Colostrum necessary for new born babies

The Greater Accra Regional (GAR) Nutrition Officer, Mrs Faustina Vimariba Tour has dispelled the wrong perceptions regarding the feeding of new born babies with colostrum.

Colostrum is the yellowish sticky first form of breast milk that is released by the mammary glands after giving birth. It is nutrient-dense and high in antibodies and antioxidants to build a new-born baby’s immune system.

Despite its benefits, some Ghanaians argue it is “dirty” and “stale” and should be discarded.

However, Mrs Tour, in an interview with the Ghanaian Times in Accra on Friday, said colostrum was ideal for babies and would develop their digestive tracts.

Therefore, nursing mothers should not discard them after delivery, rather give them to their babies within the first hour after delivery.

She said the process which was referred to as early initiation made babies more likely to survive than those who have their first breast milk after a day.

The GAR nutrition officer stressed that the thick and yellowish fluid contained rich nutrients and beneficial compounds which were irreplaceable.

“Colostrum is more than the first milk your baby consumes after birth. It is highly concentrated with nutrients and antibodies to fight infection and protect your baby,” she stated.

“It provides a powerful, unique immunity that helps babies to learn to suck, swallow and breathe during feeding,” she added.

Mrs Tour also said it built the baby’s immune system, provided concentrated nutrition and establisha healthy gut by coating the intestines.

Although all infants benefitted from colostrum, she said preterm infants who took colostrum from the mother’s breast were healthier than those who did not.

Hence, she advised nursing mothers to disregard myths and perceptions surrounding colostrum, saying heeding to such myths would be at their own detriment and that of their babies.

Mrs Tour said the amount the babies drank would increase each day.

She said the bodies of mothers after birth would produce colostrum exclusively for about two to five days after birth, after which “transitional milk” takes over (this is a mix of colostrum and more mature milk).

“The amount of colostrum you are making is just right for your baby. The amount your baby drinks will increase each day.

Your milk supply will increase as your baby’s stomach grows, so be sure to breastfeed your baby as often as he or she desires to help your milk supply start and remain strong,” she added.

BY ABIGAIL ARTHUR

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