Sat. Apr 13th, 2024

The role of colostrum and infant development

Colostrum oral application, also known as colostrum mouth painting, is a common treatment in the newborn ICU for sicker, smaller neonates due to its anti-infective qualities.

Colostrum, the initial breast milk, is often yellow milk that is concentrated, thick, and sticky. Colostrum has larger quantities of immunoglobulins and more protein than regular milk, giving babies stronger immunity.

The volume is often quite little and fluctuates only by 2 to 20 ml per meal.

Additionally, it aids in the formation of Lactobacillus bifidus, a beneficial bacteria, in the digestive tract.

Importance of colostrum

Antibodies are present in colostrum, which also possesses strong immune-stimulating properties. By removing harmful germs, it defends against infection and interior irritation. Additionally, it lessens the risk of respiratory tract infections. It has a huge effect on the long-term development of your child.

Colostrum is simple to digest and aids in the formation of a gut lining that protects against repeated ailments and infections. Additionally, it encourages the development of gut-friendly microorganisms.

It nourishes the baby’s heart, brain, and eyesight in addition to improving gut health and immunity. It contains large amounts of salts, vitamins, and protein.

Benefits of breast feeding

Although it may be greater in some newborns than others, your baby will have a suckling instinct from birth. It is recommended to bring the infant to the breast during this period because this instinct is at its peak during the first “Golden” hour following delivery.

Holding your infant skin-to-skin against your chest and letting him or her smell the milk will make it simpler for them to latch on and begin the first feeding. The baby sucking at your breasts will induce your uterus to contract, which will minimise the likelihood of significant bleeding after delivery in addition to stimulating your breasts to start producing more milk, which will help you establish a steady milk supply.

Breastmilk changes with time

The first week postpartum is when breast milk is thick, yellow, and most protein-rich. In a 24-hour period, it can contain anywhere from 50 to 300 ml. From the second half of the first week until the second week, it becomes a little bit thinner and more voluminous. The amount rises to 600–1000 ml every day. In this stage, the lactose concentration starts to increase. After two weeks following delivery, mother’s milk finally reaches a high volume (roughly 1-1.5 litres/day).

The following month, breastmilk also adjusts to the changing requirements of a developing infant. In the first month of lactation, the whey concentration is exceptionally high; after six months, it drops to 50:50. This ratio is 20:80 in cow’s milk, making it a very subpar and even dangerous alternative.

As the infant grows, the volume also rises, reaching its peak between three and four months, when the baby’s growth velocity peaks. According to the nutritional and calorie requirements of each particular baby, it is formulated.

Difference between colostrum and breast milk

When it is accessible is the fundamental differential between colostrum and breast milk. Colostrum only appears for the first few days right after delivery, but breast milk is released for the majority of the time you are feeding.

Immunoglobulins, or antibodies, such as IgA, which are prevalent in colostrum, help to strengthen your baby’s immune system and protect them from sickness.

Additionally, it has four times as much zinc as breast milk and has double the protein of conventional breast milk. Although it is more golden in colour and thicker than breastmilk, it contains less sugar and fat.

Colostrum aids in your child’s adjustment to life outside the womb by regulating their body temperature, blood sugar, metabolism, and lung and vascular functions.

Colostrum lessens the likelihood of jaundice by assisting your baby’s body in eliminating the black faeces that has collected in the womb.

In addition to all of these advantages, this tiny amount of breast milk includes antioxidants that could act as traps for toxins produced during labour stress in the baby’s circulation. Due to the porous intestinal mucosa, colostrum absorption peaks within the first 24 hours, necessitating early nursing, ideally within the first few hours after delivery.


In several research, it has been found that breastfed infants develop more rapidly than non-breastfed children and are more mature, secure, and assertive.

Additionally, there is a significant favourable association between nursing time and IQ.

By Parvathy Sukumaran

Parvathy Sukumaran is a Content Creator and Editor at JustCare Health. She is an Educator and a Language Lecturer. She holds a Bachelor's Degree in Education and an M.A in English Literature. She is passionate about writing, archaeology, music and cooking.

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