What is Colostrum? Colostrum also known as Beestings or first milk is the precursor to breast milk and is stored and expelled in a through the mammary glands of mammals (including Humans) during the first 24 to 48 hours after birth. It is a thick, creamy liquid which could be light yellowish in color or at times clear and is packed with amazing properties that nourishes and protects a new born baby in the first days of life.
Rich in immunologic components such as secretory IgA, lactoferrin, leukocytes Colostrum also is responsible for developmental factors such as epidermal growth factor. Colostrum has relatively low concentrations of lactose, which indicates that its primary functions to be more of immunologic and trophic rather than nutritional. Sodium, chloride and magnesium levels are higher in Colostrum while levels of potassium and calcium are lower in comparison to later breast milk.
At birth the digestive and immune system of new born babies are immature and this is where Colostrum plays a very important role. Colostrum provides the enzymes, antibodies, and growth factors to promote healthy growth and immunity to fight diseases. It also has laxative properties which helps the babies expel the first stool called meconium. This helps clear the excess bilirubin built up which is a waste product of dead red blood cells from the baby’s body and helps prevent jaundice.
The significance of Colostrum is very pronounced in farm animals and pets. If these animals do not receive Colostrum in the first 12 to 24 hours following birth they have a very slim chance of survival.
By: Madhuchanda Saxena