Haven't we all drunk milk at some point in our lives; it’s one of the first foods we consume. It is ‘one of the first’ because it is, in fact, the second food that we are exposed to soon after birth. The first food looks and tastes like milk, but is, in fact, an entirely different food called colostrum.
All female mammals that are capable of producing milk are also capable of producing colostrum in their mammalian mammary glands, five days before delivering a newborn and 15 days after that.
Colostrum is nothing short of a superfood! It contains between 2 to 25 times more proteins and vitamins, including Vitamin A, Vitamin E and folic acid, compared to milk. Besides, it's also full 'immunoglobulins'—proteins that provide immunity to the newborns in their first few precious weeks, especially the first two, when they don’t have their own immune system. Milk, substitutes or even vaccination cannot replicate this process of 'passive immunisation'.
It is for these reasons that doctors advocate breastfeeding to newborn infants. Colostrum is thus imperative for the health of all neonates – human and animals!