Health Encyclopedia

Colostrum

Colostrum

Colostrum is a sticky, thick, yellowish liquid produced by a woman's breasts toward the end of pregnancy and during the first few days after delivery of her baby. Colostrum contains protein, minerals, and vitamins as well as valuable antibodies, which help protect the baby against disease.

Women who breast-feed transfer these important nutrients to their newborns. Colostrum is particularly suited to a newborn's needs and provides the ideal nutrition. Its yellow tint comes from higher levels of carotene, a form of vitamin A. Colostrum also may act as a laxative to help the infant pass the first few bowel movements, which are a dark green substance called meconium.

After a few days, a woman's breasts start supplying the baby with transitional milk as breast-feeding becomes established, followed by mature milk at about 10 to 15 days after delivery.

Last Revised: April 12, 2013

Author: Healthwise Staff

Medical Review: Sarah Marshall, MD - Family Medicine & Kirtly Jones, MD - Obstetrics and Gynecology

This information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information. Your use of this information means that you agree to the Terms of Use. How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.

© 1995-2013 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.

USNWR 2013-2014Magnet Hospital RecognitionConsumer Choice2014 Best DoctorsJoint Commission Report

Disclaimer: The information on this website is for general informational purposes only and SHOULD NOT be relied upon as a substitute for sound professional medical advice, evaluation or care from your physician or other qualified health care provider.