Saturday 22 February 2020

Colostrum.. Baby's First Milk

Colostrum isa milk-like liquid produced by the mammary glands of mammals immediately following delivery of the newborn. It looks thicker and more yellow than mature milk. It contains antibodies to protect the newborn against disease, but it is small in quantity . It’s very nutritious and contains high levels of antibodies, which are proteins that fight infections and bacteria. It’s an important source of nutrients that promotes growth and fights disease in infants. Newborns have very immature and small digestive systems, and colostrum delivers its nutrients in a very concentrated low-volume form. It has a mild laxative effect, encouraging the passing of the baby's first stool, which is called meconium. This clears excess bilirubin, a waste-product of dead red blood cells, which is produced in large quantities at birth due to blood volume reduction from the infant's body and helps prevent jaundice. Colostrum is known to contain immune cells (as lymphocytes) and many antibodies.
How long does colostrum last?
Colostrum secreted in the first few days (2-5days) after birth. After 2-3 days, mature breast milk called transitional milk starts to replace colostrum. During the next 10-14 days, the transitional milk increases in quantity and changes in appearance and composition to meet the increasing requirements of the baby. By day 10, the baby’s stomach grows to about 2 ounces. Mature milk being produced by this time; looks thinner than colostrum but is still full of nutrients for the baby. Mature milk will continue to change with your baby’s needs and tummy.

Quantity of colostrum a newborn needs

The amount of colostrum/breast milk produced varies, this is because, after delivery one can produce roughly 60-80ml of colostrum on the first day. The next day it is estimated that around 120ml and on the third day 180ml will be produced respectively. This amount is enough for the baby since the volume of a new born's stomach capacity is not much, and hence needs about 5-10mls of breastmilk per feed on a frequency of 8-12 times per day.

Importance of Colostrum

1.Colostrum fights infection:  Up to two-thirds of the cells in colostrum are white blood cells that guard against infections, as well as helping the baby start fighting infections for himself.

2. It supports the baby’s gut function: Colostrum is also rich in other immunologic components and growth factors that stimulate growth of protective mucus membranes in your baby’s intestines. And while that’s happening, the prebiotics in colostrum feed and build up the ‘good’ bacteria in the baby’s gut.

3. Your colostrum is especially rich in a crucial antibody called sIgA. This protects the baby against disease, not by passing into his bloodstream, but by lining his gastrointestinal tract. Antibodies and cells help in the immune mechanism which can last up to 6 months.

4. Prevents jaundice: This clears excess bilirubin, a waste product of dead red blood cells which is produced in large quantities at birth due to blood volume reduction, from the infant's body and helps prevent jaundice.

5. It contains complete nutrition (protein, salts, fats, carbohydrates, and vitamins) that the baby’s stomach can easily digest, and gives the baby’s brain, eyes and heart the right blend of nutrients and vitamins to grow.

6. Delivers its nutrients in a very concentrated low-volume form, suitable for newborn immature, small digestive system. Furthermore, learning to ‘suck and swallow’ is easier in small amounts.

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