Did you know that there are stages to your breast milk? In fact, there are 3 different stages of breast milks, mums need to understand.
Colostrum is the first stage of breast milk, also known as "liquid gold." It can occur during pregnancy and last from birth to four days after the baby is born. It is rich in carotenoids, which give it its distinctive golden yellow color (although sometimes it can be clear).
The thick, sticky consistency coats your baby's intestinal system, helping to protect the sensitive and permeable stomach lining. Colostrum also acts as a laxative, assisting newborns in passing meconium, or their first poop, from their system. It also contains a high concentration of protein, fat-soluble vitamins, minerals, and immunoglobulins. Immunoglobulins are antibodies passed from mother to baby that provide passive immunity against a wide range of bacterial and viral illnesses. Colostrum volume decreases two to four days after birth and is replaced by transitional milk.
2. Transitional milk
This stage usually occurs after colostrum and lasts about two weeks. Transitional milk has a whitish color and is more abundant than colostrum. It helps to support the rapidly growing infant's nutritional and developmental needs. Transitional milk contains a high concentration of fat, lactose, and water-soluble vitamins. It has more calories and is more energy dense than colostrum. Your breast will also become firmer, larger, and more uncomfortable.
3. Mature milk
This is the final milk produced and this occurs fourteen days and beyond. 90% of it is water, which is required to keep your infant hydrated. The remaining 10% is carbohydrates, proteins, and fats, which are required for both growth and energy.
There are two types of mature milk:
Foremilk: occurs beginning of the feeding and contains water, vitamins, and protein.
Hind-milk: occurs after the initial release of milk. It contains higher levels of fat and is necessary for weight gain.