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What is Colostrum

Colostrum is the fluid released from the breast toward the end of pregnancy and during the first days postpartum. Colostrum first appears clear, then becomes yellowish in color. It contains white blood cells, water, protein, fat, and carbohydrate. Some of these proteins are antibodies. The high protein and antibody content are what make this premilk special.

In addition to this, colostrum also has a laxative-effective on the intestinal tract, helping the baby to get rid of the first stools (meconium). The total amount secreted per day is 10-40 ml (30 ml = 1 ounce), or about 2.5 ml (1/2 teaspoon) per feeding. By the third day, each feed will be about 15 ml. Even though this amount may seem small, it is important for breast feeding mothers to put the baby to the breast every 2-3 hours, even on the first day. Firstly, the content of the colostrum is important, and secondly, it is the sucking action that sets up the special nervous system pathways that allow the mother’s body to make and express breast milk. By the 3rd to 4th postpartum day, your milk should be coming in. If you feel that by this time your milk is not coming in, you should seek the advice of your pediatrician.