C is for Colostrum

What is colostrum exactly?

It’s light yellow, gold, or sometimes clear in color, and is a thick, creamy liquid. And wow, is it packed with amazing properties that protect and nourish your baby in his first days of life!

When will I begin to produce colostrum?

It varies from woman to woman. Some moms start producing colostrum as early as the first trimester. More commonly, women start producing it in the third trimester. If you’re later on in your pregnancy, you can squeeze your breast (or express) and watch some liquid gold emerging from your nipple.

But don’t worry if you don’t see any fluid yet. It’s not until after the placenta is expelled that the true hormonal shift signals the breasts to begin lactating—and produce colostrum. And it makes sense, as this enables your baby to start feeding immediately after birth.

How long will I produce colostrum?

For the first 2–5 days after birth, your body will produce only colostrum, later switching over to regular breast milk. While each woman’s body is different, colostrum tends to stick around closer to 5 days.

How is colostrum different than breastmilk?

Colostrum is richer than breast milk and has a different nutritional profile. In regards to composition, colostrum actually has more in common with blood than it does with breast milk since it’s chock-full of white blood cells and immune-boosting properties. This liquid gold is also higher in protein, and lower in sugar and fat, so it’s an easy first food to digest.

Breast milk is designed to sustain your baby, build the immune system, and contribute to development long-term. Colostrum, however, is more like, “hit it hard and fast.” One study even showed that it is much higher than breast milk in cell-defending antioxidants.