Before we have a baby and we dream about what breastfeeding is like, we have this idea of abundant milk flowing from us whenever our baby is in need.
Instead, our milk seems scarce and barely present in the beginning. And, well, this is because our milk isn’t there yet.
Funny thing is, even when our milk does come in and if it is abundant, as it is for some of us, we still can’t control when it comes and it doesn’t (anyone else have let down issues at times you were unprepared?).
Anyways, back to the beginning when we have all these misconceptions.
There is no milk in the beginning. None. Nada.
What we produce in the beginning, for our babies, is pure liquid gold for a newborn and we call it colostrum.
This stuff is widely misunderstood and, truthfully, this is because they are just now learning how important colostrum is for a newborn.
There are a few things that I want to highlight for all you new mamas out there that want to understand what you are giving to your babies in their first few hours and days of life:
- Colostrum is loaded with antibodies and oodles of other wonderful things that help line baby’s gut and build their immune system as they begin to battle through the world of germs they have been brought in to. Nothing can replace colostrum. Nothing. Our bodies produce the perfect colostrum for our babies. They know everything about that baby it grew and protected for 9 months and it isn’t going to stop now. Colostrum is our bodies first line of protecting baby outside.
- Colostrum is thick and sticky by design. It is high in nutrition and calories so our babies don’t need a lot at each feeding to feel full (also, remember how tiny their bellies are when they are first born!). But colostrum is also uniquely thick because it is our body’s way of biologically training both the baby and the mama/breast how to nurse. More specifically, it helps baby to nail down sucking because they have to work to get that out. And work they will to get that seemingly tiny amount that will make them satisfied and happy!
- Colostrum is a powerful laxative. Why? Because our bodies are amazing and I am in awe of them. No, but seriously, they want baby to learn how to poop as easily as they can and, quite simply, clear their gut right after birth. While clearing everything out colostrum coats the gut and seals it off…to protect it. Amazing, right?
Your body is doing all the work for that baby of yours. By day 4 postpartum your milk should start to come in and that colostrum gently transitions into the milk for baby.
So sit back, enjoy some some snacks and hydrate and enjoy the wonders of what our bodies so naturally and beautifully do!
If you’re a new mama or a mama to be you might find my postpartum kit helpful! Sign up to get it here. You will get a postpartum checklist, a breastfeeding essentials list and a restful sleep guide!