Infants are very vulnerable at birth, their susceptibility to infection comes with a high risk, however, nature provides protection for the infants at birth; COLOSTRUM!
What is COLOSTRUM?
Colostrum is liquid gold developed by the body. It is truly and wholly one of the most amazing substances the human body secretes from the female mammary gland known as the breast and that’s why it is good for babies. It is the first milk produced in late pregnancy and few days after giving birth, it is called Bovine Colostrum.
Bovine colostrum is a thick sticky and yellowish secretion from the breast. It has high concentration of nutrients and antibodies needed for new born babies. However, its production is in small quantities. This miraculous substance is produced at an average of about 37ml per 24hrs. To put it in a proper perspective, 37ml is an ounce.
Though, this secretion is in small quantity. It is sufficient for new born babies because their stomach are incredibly small and does not stretch.
Zangen etal (2001) found that a newborn baby’s stomach is firm and remain so until around 3 days.
CONTENTS OF COLOSTRUM
Bovine colostrum contains a plethora of nutrients for newborn babies; Colostrum is made up of:
– Minerals (rich in sodium, potassium and chloride)
– Fat droplets
– Cast of Alveolar Cells ( which serve both a nutritional and immuno logic need)
– Antibodies: highly concentrated in IgA, IgG and IgM. Of these, IgA is the most concentrated in colostrum which is not found in artificial baby milk.
Babies cannot produce Immuno globulin which consist of:
– Antimicrobial peptides ( lactoferan and lacto peroxidase)
– Other particles and substances that are still being studied. until around six months after birth.
WHAT MAKES COLOSTRUM UNIQUE ?
Recent scientific discovery has proven the presence of stem cells in Early Milk. It’s very composition sets it apart from more mature milk because it is steeped in nutrients and disease fighting properties, the kind that is designed to protect a new baby’s open stomach and bowel, preventing infections and stimulating the entire body system for the life outside the womb, which is to improve the health and well being of the newborn as supposed to just nutrition which is the function of the more mature milk.
Conclusively, Breast feeding is a personal choice, one that entails many factors which a lactating mother may not wish to divulge. However, it is encouraged that every mother even those who wish to give formula feed should endeavor to provide their newborn with their colostrum, It is requisite that portrays breast to mouth nursing as the best way to feed colostrum. For those unable or adverse to breast to mouth feeding, pumping or hand expression are also viable options since the aim here is to provide colostrum for the new born babies, this gadgets are wholly necessary.