This post is part of the Breast-Kept Secrets: Breastfeeding Advice from One Mom to Another series. Go back and read all posts here.
When I first became a mother, I was devastated that my milk did not arrive by the time I left the hospital. In fact, it didn’t arrive until my baby was five days old!
What I didn’t understand was that my body was already producing colostrum–and colostrum was really all my baby needed during her first few days of life.
I recently read an article that broke my heart. It told of the millions of mothers around the world who discount their value of colostrum, the pre-milk, golden yellow liquid that breasts produce before milk arrives.
These mothers live in undeveloped countries and believe that colostrum has no value. Even more, they unknowingly sicken their children by giving them contaminated water because they believe their milk is not sufficient to quench their babies’ thirst.
As heartbreaking and shocking as this story sounds, I wonder just how many North American mothers feel the same way.
Image by ODHD
I cannot tell you the times I’ve heard from mothers: “I wanted to breastfeed, but my milk never came in.”
“Did you put your baby to breast to drink the colostrum?” I’ve asked.
If your baby doesn’t take in your colostrum, not only will they miss out on nutrients and antibodies no one can ever duplicate, but your milk may never come in.
Along with the hormones that your body releases upon delivery, your child’s sucking is what signals to the brain to produce milk.
So what is colostrum?
Some people call it liquid gold.
1. It provides the perfect nutrition specific to your baby’s needs.
2. It provides a massive amount of living cells that protect your baby against disease.
3. It provides the antibody IgA, which acts as a natural vaccine. (We don’t give vaccines at birth–but more on that in another post.)
4. It protects the baby’s gastrointestinal tract.
5. It provides protective white cells that destroy bad bacteria and viruses.
So, if you’re expecting a baby, please make sure they get all your liquid gold! Colostrum is truly your baby’s first superfood!
Did you feel like your colostrum was sufficient for your baby the first few days, or did you feel pressured to give him or her formula or to pump in order to get your milk to come in quicker?
*My sources–and links for further study:
Disclaimer: I am not a healthcare professional. Please seek medical advice from a healthcare professional. I am just a mom who likes to research!