Breast milk is amazing. As mothers our bodies produce it and it sustains life and that itself is absolutely amazing. But did you know that there are many other things that you can use your breast milk (and colostrum) for that are not just feeding your baby?
What is colostrum? Colostrum is your first "milk" before your milk. It is what is referred to as "liquid gold." Even science agrees! An article in the Journal of Brazilian Medical Association, says "Colostrum is the most potent natural immune booster known to science." (1) This is why I knew I wanted to have a stash saved up. During my last pregnancy, I started hand expressing around thirty-six weeks. (talk to your doctor and do your own research to decide what is safe for your and your pregnancy before you try this) Everyone is different however I was able to get around 100 2.5ml oral syringes of colostrum. (I talk more about what I did with it in the hospital here in my third baby's birth story)
Colostrum is so amazing it may even change depending on the gestation your baby was born. A study in Acta Paediatrica took twenty-five mothers delivering premature infants and ten mothers delivering at term and studied their colostrum. They found that the mothers who had premature infants had higher IgA (Immunoglobulin A is an antibody that helps the immune function of the mucus membrane), lysozyme (helps form parts of the innate immune system), and lactoferrin (antibacterial) than that of the mothers who had full-term babies. (2) It still has these components when infants are full-term but produces extra when babies are premature. This just shows that our bodies are producing food and medicine that is exactly what our babies need.
There are a couple of different things that colostrum may help with:
supplement at the hospital with it instead of formula
With all of my babies, I was told to supplement with formula for various reasons, and instead of doing that I just hand expressed and supplemented with my own colostrum. There is nothing wrong with formula feeding your child but it is not something that needs to be done in every situation it is suggested.
As a supplement when your baby or someone else in your house is sick
Stored colostrum is good for more than just the one that is breastfeeding at the moment. I have given my stored colostrum to my toddler when she was sick and within a day she was better. You can add it to anything you want smoothies, oatmeal, pancakes. I gave her her normal cup of milk but switched it for freshly pumped breast milk with a syringe of colostrum.
As a cream for a burn or rash
I have never tried this one personally, however, I have heard that the colostrum has helped heal skin rashes and burns.
Breast milk is the second milk that you get and is what you have for the entire time you chose to breastfeed. Breast milk is alive! It is just as alive and changing as colostrum is. One study looking at stem cells said "One of the most remarkable recent findings is the demonstration that infections or other changes in the status of the nursed infant trigger a rapid response in secretion, composition and cell contents of consumed breast milk." (3) This is why I previously stated that I gave my toddler freshly pumped breast milk. We were all sick but my frozen breast milk did not contain the antibodies needed to help my toddler. Breast milk has amazing benefits but you can also use it for other things as well.
Breast milk baths can help babies with eczema, cradle cap, rashes, and dry skin. Breast milk is a great moisturizer.
You can put a couple of drops of breast milk into your baby's tear duct and it will help unclog it/ clear up any infections.
If your baby has a milk ear infection you can put some drops of breast milk into their ears and it may clear up the infection
You can rub some of your breast milk on your nipples and it will help them when they are chapped or sore.