When Does Colostrum Come In?

During the latter stages of pregnancy, a mother's body is still undergoing many changes in the anticipation for the day of delivery. Some of these changes within a mother's body are easily noticeable, for instance, at around 38 weeks, when the fetus moves into the pelvis area, there is increased pressure on the pelvis a mom will feel. Another thing you may notice around this time is a yellowish, thin liquid leaking from the breasts,which is called colostrum. This fluid is known as "pre-milk", and it is the antecedent to breast milk production. So when does colostrum come in? Continue reading to find out.

When Does Colostrum Come In?

Most commonly, colostrum is not experienced until after the baby is born, although pre-natal leakage is possible, which most commonly will be noticed around the 26th-30th week in pregnancy. Some women, however, have reported breast leakage as early as 3-4 weeks into their pregnancy, although that is rare.

Once the baby is born, your body should begin to naturally produce colostrum, which contains many immune system boosting and antibacterial properties. After a few days of colostrum production, the breasts should begin to get firmer, which is a sign of imminent breast milk production. Breast milk is similar to cow's milk in appearance, as opposed to the yellowish tint of colostrum.

Even if you do not produce colostrum straight after birth, that does not mean that you will be unable to breast feed. You may just have to wait a little longer. If you do have a serious concern about breast feeding, and you think you can't produce enough milk to provide efficient sustenance to your child, consult a health care professional for further advice.

Other Moms' Experiences

“During my first pregnancy I leaked, but I didn't experience any leaking in my second pregnancy. It varies for everyone. It is important to remember that you shouldn't squeeze your breasts if they are leaking, as this may induce labor.” 

“Leaking is nothing to have concerns about. It happens to some women, it doesn't happen to others. I personally had no leaking during my pregnancy, but I know others who did. If you are asking yourself –when does colostrum come in? Remember that it is different for everybody.” 

“I never leaked through any of my pregnancies, and began producing colostrum soon after my babies were born. Your body will continue to produce colostrum all the while it is needed, meaning that you won't run out when breastfeeding”

What Does Colostrum Look Like?

If asking –when does colostrum come in? You must understand what it looks like so you can correctly identify it when it comes. Colostrum is a yellowish liquid that turns more and more colorless as the birth of your child approaches.

What Is Colostrum For?

Colostrum is full of healthy benefits that a new born baby requires, such as vitamin A, essential proteins and sodium chloride. On top of that, it works as a mild laxative, helping the baby achieve their first bowel movement (known as meconium), and being essential for expelling excess waste products from the baby. Colostrum also benefits immune system, as it contains immunoglobins from the mother's own immune system, providing what is known as "passive immunity" to their child, and helping to defend against bacteria and viruses. Colostrum essentially provides the baby with all the key nutrients that they require in a condensed form, ensuring they get the head start.

When to Nurse Your Baby

As mentioned, when answering the question "When does colostrum come in?"the answer varies on a case to case basis. That being said, as soon as you are producing this pre-milk fluid sufficiently, you should begin feeding your child. It is generally best advised to begin breast feeding as soon as possible, within an hour of your baby being born, if possible. This is because infantsare usually very alert as soon as they are born, but then they will spend much of the time sleeping for the next 24 hours.

When attempting to breastfeed, your child should naturally make sucking motions from your breast. Even if they are unable latch on and eat efficiently at this time, it is still good practice for you and for your child. During the early stages of your child's life, it is advised to feed them every three hours or so, both day and night. This can be extremely demanding for the mother, and can usually ease up as their stomachs continue to grow and can retain more milk.

Below is a video that a nurse tells you more tips of caring about your little angels:

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