• What Is Colostrum and How Do I Know I Have It?

    It is possible that you've already produced and given your baby colostrum without knowing it.
    by Rachel Perez .
What Is Colostrum and How Do I Know I Have It?
PHOTO BY iStock
  • The most challenging stage of a mother and her newborn's breastfeeding journey is the beginning, especially for first-time moms. You and your baby need to learn how to latch correctly and adjust to feeding and sleeping times. For many, it is overwhelming. 

    One of the many worries of new moms is when milk will come and if it will be enough for the baby.  It is one of the most popular questions on our Facebook group Smart Parenting Village. One mom, for example, had written that it had been two days since she gave birth, and she said she was still waiting for her colostrum.

    In response, many of the Smart Parenting Village moms shared their breastfeeding journey. Most of them "had milk" after two to four days; one mom even said her milk arrived seven days after birth. All the moms suggested that the most important thing was to still let the baby latch.

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    LATCH Los Banos lactation coach Armi Anastacio Baticados, who is a member of our Facebook group, was kind enough to share her expertise and clarify the function of colostrum and when a mom can expect it to happen. 

    Colostrum is produced by a woman's body while she's pregnant, and it is expressed through the breast as soon as the placenta detaches from the uterine wall, Anastacio Baticados wrote in Filipino. As soon as a new mom gives birth, she already has colostrum and is ready to pass it on to her baby. 

    The problem is some moms expect to see colostrum as watery, but it is often thick in consistency, and a mom will only make it in a small amount. Think droplets. 

    "Kapag si baby ay naka-latch as soon as he is born, makukuha na po niya iyon [colostrum]," Anastacio Baticados stressed.  "Sa first three days, sapat po ang makukuha ni baby kay mommy, kahit hindi natin nakikita na may tumutulo."

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    As the photo above shows, your little one doesn't need a lot of milk in the first few days. His stomach is still tiny, the same size as that of calamansi. 

    The proper way to gauge if your baby is getting enough milk: count dirty diapers. If a newborn produces one wet and one dirty diaper in a day, that means he's getting his precious liquid gold supply, Anastacio Baticados said

    A few days after birth, a new mom will produce what experts call transitional milk, which is a yellowish mixture of colostrum and mature milk. Anastacio Baticaos says that the liquid most moms see dripping from their nipples is already what nursing experts call mature milk, or breast milk as we know it.

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    If breast milk is liquid gold, think of colostrum as a rich and potent concentrate of breast milk. According to the American Pregnancy Association, is vital and indispensable for a newborn baby for the following reasons:

    • It contains white blood cells and antibodies that help your baby build a robust immune system-It coats your baby’s stomach and intestines to help keep germs from causing illness.
    • It acts as a laxative to help baby pass meconium, of the baby's first poop.
    • It helps prevent jaundice.
    • It contains nutrients for baby's complete nourishment. 

    It's important to latch baby and directly nurse the baby right after giving birth and every two to three hours, even if you don't see milk dripping from your breasts. It's one crucial aspect of the global and local Unang Yakap campaign to make sure newborn gets a healthy start. 

    "Make sure that the latch is correct. Yun ang pinaka-effective way to give the baby the nutrition he needs and to stimulate mom's milk production," Anastacio Baticados advised. "Kapag hindi tama [ang latch], the baby will get frustrated at maaring magkasugat si Mommy," she added. 

    Start your breastfeeding journey right by getting the right information. Read more about breastfeeding and latch positions here.

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