How to Store Colostrum?

If you have recently had a baby and are trying to store your colostrum, there are a few things that you should know. One of them is that storing your colostrum in the refrigerator or freezer is a great way to keep it fresh. Another is that you should express your colostrum before it has time to turn into pus. This will help your baby have a healthier start in life.

When pregnant, it is important to know how to store colostrum. Colostrum is the first milk that a woman produces after giving birth. It is a rich source of nutrients and antibodies. Besides, it can be useful in emergencies. To collect colostrum, you can use a syringe or a spoon. After you have expressed it, you can freeze it for long-term storage. Afterward, you can give it to your baby. But remember that storing colostrum is a little different from storing breast milk.


What is Colostrum?

Mammals, including humans, generate colostrum as the first milk after giving birth. It is a thick, yellowish fluid that helps to protect neonates from illness and infection since it is full of antibodies, proteins, and other nutrients. Another name for colostrum is “initial milk” or “pre-milk.” Before switching to mature milk, it is only generated briefly after delivery, often for the first few days. It is regarded as important because it provides neonates with the nutrients and immunity they need during their first few days of life.

How to Store Colostrum?

Depending on the purpose and amount of time spent in storage, there are various ways to keep colostrum.

Here are a few ways to keep colostrum fresh:

  • Freshly expressed colostrum can be kept in the fridge for 72 hours in a clean container.
  • Colostrum can be frozen and kept in a freezer bag or airtight container. The date it was expressed, maintained, and used within six months should all be noted on the container or bag.
  • Additionally, colostrum can be dried and kept as a powder for longer-term use. It is possible to accomplish this by either spreading it out on a spotless surface and letting it dry naturally or using a dehydrator. It can be dried and then kept in an airtight container for 1-2 years before being utilized.

As well as adhering to standard food safety regulations while handling it, it’s critical to ensure that the colostrum is collected and stored in a clean and sanitary setting.

What is the Correct Method of Freezing the Colostrum?

Colostrum can be stored for later use by being frozen.

To freeze colostrum, follow these instructions.

  • Colostrum should be expressed into a sterile container or breastmilk storage bag. Make sure to write the date it was said and store it in the container or bag.
  • To keep any air from entering, securely close the container or bag.
  • The back of the freezer, where the temperature is most stable, is where you should put the container or bag.
  • Let the colostrum freeze. It can require several hours or perhaps a night.
  • Colostrum can be frozen and kept there for up to six months.

Colostrum should be used within 24 hours after it has thawed and should not be refrozen. Additionally, it is advised to use a designated container or storage bag made especially to store breastmilk because they are leak-proof, BPA-free, and include a double zipper seal to prevent contamination.

How to Defrost Frozen Colostrum?

The procedure to defrost frozen colostrum is as follows:

  • Colostrum should be taken out of the freezer and put in the refrigerator to thaw. Depending on the quantity of colostrum and the temperature of your refrigerator, this could take several hours.
  • You can also thaw frozen colostrum in warm water for 20 to 30 minutes.
  • Colostrum needs to be used within 24 hours of defrosting. Thawed colostrum should not be refrozen.
  • It’s crucial to transfer the colostrum into a clean bottle or container after it has thawed. If colostrum is not being administered straight from a bottle, it is equally crucial to use a sterile feeding syringe or dropper.
  • Colostrum should be thrown out if it shows any signs of discoloration, odor, or clumping.

It’s also crucial to remember that if colostrum is given to a newborn, it’s better to warm it to body temperature before doing so because it might be painful for the infant to consume.

How Long does Colostrum Last in the Fridge?

Colostrum can be kept in the refrigerator for up to 72 hours after it is expressed. After production, the colostrum should be told and stored as soon as possible since the longer it remains at room temperature, the more germs can grow and affect the colostrum’s quality.

As soon as colostrum is expressed, it must be put in a clean container, marked with the date it was told, and preserved and put as quickly as possible in the refrigerator. When colostrum is expressed, it should be used within 72 hours or frozen for longer-term storage.

What is the Difference Between Colostrum and Breast Milk?

A breastfeeding mother produces both colostrum and breast milk, but there are several key distinctions between the two.

A woman produces her first milk right after giving birth, called colostrum. It is a thick, yellowish fluid full of proteins, antibodies, and other nutrients that assist in shielding babies from illness and infection. “First milk” or “pre-milk” are different names for colostrum. It is only generated briefly after birth, typically for the first few days.

Contrarily, a woman’s breast milk is the milk she produces after colostrum and continues to make during lactation. Compared to colostrum, it is lighter in color and thinner in texture. It also includes more fat and lactose but less protein and antibodies. The nutritional requirements of the newborn fluctuate over time, which is also true of breast milk.

In conclusion, colostrum, the first milk generated after birth, is thicker, yellowish, high in antibodies, and produces for only a brief time. It is created during lactation and evolves to satisfy the baby’s growing nutritional needs. The next milk produced after colostrum is breast milk, which is thinner, lighter in color, and higher in fat and lactose.

Why is Colostrum Important for Baby?

Colostrum is crucial for neonates for several reasons.

  • Immune system boost: By fortifying babies’ immune systems, the abundance of antibodies in colostrum can help shield them from illnesses and infections.
  • Colostrum is a rich supply of nutrients, including minerals, proteins, carbs, and lipids, all of which are necessary for the growth and development of neonates.
  • Colostrum is easier to digest than mature milk, which is advantageous for infants whose digestive systems have not yet fully matured.
  • Supports bowel movements: Colostrum is also believed to aid in the passage of meconium, a first bowel movement that can be challenging for newborns.
  • High quantities of bilirubin-binding proteins found in colostrum can assist in avoiding jaundice in infants, a disease in which the skin and whites of the eyes appear yellow because of elevated bilirubin levels in the blood.
  • Unique hormones and growth factors: The stomach, brain, immune system, and other organs are protected and matured by the individual hormones and growth factors found in colostrum.

Overall, colostrum is crucial for infants since it gives them the nutrients and immunity they need during their first few days of life and aids in developing their bodies and immune systems.

How to Identify Whether Colostrum has Gone Bad?

It’s crucial to know how to spot spoiled colostrum so that it can be thrown away rather than consumed.

  • Colostrum that appears discolored, such as brown or green, suggests that it may have gone bad. Fresh colostrum is usually yellow or clear. Here are some indications that colostrum may be spoiled:
  • Off-odor: Fresh colostrum should have a mildly sweet aroma; otherwise, it may have gone bad. If it smells sour or rancid, it may have gone not good.
  • If there are clumps or lumps, the colostrum may have gone sour. Fresh colostrum should be homogeneous and smooth.
  • Tastes sour or bitter: Colostrum should taste slightly sweet when it is fresh, but if it tastes sour or upset, it may have gone bad.

It is advised to throw away the colostrum if any of these symptoms are present because consuming damaged or tainted colostrum might be harmful. Additionally, it’s critical to remember that colostrum should be handled with care and stored in a space that has been thoroughly cleaned and sanitized.

What are the Side Effects of Consuming Spoiled Colostrum?

Consuming rotten colostrum may cause several adverse reactions due to the possibility of it containing dangerous bacteria or other pollutants.

The following are a few possible negative effects of swallowing spoiled colostrum:

  • Consuming rotten colostrum may result in gastrointestinal symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and stomach cramps.
  • Spoiled colostrum can result in food poisoning, a sickness brought on by eating tainted food or drink. Food poisoning symptoms include fever, chills, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and dehydration.
  • Some people may experience allergic responses to spoilt colostrum, which can result in hives, rash, itching, and breathing difficulties.
  • Illnesses: Contaminated colostrum may include harmful bacteria like salmonella or E. coli that might result in infections.
  • Reduced immunity: Consuming spoilt colostrum might reduce your body’s ability to fend against illnesses and infections.

To prevent potential negative effects, it is crucial to discard any colostrum that is rotten or contaminated and not consume it. It’s critical to get medical help immediately if you’ve swallowed tainted colostrum and are feeling any unfavorable side effects.

Reference: Case Study: Effects Of Colostrum Ingestion on Lactational Performance1

Overall, the increased colostrum feeding and subsequent herd management practices resulted in an increase of 550 kg in real milk produced per cow throughout the first two lactations. In addition to the health benefits that have been extensively studied, herd managers should promote the feeding of 4 L of colostrum to newborn calves because doing so would provide direct financial help to the producer of about $160 per cow in additional milk produced throughout two lactations.


Colostrum is an important food source that prevents the baby from getting sick and helps develop the immune system. The best way to store colostrum is in a cold temperature-controlled environment. This will allow the milk to remain at a comfortable temperature for your baby to consume. If it is not stored correctly, it cannot go well.

You can use your freezer to store colostrum. Frozen milk will thaw more quickly than warm milk, but you will also need to take care not to overthrow the milk. Please place it in a double-bagged freezer container to ensure it doesn’t get stale.