The first food of a new born baby comes from its mother. This is known as the Colostrum or the first milk that a mother secretes after delivering a child. Colostrum has many benefits on the health of a newborn. In this article we bring to you the various benefits of colostrum, its source, the right dosage and deficiency and overdose symptoms.
What is Colostrum
Colostrum is a yellowish liquid that is secreted by a lactating mother. As the digestive system of a new born child is underdeveloped, it is easy on their stomach. It helps in maintaining the immune system, growth and nutritional balance in the child or baby. Colostrum is normally secreted in small amounts after delivery.
How does colostrum work?
Colostrum works by providing the essential nutrients to the baby. It is laden with all the necessary components that help the baby in developing his/her immunity.
Sources of Colostrum
Colostrum is normally secreted by the mother immediately after the delivery of her child. Sometimes the mother could become too weak to nurse her baby. In such cases you can go for supplements of colostrum in the form of Bovine or cow colostrums.
The Benefits of Colostrums
Colostrum is known to be the first food of a new born baby. The size of the stomach of a new born baby is quite small. As such it is not possible for it to assimilate large food products that would not be easily broken down by his/her stomach. Colostrum which is rich in nutrients is easily digestible by the baby.
Another advantage of colostrum is that it helps in the first bowel movement of the baby that helps the baby in removing its first waste product in the form of Meconium also known as the first dark stool.
There are many antibodies present in Colostrum that strengthens the baby’s immune system. Immunoglobulin A, an antibody protects the baby from throat, lungs and intestine infections. The protective white blood cells aid in destroying the harmful bacteria and viruses. The growth factors that are present in Colostrum help in developing the digestive system of the baby.
The anti inflammatory properties present in colostrum helps in making the bones strong and prevents swelling in the joints. It also helps in healing any injury or trauma. Colostrum help in maintaining the blood sugar level in the body of the baby and also helps in maintaining the muscle mass to body fat ratio. It is known to be traditional remedy in treating diarrhea in the baby.
It helps in preventing respiratory tract infections and different types of cancer. The antibodies present in colostrum helps in combating various diseases such as colds , influenza, gum diseases.
Dosage of Colostrum
As the digestive tract of a new born baby is under developed it is necessary to know the correct dosage or amount of Colostrum that is to be fed to the child. The clinical recommendation for the dosage of Colostrum is said to be 10 g daily.
It is important for the mother to understand how much her baby is taking in. The normal feeding time is for 5 minutes at least 8 times in a day. It is medically recommended that mother’s milk needs to be the only food for the baby for the first six months.
Deficiencies of Colostrum
Colostrum is extremely important for a new born child. There could be many heath deficiencies if a child is not nursed properly or weaned away from his or her mother’s milk quickly. If a child is not fed properly it could develop weak bones and muscles. The digestive system would not be properly developed. Also the child could be susceptible to a wide range of diseases.
In extreme cases if a mother has multiple births there could be occasions of colostrum deficiency in a child. The growth of the baby could be stunted. In some cases there could be mental retardation also. Apart from this, there are medical cases where it has been shown that when a baby is not nursed properly it has chances of suffering from diseases in its later stages. There could be severe malnutrition, gum infections and other diseases.
Side Fffects of Colostrum
Though it is not common in new born babies some babies could have side effects in the form of nausea and flatulence after getting their mother’s first milk. In such situation the mother need to shorten her sessions of nursing and instead switch to supplementary sources of Colostrum.
If there are chances that the mother cannot nurse her baby, the child should be immediately put on bovine milk but at the same time care needs to be maintained about the right dosage and the possible side effects of bovine milk on the child.
How to store colostrum?
Colostrum is provided by the mother naturally to her baby. In some cases it can store in clean bottles to feed the baby later.
Possible Drug Interactions
There is generally no drug interference in case of Colostrum but if the mother is put on special medications there has to be some other source of providing nourishment to the baby.