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: July 21, 2013
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review: Sarah Marshall, MD - Family Medicine & Andrew Swan, MD, CCFP, FCFP - Family Medicine & Kirtly Jones, MD - Obstetrics and Gynecology
Public Health Alerts
Public health alerts include information about outbreaks, advisories and product recalls. Click on the links below to read the most recent alerts, or visit our Public Health Alerts web page.
FIND Services and Resources
If you are looking for health services in your community, you can use our directory to FIND hospitals, clinics, and other resources.
To learn more visit Healthwise.org
© 1995-2013 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.
Is it an emergency?
If you or someone in your care has chest pains, difficulty breathing, or severe bleeding, it could be life-threatening. Call 9-1-1 or the local emergency number immediately. If you are concerned about a possible poisoning or exposure to a toxic substance, call Poison Control now at 1-800-567-8911.