeding your baby, weeks after giving birth. It doesn’t have the golden color that you can see in colostrum milk and is, in fact, paler and whiter in color. 

Colostrum is a baby’s #superfood. It has been found to contain more protein and minerals than mature breast milk, but with less fat and carbohydrates. Click To Tweet

Now, if you’re like me when I was still a new mom breastfeeding, it might have been a surprise to learn that your breast milk actually changes over time. So, here’s a quick look at the different stages of breast milk:

 

Breast Milk Stages What Science Says
Colostrum milk Released until 2 to 5 days after giving birth

Yellowish in color

Transitional milk Usually produced at 5 days postpartum and lasts for approximately 2 weeks

Contains more water, calories, fats, and lactose than colostrum

Mature milk The final milk that your body produces

Contains 90% water and 10% protein, carbohydrates, vitamins, and fats

Has two types:

1. Fore-milk – released at the beginning of breastfeeding; contains more water, vitamins, and protein

2. Hind-milk – released right after the fore-milk; has higher levels of fat to support your baby’s weight gain

 

Colostrum milk and the other milk stages have different nutritional compositions, but they’re all meant to give what your baby needs at the time. And yes, our bodies and breast milk are that amazing!

 

More colostrum & breast milk facts

Pumped colostrum milk in a cup

 

To help you further understand what colostrum is and what happens before, during, and after it starts to flow, here are some facts you’d be delighted to know:

 

  • While colostrum is usually released after you give birth, some moms experience colostrum dripping from their breasts a few weeks before they deliver their baby. This is nothing to be alarmed about.

 

  • If you start leaking before you give birth, you might want to express or pump colostrum from your breasts. This can help you get used to your breast pump and save the dripping colostrum milk for your baby to consume later. This will also ensure that your baby will be able to get the colostrum they need, should there be latching issues during your first day of breastfeeding.

 

  • Take note that pumping colostrum can cause mild contractions that are similar to menstrual cramps. If you have a relatively healthy pregnancy and have not been placed in the high-risk basket of pregnancies, then go right ahead and pump colostrum from your dripping breasts. However, if you’re experiencing a difficult pregnancy, it’s better to just let the colostrum drip and to not tempt fate by pumping before giving birth. It’s also advisable to consult your doctor as soon as you notice colostrum on your nippies.

 

 

  • Transitional milk is what takes over after the colostrum phase of breastfeeding. This transitional period can last somewhere between 10 to 14 days and is when the last of your colostrum milk starts to mix with your mature breast milk.

 

  • The last phase of this transition is when your mature breast milk starts to flow. This particular breast milk carries all the nutrients your baby needs in this stage of their growth. This may be less sticky and is thinner in consistency than colostrum but is still chock-full of nutrients that your baby needs.

 

Best benefits of colostrum milk for babies

Newborn baby getting the colostrum benefits

 

You already know that colostrum milk is highly nutritious. How does this benefit your child? Here are some ways. 

 

1. It supports your baby’s growth and development

Colostrum is packed with nutrients naturally intended to support your newborn’s health. These include:

  • Vitamin A This is a vitamin that helps a child’s growth and can also help fight infections.

 

  • Vitamin B12 This supports brain development and helps with the production of healthy red blood cells.

 

  • Vitamin K One of the primary functions of this vitamin is to fight off the possibility of hemorrhagic diseases since it aids in clotting blood.

 

  • Protein This is a nutrient that’s crucial to the development and growth of your baby’s organs as well as muscles and bones.

 

 

 

Colostrum also contains minerals such as magnesium, zinc, and copper. Magnesium helps support the bones and heart of your little one, while the other two are known to help in the development of your baby’s immune system. Zinc is also important in your child’s brain development.

 

2. It helps fight off infections

Since colostrum has antimicrobial peptides and immunoglobulins, it is one of the first lines of defense that your newborn has. In short, it gives them a fighting chance against the possibility of infections.

Colostrum also contains white blood cells, which help your baby start fighting off infections on their own.

 

3. It builds your baby’s immune system

Another benefit your baby can get from colostrum is increased immunity. This is done with the help of immunoglobulins (a kind of antibodies) that line their lungs as well as their intestines. 

Aside from this, colostrum also helps your baby’s intestines produce protective mucus membranes. It also helps feed the good bacteria in your baby’s gut, resulting in good digestion and nutrient absorption.

#Colostrum helps your baby’s intestines produce protective mucus membranes. Click To Tweet

 

4. It stops jaundice in its tracks

Jaundice, one of the most common disorders in newborn infants, happens when your baby has an abundance of bilirubin in their liver.

Bilirubin is the byproduct of the breakdown of red blood cells, which is meant to be released by the body. If it isn’t released properly, then your baby will be at risk of having jaundice.

Thankfully, your colostrum also works as a laxativehelping your baby poop more often during their first few days outside the womb. When you see blackish poop in your baby’s diapers, that is the colostrum doing its job of removing the bilirubin from your baby’s liver and preventing jaundice from happening.

 

5. It helps soothe skin inflammations

If you thought that colostrum only benefits your baby’s internal systems, you’d be glad to know that it could also help in soothing skin issues like a cradle cap, diaper rash, eczema, chapped lips, and insect bites.

It could even aid your body in healing sore nipples and avoiding mastitis. Yep, colostrum is good for you too, momma!

Like mature breast milk, colostrum has antimicrobial properties that can treat certain skin problems. A comparative study proves that breast milk is just as effective as hydrocortisone ointment in treating dermatitis. It’s also been proven that human milk is more potent than infant formula and bovine milk in fighting microbes.

Some mommas store colostrum for these very reasons. If you’d like to give it a try, you can store colostrum in syringes and then freeze them for later use.

 

Precious colostrum for your precious baby

Healthy baby enjoying the benefits of colostrum milk Now, you see why there’s a huge emphasis on making sure you feed your baby the colostrum milk your breasts produce. It’s full of nutrients that your baby will benefit from, not just during infanthood but even beyond that stage of their growth.  If you find that you’re not producing as much colostrum as you think you should, don’t worry. Your body produces as much colostrum as your baby will need. Frequent feeding will also help ensure that your little one does get all the benefits of your colostrum milk and will help boost its production. [bctt tweet="Your body produces as much #colostrum as your baby will need." username="getmilksta"] The important thing to remember here is to make sure that you do feed your baby with, no matter how little you think you have. Liquid gold is gold for a reason, so go ahead and let your baby take in all your precious milk’s benefits!   _________________________________ This mom-powering piece is curated by multiple contributors: Lian Delos Reyes, founder & CEO of Milksta, and research & content specialists Rowena Taylor-Rivero and Rose Jane dela Cruz.

Precious colostrum for your precious baby

Healthy baby enjoying the benefits of colostrum milk

Now, you see why there’s a huge emphasis on making sure you feed your baby the colostrum milk your breasts produce. It’s full of nutrients that your baby will benefit from, not just during infanthood but even beyond that stage of their growth. 

If you find that you’re not producing as much colostrum as you think you should, don’t worry. Your body produces as much colostrum as your baby will need. Frequent feeding will also help ensure that your little one does get all the benefits of your colostrum milk and will help boost its production.

Your body produces as much #colostrum as your baby will need. Click To Tweet

The important thing to remember here is to make sure that you do feed your baby with, no matter how little you think you have. Liquid gold is gold for a reason, so go ahead and let your baby take in all your precious milk’s benefits!

 

_________________________________

This mom-powering piece is curated by multiple contributors: Lian Delos Reyes, founder & CEO of Milksta, and research & content specialists Rowena Taylor-Rivero and Rose Jane dela Cruz.

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