Most women begin leaking colostrum in the second half of their pregnancy, according to Medicinenet. This milk lasts until the first few days following the birth. While there is not much colostrum there, it does help to prepare the baby's gut for digesting the breast milk that follows, and it has other protective benefits.
While some women produce colostrum that is thick and golden, others secrete a clear fluid. During the first few days of feeding, babies benefit from the milk's immunological powers. It contains antibodies and immunoglobulins that help develop their immune system and protect them against bacteria and viruses. At the same time, it causes infants to produce meconium, which is the runny feces they produce during their first few days.
Following the first few days, doctors recommend that mothers breastfeed exclusively for the first 6 months. This means no supplementing with juice, water or formula, if possible. However, it is worth bearing in mind that some breastfeeding is better than not breastfeeding at all, and not everyone chooses to breastfeed exclusively.
Following the first 6 months, mothers can begin mixing breastfeeding with solid foods. Women who are experiencing problems while breastfeeding may wish to consider different positions, or they can talk to a lactation consultant.