It is the first form of milk produced by the mammary glands immediately following delivery of the newborn.

Colostrum is produced during the first few days after delivery.

Colostrum is the first milk a breastfed baby receives. 

It contains higher amounts of white blood cells and antibodies than mature milk, and is especially high in immunoglobulin A (IgA), which coats the lining of the baby’s immature intestines, and helps to prevent pathogens from invading the baby’s system. 

Colostrum is a thin yellowish fluid that is the same fluid that sometimes leaks from the breasts during pregnancy.


Colostrum is rich in protein and antibodies that provide passive immunity to the baby.

Colostrum gives breast milk a yellow hue.

It is generated just prior to giving birth.

It contains antibodies to protect the newborn against disease.

It is high in the immunoglobulin IgA, which coats the gastrointestinal tract.

Secretory IgA  helps prevent food allergies.

Over the first two weeks after the birth, colostrum production slowly gives way to mature breast milk.

The level of Immunoglobulin A (IgA) in breast milk remains high from day 10 until at least 7.5 months post-partum.

In general, protein concentration in colostrum is substantially higher than in milk, but fat concentration is lower.

The fat content very gradually increases, with the milk becoming fattier and fattier over time.


Colostrum gradually changes to become mature milk. 


In its first 3–4 days it will appear thin and watery and will taste very sweet; later it thickens as milk is thicker and creamier. 

Newborns have very immature and small digestive systems.

Human milk quenches the baby’s thirst and hunger and provides the proteins, sugar, minerals, and antibodies that the baby needs.

Colostrum delivers its nutrients in a very concentrated low-volume form, as neonates have very immature and small digestive systems

Colostrum has a laxative effect, encouraging the passing of the baby’s first stool, (meconium).

Colostrum creates a mild laxative effect, expelling meconium and helping to prevent the build-up of bilirubin.

Colostrum clears excess bilirubin, produced in large quantities at birth due to blood volume reduction from the infant’s body and helps prevent jaundice.

Colostrum contains immune cell lymphocytes and many antibodies such as IgA, IgG, and IgM.

Full term babies have little uptake in IgA due to the early closing of the intestinal epithelium to large molecule uptake.

Additional colostrum innate immune components including such as lactoferrin lysozyme, lactoperoxidase, complement, and proline-rich polypeptides (PRP).

A number of cytokines are found in colostrum as well, including interleukins, tumor necrosis factor, chemokines, and others.

Colostrum also contains a number of growth factors, such as insulin-like growth factors I (IGF-1), and II, transforming growth factors alpha, 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.

A lack of colostrum production is linked to a mutation in the ABCC11 gene that occurs in most people of East Asian descent.

The ABCC11 gene is also one the determining factors in wet or dry type earwax, as the mammary glands are a form of apocrine gland.

Claims of health benefits have been made for colostrum consumption in adults, have not been substantiated.

Some athletes have used colostrum supplement in an attempt to improve their performance, and in combination with exercise training for 8 wk may increase bone-free lean body mass in active men and women.

It is rich in IGF-1, which is not absorbed, it may stimulate its production which may help in weight reduction.

It has antioxidant components, such as lactoferrin and hemopexin.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *