Colostrum: The Alternative or Adjunct to Breastmilk

The Alternative to Breastmilk

Bovine colostrum may provide the best substitute and/or addition to breastmilk for mothers who cannot breastfeed, have adopted a baby, or need to supplement their baby’s formula due to ‘failure to thrive’.

Colostrum was designed by nature as the first food for newborns and contains critical nutritional factors to help build and fortify a baby’s immune system and put him or her on the path to good health.

Now, let’s take a look at breastmilk, baby formula, and colostrum, as well as how bovine colostrum support optimal newborn growth and development. 

What Is Breastmilk? 

Breastmilk is milk produced by a mother’s breasts and serves as the primary source of nutrition for newborns. A mother’s body begins full-scale breastmilk production approximately 48 to 96 hours before birth, according to BabyCenter. However, it is important to note that a breastfed newborn doesn’t receive breastmilk in the first few days after birth; instead, the baby receives colostrum.

Colostrum is a pale, yellow milk-like substance that a mother’s breasts initially produce just prior to and right after her baby is born. It is rich in antibodies, protein, minerals, white blood cells, and other powerful nutritional components.

Colostrum also has a slightly laxative effect and helps a newborn remove meconium, a waste product that forms before birth, from the gastrointestinal (GI) system. Ultimately, colostrum is packed with GI- and immune-boosting components, which means even a small amount of colostrum can have far-reaching beneficial effects on a newborn’s growth and development.

Within about two to four days after birth, a mother will begin producing “transitional milk” and later “mature milk.” As this occurs, the amount of colostrum decreases and the amount of milk increases. Breastmilk is available in far greater quantities than colostrum and contains a combination of amino acids, fat, carbohydrates, protein, vitamins, minerals, enzymes, water, and white blood cells.

After a few weeks, a mother’s breastmilk will start to contain fewer white blood cells and greater quantities of lysozyme, an antibacterial enzyme. Meanwhile, the amount of breastmilk that a mother produces will increase over time based on a baby’s weight and appetite. This will continue until a baby consumes more solid food as part of his or her diet and less milk.  

Why is Breastfeeding Important?

The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends mothers breastfeed their babies in the first six months after birth. Breastfeeding helps newborns achieve optimal growth and development, WHO states.

After the first six months, WHO recommends mothers provide their children with complementary foods in conjunction with breastfeeding. Mothers often continue to breastfeed their kids for up to two years, according to WHO. The Center for Nutritional Research recommends two to four years of breastfeeding, or providing breast milk, to ensure optimal physical and mental development.

Breastfeeding offers a number of benefits for both moms and newborns, including:

  • It ensures newborns get the nutritional benefits of breastmilk. Breastfeeding enables newborns to get the breastmilk they need to enjoy healthy growth and development.
  • It helps moms bond with their babies. Breastfeeding provides an unprecedented bonding experience for both moms and their babies.
  • It may help reduce a mom’s risk of certain types of cancer. Studies have shown that breastfeeding may help moms lower their risk of breast cancer and ovarian cancer.

Breastfeeding rates are rising across the United States, which is reflected in recent data. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), four out of five infants started to breastfeed in 2013. More than half of infants were breastfeeding at six months, CDC reported. CDC also noted nearly one-third of infants were breastfeeding at 12 months.

Breastmilk contains protein, vitamins, fats, and other nutritional factors to help a newborn grow. Moreover, breastmilk includes antibodies to help a baby combat harmful bacteria and viruses.

WebMD points out babies who are breastfed may be less susceptible to ear infections, respiratory illnesses, and diarrhea than those who are not breastfed. In some studies, breastfeeding has been linked to higher IQ scores in later childhood, WebMD states. 

The commitment to breastfeeding may be difficult for some women. A breastfed baby usually needs to be fed every 1.5 to 3 hours, which means a new mom will have to take frequent breaks to feed her baby. Sometimes, medications and/or illicit drugs that a mother takes following birth may be passed on to the baby through breastmilk. Donor breastmilk can also be problematic because the donor’s health or medication use may put the infant at risk. In these situations, adding bovine colostrum to formula is ideal. 

Nursing moms sometimes struggle to determine whether a baby is getting the right amount of breastmilk at each feeding. Many infants suffer from “failure to thrive” in which they are unable to put on weight. Plus, the need for hydration is tied in with adequate breastfeeding. Even with breastfeeding, a baby may not get the water that he or she needs to stay adequately hydrated. As such, following breastfeeding with a bottle of water (mixed with powdered bovine colostrum) may be helpful. 

Some studies have shown that adding bovine colostrum may be beneficial for newborns, even after a mother’s colostrum transforms into mature milk. For example, one study of bovine colostrum for preterm infants revealed it is feasible to use bovine colostrum as a supplement to mother’s own milk in the first few weeks after birth. The use of bovine colostrum may help preterm infants improve their protein intake as well.

Breastfed babies receive the health benefits of both colostrum and breastmilk; both are loaded with antibodies, minerals, vitamins, and other nutritional components that promote healthy growth and development. By getting the nutritional support that they need, they also receive benefits to optimal functioning of the GI tract which translates to better gut AND immune health. 

What Is Baby Formula? 

Although many globally recognized healthcare and medical organizations promote breastfeeding as the best choice for babies, baby formulas are also an option for mothers who are unable to breastfeed.

Formula feeding offers benefits for both moms and babies, including:

  • It is convenient. A formula-fed baby can be fed by anyone, such as a caregiver, at any time.
  • It provides immense flexibility. Moms don’t have to worry about incorporating breast-pumping into their schedules; instead, they can leave formula for a babysitter or day care provider to give to their babies.
  • It can become easier to schedule regular feedings. For moms who want to get their babies on regular feeding schedules, formula may help these moms do just that.

Baby formula provides newborns with essential nutrients such as protein, fat, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals.  New moms may feel overwhelmed by the different options available. Some contain cow’s milk or soybeans, and specialized formulas are available for babies who are allergic to milk or soy proteins. Regardless of which baby formula that a mother selects, it is important to choose one that is iron-fortified to minimize the risk of anemia.

The most significant downside to formula is that it does not contain the “living components” or immune system modulators such as antibodies, immunoglobulins, and lactoferrin that breastmilk and colostrum contain; these immune system modulators help an infant fight off disease-causing microbes and are critical to a well-functioning immune system. 

Which Is Better: Breastmilk or Baby Formula? 

Breastmilk is recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics for newborns for the first six months after birth. It is generally easier to digest than formula, provides natural antibodies that protect newborns against illness, and may help reduce the risk of obesity, type 1 diabetes, asthma, and other medical conditions.

Baby formula is a convenient alternative to breastmilk,  and it offers  a viable option for mothers who cannot breastfeed.

Whether newborns receive breastmilk or baby formula, bovine colostrum supplementation may be a beneficial adjunct. Colostrum supplementation is a significant tool in the fight against gut pathogens that cause life-threatening diarrhea in infants; diarrhea can lead to anemia and dehydration. 

What Is the Significance of Colostrum? 

Colostrum is “the perfect first food” for babies, according to La Leche League International.  Colostrum’s immediate benefit to infants include stimulating the infant’s bowels; seeding the G.I. tract with beneficial bacteria; providing immunoglobulins and antibodies to junp start the immune system; and perhaps most importantly, closing up the microscopic holes in the infant’s stomach and G.I. lining to prepare for the introduction of mom’s breast milk. When the infant’s gut is no longer leaky, the proteins in breast milk will remain in the digestive tract and not crossover in to the bloodstream, where they could potentially cause an allergic reaction.

Colostrum LD® from Sovereign Laboratories is a powdered bovine colostrum supplement ideal for infants as well as children and adults. It does exactly what a mother’s own colostrum does for her newborn — help enhance immune function, protect and heal the GI and stomach lining (leaky gut), and eliminate harmful pathogens and infections.

Bovine Colostrum Supplementation for Babies: Here’s What You Need to Know 

Bovine colostrum is one of the safest and most effective bovine colostrum products available. It has many powerful components that have been shown to help newborns, including:

  • Antibodies: Colostrum’s antibodies help protect the GI tract against disease. Antibodies are absorbed in the intestinal tract and attack disease-causing organisms before these organisms can enter the bloodstream and cause disease.
  • Growth Factors: The growth factors in bovine colostrum help stimulate the development and proliferation of newborn tissues and organs.
  • Immune Factors: Bovine colostrum contains immunoglobulins and other immune factors that both augment and stimulate a newborn’s immune system. The immune factors in bovine colostrum further safeguard newborns against pathogen-laden environments.
  • Lactoferrin: Lactoferrin is an iron-binding protein that helps regulate the absorption of iron in the intestines and delivery of iron to the cells. It also transfers iron to the cells and controls the level of free iron in the blood and external secretions.
  • Proline-Rich Polypeptides (PRPs): PRPs help modulate the immune response. Therefore, they can slow down an overactive immune system or speed up an underactive one. Studies also have linked PRPs to the development of resting B lymphocytes, which help turn on the immune system in response to pathogenic threats. 

Colostrum-LD® is unlike any other bovine colostrum product on the market. In addition to containing an unparalleled blend of minerals, nutrients, and vitamins, Colostrum-LD® is produced from pasture-fed Grade A dairy cows. Sovereign Laboratories ensures all bovine colostrum used in the production of Colostrum-LD® comes from cows that are healthy, not supplemented with BST (synthetic growth hormone), BSE-free (“mad cow disease”), and antibiotic-free. This guarantees parents can rest assured that they are giving their newborns a superior bovine colostrum supplement at all times. 

Benefits of Bovine Colostrum Supplementation for Babies 

There are many reasons why parents should give their babies bovine colostrum, and these reasons include:

  • Colostrum is an instant source of vital nutrients. Colostrum delivers high volumes of zinc, calcium, and other nutrients that support a baby’s overall growth and development.
  • Colostrum has laxative properties and aids in excretion. Colostrum has been shown to help babies pass early stools.
  • Colostrum helps safeguard babies against infection. Colostrum contains many powerful substances that help reduce the risk of infection in babies.

If parents incorporate colostrum into a newborn’s diet, their child can experience health benefits that last a lifetime. Colostrum supplementation is especially beneficial for babies that were either not breastfed or not breastfed for a substantial amount of time. 

Why Should Moms Choose Bovine Colostrum? 

Babies who are not breastfed benefit greatly from bovine colostrum supplementation. Yet moms must realize that bovine colostrum is not an alternative to breastfeeding. Instead, bovine colostrum is an excellent alternative or addition for moms who cannot breastfeed or currently use baby formula.

Colostrum-LD® stands apart from all other bovine colostrum products, and for good reason. Unlike other bovine colostrum supplements, Colostrum-LD® uses a liposomal delivery (LD) system that enables bovine colostrum to bypass digestion, travel through the bowel wall, and circulate throughout the body. This ensures bovine colostrum quickly reaches the organs and cells and remains bioavailable at the cellular level for optimal effectiveness.

Thanks to Colostrum-LD®, moms can quickly and effortlessly incorporate a high-quality, certified, and tested bovine colostrum product into a newborn’s diet. Colostrum-LD® tastes similar to milk, and depending upon the dosage and how much water is added, the texture varies in the amount of creaminess. This means moms should have no trouble providing their newborns with bovine colostrum supplementation and ensuring their babies can maximize its benefits.

Moms whose breastmilk is not substantial enough (i.e., her infant is not thriving) can supplement their breastfeeding with bovine colostrum to ensure that an infant is receiving the benefit of the immune modulators and growth factors necessary to promote healthy newborn growth and development. Also, moms can supplement with bovine colostrum to fortify their own bowel and immune health so they can better deal with the stress of motherhood.