Colostrum Benefits and Administration

  • Description
  • Credit Hours
  • Outline



Human colostrum is a vital first food tailored to assist the newborn’s transition to extrauterine life. In this Innovating Practice through Research and Evidence presentation, we explore three noteworthy studies related to components, oral administration and benefits of colostrum.

First, components of colostrum are discussed in overview with particular attention given to the role of colostral cytokines. There are many cytokines in human milk acting as cell-signaling proteins for intercellular communication. Davanzo et al identify for the first the presence of the cytokine TRAIL (or tumor necrosis factor-related apoptosis inducing ligand) in human milk with extremely high concentrations found in human colostrum. After discussing proposed benefits of cytokines for infants, we review research by Rodriquez et al that examines the feasibility of administering small amounts of colostrum to ELBW NICU infants. Lastly the presentation progresses a step further, discussing a potential role of early colostrum administration a variable that might reduce the risk of necrotizing enterocolitis in preterm infants. As always, further research is needed in reaching absolute conclusions but the research thus far suggests early administration of colostrum has benefits extending beyond nutrition for human infants.

1 Hour 0 Minutes
Course ID

Credit Hours

  • Nursing - 1.0 Contact Hours


Section One

  • Describe at least three physiologic actions of cytokines.
  • Compare concentrations of TRAIL in human colostrum, milk, serum and infant formulas.
  • Discuss the role of cytokines in relation to the human OFALT system.

Section Two

  • Discuss the potential advantages of colostrum administration to infants who are being fed by NG or OG tube.
  • Discuss the quantities of colostrum required in the study by Rodriguez et al for two days of colostrum administration.
  • Identify preterm infants’ responses to colostrum administration as discussed by Rodriguez et al.

Section Three

  • Identify the differences between Bells’ stages of NEC I-III.
  • Discuss the findings in the study by Miner et al regarding the effects of colostrum feeding on the incidence of NEC progression.
  • Evaluate at least three beneficial components of human colostrum for preterm infants.

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