NURSING - Questions about Colostrum
Hi, I have a 3 1/2 year old daughter who has no intention of quitting
nursing. I am presently almost 16 weeks pregnant and expect I
will tandem nurse after the baby is born. My question is: Should
I prevent my almost four-year-old (at the time) from nursing for
a few days, while I'm in the hospital, so the new baby can get
colostrum or would there be enough for all? Is colostrum something
that runs out? Or does it last for a few days no matter how much
Colostrum is a very interesting substance. Your breasts begin
producing it during pregnancy, and it is the first food available
for babies immediately after birth before your milk actually "comes
in." It contains lots of antibodies and helps protect the vulnerable
newborn from infection by coating his intestines and protecting
him from viruses and bacteria. It also has a laxative effect,
which helps him excrete meconium (the black tarry fetal stool
he is born with) reducing the incidence of jaundice. It contains
growth factors that help prepare his digestive system for absorbing
and digesting milk. It is very easy for the newborn baby to digest,
and is exactly what he needs to eat during the first days after
is different from mature milk in other ways as well. It contains
more salt and protein, and less sugar and fat then mature milk.
It even looks different. It is ranges in appearance from clear
and watery to thick, yellowish and sticky. Some expectant mothers
find that they leak lots of colostrum during pregnancy, while
others are able to express only a drop or two. The amount of colostrum
produced prenatally has no relationship to the amount of milk
the mother will produce later on.
is very concentrated, and the volume produced is very small. Most
mothers will have teaspoons rather than ounces. During the first
24 hours after birth, an average of 37 ml of colostrum is produced
(an ounce contains 30 ml). Babies take in an average of 7-14 ml
at each feeding. When the mother's milk comes in a few days after
birth, it is called "transitional milk." This mixture of colostrum
and mature milk is produced from 4-10 days after birth. As the
volume of milk increases, the protein content decreases and the
amount of sugar and fat increase. Transitional milk may look yellowish
due to the colostrum content.
10-14 days, mature milk is produced. It still contains lots of
valuable antibodies and immune factors, but no more colostrum.
That's one reason that early breastfeeding is so important. Even
if a mother nurses her baby for only a short time after birth,
she is giving her newborn a precious gift that won't be available
to him later on.
to your original question: I wouldn't worry about not letting
your older child nurse immediately after your new baby is born.
I would just make sure that the baby nurses first. This is something
that she is going to have to get used to anyway, and she is old
enough to accept that (she may not like it, but she will learn
to deal with it). Becoming a big sister and having to share her
"num nums" (or whatever she calls them) with a new baby is going
to be a difficult enough adjustment without having to explain
to her why she suddenly can't nurse at all. As long as the new
baby goes first, there should be no problem.
is an article I wrote in StorkNet's breastfeeding cubby called
During Pregnancy and Tandem Nursing." The picture that accompanies
the article is of me nursing my 2 1/2 year old daughter while I
was in labor with her younger sister. She continued to nurse until
well after she was four, and I never had any problems with the
girls sharing their "milky sides."
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