TINA OTTE

Your Pregnancy - - Your Baby -

For the first few days af­ter birth, your breasts se­crete colostrum. This sticky, thick, densely packed fluid has been pro­duced in the breasts since the lat­ter part of your preg­nancy. This amaz­ing milk has the colour and con­sis­tency of con­densed milk. It is rich in pro­teins, car­bo­hy­drates and vi­ta­mins and min­er­als. As your baby is born into a world of mi­crobes,colostrum is in fact your baby’s first im­mu­ni­sa­tion against harm­ful bac­te­ria. Colostrum is pro­duced in very small amounts for the first four days and then re­placed with a lighter thin­ner liq­uid (breast­milk.) A new­born baby has a very small stom­ach, which can only take small amounts. Five millil­itres of colostrum is equal to 30 millil­itres of ma­ture hu­man milk. Colostrum is the only food healthy, full-term ba­bies need. It’s easy to di­gest and rich in dis­ease fight­ing an­ti­bod­ies. It has nearly three times the amount of pro­tein as ma­ture hu­man milk. The main func­tion of colostrum seems to be to pro­tect the new­born against in­fec­tion, but it also sup­plies many nu­tri­ents. It is low in vol­ume but high in con­cen­trated nutri­tion for your new­born. Colostrum also has a lax­a­tive ef­fect on the baby, help­ing him pass his early stools, which aids in the ex­cre­tion of ex­cess biliru­bin and helps pre­vent jaun­dice. Colostrum con­tains high con­cen­tra­tions of leuko­cytes, which are pro­tec­tive white cells that de­stroy dis­ease-caus­ing bac­te­ria and viruses. Colostrum also has an­tiox­i­dant and anti-in­flam­ma­tory prop­er­ties. Even if you have de­cided not to breast­feed, per­haps con­sider breast­feed­ing your baby for the first four days of his life so that he can ben­e­fit from the prop­er­ties in colostrum. It is worth more than gold.

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