Liquid Gold: What is Colostrum?

Colostrum. What is it, how do you recognise it, and when can you expect it?

The first milk your breasts produce is called colostrum. The first time you see colostrum you may be surprised at the colour and quantity - it just doesn’t look like the typical milk. Colostrum is extremely concentrated, and packed full of nourishment for your baby, such as protein, sugar and fats. Your breasts will start to produce colostrum as early as 12-16 weeks into your pregnancy, and its benefits are countless! It doesn’t have the nickname ‘liquid gold’ for nothing!

Colostrum’s main purpose is to provide immediate protection and satisfying sustenance to your baby within a few hours of birth. A large colostrum feed at this time is a brilliant way of giving your baby natural immune protection. Colostrum contains large quantities of antibodies, which kill harmful microorganisms. For this reason, colostrum is considered to be your baby’s first immunisation. It helps to fight germs in the surrounding environment, and plays an important role in protecting your baby’s tummy from germs and outside allergens.

Your body starts making colostrum at around 12-18 weeks of pregnancy. It builds up production in your third trimester in readiness for your baby to be born. You can hand express from 37 weeks if your pregnancy is low risk. After birth it’s produced in higher quantities day by day, and then changes to mature milk at around day 5.

“How much colostrum should my baby be getting?” is a question I get asked a lot by new mothers. The answer is that your baby will consume colostrum in very small quantities, but the exact amount is entirely dependent on them. On day 1, your baby’s stomach is only about the size of a pea or marble! A newborn can handle very small amounts, so it’s perfectly fine that you’re probably only producing a limited amount of colostrum during feeds. By day 3, your little one’s stomach has grown to be about the size of a walnut. By this time your colostrum may have started to change into what we call ‘mature milk’ which is essentially the breastmilk you may be more familiar with.

If you’re breastfeeding, you might find yourself engorged around this time. This happens when milk isn’t being frequently removed from the breast. Remember that engorgement isn’t normal - but it is common - and to avoid it you should feed your baby when they are hungry and not against a schedule.

Your milk supply will grow in line with your baby’s expanding tummy, and produce exactly the right amount to sustain them. How incredible is that?!

For more information on feeding your baby confidently, head over to the ‘Prepare my mind’ section of the butterbean platform. Here, you’ll find expert advice on breastfeeding, formula feeding, and choosing the best options for your body and your baby.

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Liquid Gold: What is Colostrum?

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Colostrum. What is it, how do you recognise it, and when can you expect it?

The first milk your breasts produce is called colostrum. The first time you see colostrum you may be surprised at the colour and quantity - it just doesn’t look like the typical milk. Colostrum is extremely concentrated, and packed full of nourishment for your baby, such as protein, sugar and fats. Your breasts will start to produce colostrum as early as 12-16 weeks into your pregnancy, and its benefits are countless! It doesn’t have the nickname ‘liquid gold’ for nothing!

Colostrum’s main purpose is to provide immediate protection and satisfying sustenance to your baby within a few hours of birth. A large colostrum feed at this time is a brilliant way of giving your baby natural immune protection. Colostrum contains large quantities of antibodies, which kill harmful microorganisms. For this reason, colostrum is considered to be your baby’s first immunisation. It helps to fight germs in the surrounding environment, and plays an important role in protecting your baby’s tummy from germs and outside allergens.

Your body starts making colostrum at around 12-16 weeks of pregnancy. It builds up production in your third trimester in readiness for your baby to be born. You can hand express from 37 weeks if your pregnancy is low risk. After birth it’s produced in higher quantities day by day, and then changes to mature milk at around day 5.

“How much colostrum should my baby be getting?” is a question I get asked a lot by new mothers. The answer is that your baby will consume colostrum in very small quantities, but the exact amount is entirely dependent on them. On day 1, your baby’s stomach is only about the size of a pea or marble! A newborn can handle very small amounts, so it’s perfectly fine that you’re probably only producing a limited amount of colostrum during feeds. By day 3, your little one’s stomach has grown to be about the size of a walnut. By this time your colostrum may have started to change into what we call ‘mature milk’ which is essentially the breastmilk you may be more familiar with.

If you’re breastfeeding, you might find yourself engorged around this time. This happens when milk isn’t being frequently removed from the breast. Remember that engorgement isn’t normal - but it is common - and to avoid it you should feed your baby when they are hungry and not against a schedule.

Your milk supply will grow in line with your baby’s expanding tummy, and produce exactly the right amount to sustain them. How incredible is that?!

For more information on feeding your baby confidently, head over to the ‘Prepare my mind’ section of the butterbean platform. Here, you’ll find expert advice on breastfeeding, formula feeding, and choosing the best options for your body and your baby.