Until recent times Indian moms were asked to extract the first formed breast milk. They were advised that the newborns would be affected by this yellow coloured liquid. I really wonder what exactly drove them to do this, in fact, I am very much intrigued because our culture has followed every practise with a scientific reason and yet this?
Also called the beestings or the first milk, colostrum generates in the mammary glands prior to giving birth. It contains more of proteins than fats and is enriched with loads and loads of antibodies that will help the newborn to be protected from the numerous microbes waiting in the outside world to attack them.
Thus colostrum is the first shield a mother would be providing her baby to fight this world. If you are a first time mom, well you must know that this colostrum would be secreted in very -very low amounts sometimes in drops; so do not panic that you are not protecting your body enough. Nature has a system of protection and works on a need basis.
No manufactured product will be able to duplicate the contents that are available in colostrums. There are of course some company packed colostrums available, I would seriously recommend avoiding them (how and when they were packed is unknown). so please avoid such packed products, especially for the new born.
What Colostrum Does?
When we repeat saying colostrum is important, it is not without a reason. Colostum makes you baby ready for facing the world.
When the baby is in the womb, he/she is extremely protected and there is no such thing that can surpass the conditions to affect your child (ZIKA virus sometimes affects-read about ZIKA virus here).
However the conditions outside is not so baby friendly and he/she becomes an easy target but for colostrums.
Concentrated Low -Volume Form
Colostrum contains nutrients in a very concentrated low-volume form and hence delivers them to the baby. The newborn is not used to swallowing and takes time to learn, colostrums thus in the least quantities too ensures protection.
The low volume form also is very smooth on the digestive system of the baby which is going to be really beginning to work from such ingestion.
The baby has accumulated wastes such as bilirubin (remember the need to take your child out in sunshine for all the vit D to fight against the yellow tinch on skin)the bilirubin is produced in large quantities because of the reduction in the volume of blood in the infants body. This leads to lots of waste RBCs.
The colostrum has a slight laxative property which helps in getting the first stool (muconium) of the baby out of the system and thus helps in preventing jaundice.
Colostrum contains antibodies such as IgA, IgG and IgM which form the basic adaptive immune system in the baby.
Colostum also contains othe innate immnesystem suchas lactoferrin, lysozyme, lactoperoxidase, complement and Proline Rich Polypeptides PRP.
Cytokines are th small messenger peptides that play an important role in the control of functioning of the immune system. Colostrums has many cytokines such as interleuins, tumor necrosis factor, chemokines and so on.
Thus you baby is supplied with cancer fighting properties as soon as they enter the world (and you are searching for it all around you)
IGF –insulin like growth factors I and II, Transforming Growth Factors, beta 1 and beta 2, fibroblast growth factors, epidermal growth factor, granulocyte-macrophage-stimulating growth factor, platelet-derived growth factor, vascular endothelial growth factor and colony-stimulating factor-1, all this and more for your baby in the most concentrated form is present in colostrum.
In fact this makes me wonder why it took long to be understood that colostrums is this important to the infant.
Colostrum is also a very rich source of proteins, vitamin A, and sodium chloride, but contains lower amounts of carbohydrates, lipids, and potassium than mature milk.
The most pertinent bioactive components in colostrum are growth factors and antimicrobial factors. The antibodies in colostrum provide passive immunity, while growth factors stimulate the development of the gut. They are passed to the neonate and provide the first protection against pathogens.
The true meaning of elixir is understood only when one comes to know the properties and content of colostrums. Nature has its own ways of protection, be it a sterile world or a pathogenic one, nature induces components that will give the power to every individual to overcome the external environment and conquer it.