The key difference between colostrum and breastmilk is that colostrum is the first form of milk produced by the mammary glands of mammals, while breastmilk is the milky fluid produced by the mammary glands of female mammals.
Colostrum and breast milk are nutritious fluids released from the breasts of mammals after they have given birth to a child. Colostrum is released before the release of breast milk. It is very nutritious and rich in antibodies that provide protection against infections. Breast milk is considered the primary source of nutrition for new-borns. Colostrum is yellowish, while breast milk is whitish.
1. Overview and Key Difference
2. What is Colostrum
3. What is Breastmilk
4. Similarities Between Colostrum and Breastmilk
5. Side by Side Comparison – Colostrum vs Breastmilk in Tabular Form
What is Colostrum?
Colostrum is the first form of milk produced by the mammary glands of mammals, including humans. It is the first stage of breast milk. It is produced before breast milk is released. The development of colostrums begins during the pregnancy and lasts for several days after childbirth. It is a thick fluid, yellowish in colour. Moreover, it is rich in nutrients and contains high levels of antibodies that provide protection against infections and bacteria. Colostrum increases immunity in infants. Furthermore, it improves gut health throughout life. It also promotes growth and offers numerous benefits for humans throughout life.
Colostrum contains specific proteins such as lactoferrin, growth factors (IGF-1 and IGF-2) and antibodies (immunoglobulins). Moreover, it is rich in macronutrients, vitamins, and minerals. Since colostrum is very nutritious, it can be taken in a supplement form during other phases of life as well. Generally, supplements (Bovine colostrum) are made from the colostrums of cows.
What is Breastmilk?
Breast milk is the fluid produced by the mammary glands of female mammals after giving birth to a child. It is the primary source of nutrition for new-borns. Breast milk starts to mature after two weeks of birth. When the baby is one month old, breast milk is fully mature. Mature breast milk contains higher quantities of certain components that protect the baby against bacterial and viral infections. Breast milk consists of different proteins that support the baby’s brain and immune system while helping to grow.
Moreover, it contains micronutrients: vitamins, minerals and trace elements to support his or her development and wellbeing. Breast milk has a high cholesterol content. It is high in sugar as well. Most importantly, a third of the helpful bacteria in the baby’s gut comes from breast milk. Breast milk contains stem cells and hormones as well. It is always better for your baby than any milk formula. Most importantly, it is the most cost-effective way of feeding a baby.
What are the Similarities Between Colostrum and Breastmilk?
- Both colostrum and breast milk are released from the breasts of mammals after they have given birth.
- Colostrum is the first stage of breast milk.
- Colostrum is released before breast milk is released.
- Both colostrum and breast milk contain different types of proteins.
- They are also rich in micronutrients: vitamins, minerals and trace elements.
- Both colostrum and breast milk are easily digestible and enhance cognitive functions.
What is the Difference Between Colostrum and Breastmilk?
Colostrum is the first form of breast milk produced by female mammals after the birth of a child. Breast milk is the nutritious fluid produced by the mammary glands of mammals in order to feed the new-born. So, this is the key difference between colostrum and breastmilk. Moreover, colostrum is a thick yellowish fluid, while breast milk is a thin whitish fluid. Thus, this is another difference between colostrum and breastmilk.
The below infographic presents the differences between colostrum and breastmilk in tabular form.
Summary – Colostrum vs Breastmilk
Colostrum is the first form of breast milk. It is very nutritious for a new-born. In fact, it is the ideal nourishment for a new-born. It is rich in protein, immunoglobulin, lactoferrin and growth factors. The purpose of colostrum is to deliver antibodies and immunoglobins that are responsible for boosting the immune system of the new-born and preventing diseases. Breast milk is produced after the release of colostrum. It contains proteins to aid in digestion, fats for brain development and lactose for energy. It is a thinner and whitish colour fluid. Mature breast milk production takes place after two weeks of childbirth. Thus, this is the summary of the difference between colostrums and breastmilk.
1. Streit, Lizzie. “What Is Colostrum? Nutrition, Benefits, and Downsides.” Healthline, Healthline Media, 27 Feb. 2019, Available here.
2. AG, Medela. “Breast Milk Composition: What’s in Your Breast Milk?” Medela, 9 July 2020, Available here.
1. “Bovine colostrum and spray-dried colostrum powder” By Marguerita Briana Cattell – APSBioGroup (CC BY-SA 4.0) via Commons Wikimedia
2. “Colostrum vs breastmilk” By Tonicthebrown – Own work (CC BY 3.0) via Commons Wikimedia