The Benefits of Colostrum

Throughout pregnancy, moms deliver essential nutrition to their growing babies. After birth, it’s no different. And their first meals in the outside world—made up of a special type of milk called colostrum—are particularly important. Read on to discover the benefits of colostrum and how it helps your baby in her early days.

Article Highlights:

  • Colostrum contains important components of milk that moms produce for the first several days after birth. It is full of important immune factors and antibodies that help build up baby’s immune system.

  • After the first few days of breastfeeding colostrum gives way to normal breast milk, moms continue to deliver important nutrients that support healthy development and growth.

What is colostrum?

Colostrum is the substance that moms produce during the first several days after delivering their baby. For many moms colostrum is a thick, yellowish liquid, although for some it is thinner and watery. Between about two to five days after birth, your milk will begin to "come in." The differently colored colostrum will begin to give way to milky white breast milk and your breasts will feel fuller.1

What are the benefits of colostrum?

Colostrum, compared with normal breast milk, is more concentrated with important nutrients. It is higher in protein, which is full of important immune factors and antibodies. It is typically so thick because it is full of many protective substances, like white blood cells that help bolster the immune system and the antibody IgA, which protects babies against infection.2,4

While colostrum provides a higher concentration of these immune-boosting ingredients in your baby’s early days, this support doesn’t end then. Mature Breast milk also provides babies with a supply of substances that support a baby’s growing immune system,including antibodies, immune factors, enzymes, and white blood cells.3 Acting in a sense as a natural method of protection, these antibodies delivered to babies during breastfeeding can help decrease the chance that they will suffer from a wide variety of infections and disease.5

Feeding after colostrum

Of course, this supplying of crucial nutrients doesn’t end with colostrum. Whether it’s for the immune system or their fast-growing brain, your developing baby needs all the help they can get. And whether you stick to breastfeeding or, like many moms, turn to supplementing with formula or exclusive formula-feeding, it’s important to maintain the right diet or choose the right formula. For help navigating this exciting, if complicated, time beyond the first few days, turn to resources on feeding your baby from the experts at Enfamil.

  1. https://www.caringforkids.cps.ca/handouts/breastfeeding
  2. https://www.healthychildren.org/English/ages-stages/baby/breastfeeding/pages/Colostrum-Your-Babys-First-Meal.aspx
  3. https://www.healthychildren.org/English/ages-stages/baby/breastfeeding/Pages/Breastfeeding-Benefits-Your-Babys-Immune-System.aspx