Worried about colostrum

(28 Posts)
steakchipsandfriedeggs Sun 24-Mar-13 18:45:43

I have decided that I don't wish to BF from birth for personal reasons (please don't judge, I have really agonised over this). In a perfect world, I would ideally combine expressed milk with formula, however I really don't know whether this will happen.

My DH would have liked me to BF but understands my situation and is being very supportive. He would like to know that his PFB is receiving colostrum if at all possible. He totally understands how I can't bring myself to do this in the conventional way, however I would also like to at least try to ensure my baby gets this.

As a rather clueless first time mum, can anyone give me any advice with this? Can I express colostrum? I really have no idea. Any advice would be much appreciated!

Ps, I know a lot of people will just say that i should just BF and stop being selfish. This won't be helpful to me as I really do have my reasons for not doing so, but I do want to be the best mum I possibly can. I haven't come to this decision lightly, I think about it every day hmm thank you.

JoulesM Tue 09-Apr-13 09:39:58

It might sound silly but I had a home birth with a pool for labour for my second and felt much less naked and exposed than I did with my first hospital birth. The fact I was at home meant I wasn't scared about random people walking in and the midwife had visited me at home from 30 weeks onwards so I felt like I knew her (although she was stunning so I was somewhat scared to bare my huge arse when I got into the pool!). The pool also meant I could hug into the side so apart from the times she stood behind to have a look (from a distance) I didn't feel exposed at all! Being in the pool also minimises internal examinations as midwives who do them a lot are good at reading the signs (breathing, pace and pattern of contractions) as they know how much of a hassle it would be to make you get out of the pool!

I would try not to worry too much, you might find that the primal part of you takes over and you are completely fine! Good luck smile

HenD19 Tue 09-Apr-13 09:30:34

I really wouldn't worry about being exposed in labour as don't think you'll care once you're in agony. Don't think you'll be able to avoid examinations either I'm afraid. Sounds like a good plan to express colostrum and see how you get on. Hope all goes well.

forbetterorworsted Tue 09-Apr-13 09:25:16

You sound like an amazing mum already, by the way. Whatever you decide, your baby will be so loved and that is the most important thing.

forbetterorworsted Tue 09-Apr-13 09:23:22

Re: internals, I hated them and mentioned this during one of my baby groups. The NCT volunteer told me about 'the purple line'. I think this appears on your perineum and the length of it can be an indication of progress. She said any good midwife should be able to tell where you are by looking at both the line and other behaviours (sounds you make, for example). Have a google about it and see what you think.

I'm definitely remembering this for next time! I thought internals were necessary to ensure baby's well being but they really aren't.

steakchipsandfriedeggs Wed 27-Mar-13 21:47:50

Thank you everyone, might actually need you all at the birth for some moral support!!!

I would really like to stop thinking and winding myself up about all of this, so your comments have been nothing but reassuring to me. Considering that I have had a fairly easy pregnancy so far, it would be nice to stop obsessing over it all and enjoy the rest of it. Thank you everyone xxx

Jenijena Wed 27-Mar-13 21:36:18

Just wanted to say... At my hospital it was easier to ff than to bf, in fact I felt a bit awkward for bfeeding my not-very-interested-little-boy, there was no judgement at all about using bottles. In the labour room my midwife was very good at covering me up (I've never had a smear test because I couldn't stand the thought, and was very surprised to be happy giving birth without many clothes on), and did everything she could to make sure I preserved some dignity. I don't know how you feel about tight clothes, but a friend wore a tankini top during her water births, if that was something you would be able to consider.

I hope this gives you some reassurance, and hope you have a sympathetic midwife.

JiltedJohnsJulie Wed 27-Mar-13 20:47:12

It's not unreasonable to put it in your birth plan at all and if your mw is any good, she should be keeping interventions to a minimum anyway.

Try not to worry too much, I know that's easy for me to say though. Both of my labours have been with just one mw. No one else came in, and they really respected my wishes.

Samvet Wed 27-Mar-13 20:36:58

Sympathy OP -I am similar - make sure your DH knows your preferences, my labour is a bit of a blur but I really remember my DH saying 'no don't take her bra off she wants it on' and pulling covers over me! You won't care as much as you think but I know you won't believe that now - write it all in birth plan for sure - I did. I specified I didn't want to be exposed and it was all quire discrete despite a complex labour.

steakchipsandfriedeggs Wed 27-Mar-13 20:32:46

Thank you for all your advice and experiences. I have a MW appt next week and I'm hoping to discuss my concerns with her regarding bf-ing, being exposed as well as internal examinations etc. I know I should just suck it up and accept that a lot of things I'm not going to feel comfortable with are going to happen, but I really would feel better if I knew that I could request minimal exposure and that internals were kept to an absolute minimum. I would never want my baby to be in any danger, but every time I think about labour and being partially naked, I feel so sick. I'm not afraid of pain at all, but I am afraid of tearing and having to be stitched in full view of everyone and then having follow up checks (not to mention if I have ongoing issues).

I know I might seem like I have issue after issue, but pregnancy throws up so many surprises that I had never even considered before. Am I unreasonable to request in my birth plan that I'm not to be pushed to BF and that I want minimal internals and that I would like to protect my modesty as much as possible?

BadgerFace Mon 25-Mar-13 01:48:40

DI'm another one who expressed colostrum because my baby wouldn't latch (she was too sleepy!). I then fed it to her via a syringe.

Wishing you the best.

Welovegrapes Sun 24-Mar-13 23:42:21

Only stupid people would judge - you obviously care massively about your Dc.

LLL do an antenatal expressing colostrum info sheet - you can practise from 36 weeks before baby is born and freeze in syringes for those first feeds. Iirc it is about £1.50 from their online shop and they also do one on hand expressing as well.

You may just find you feel differently about the birth and bf when it comes to it. I am massively shy about nudity and communal changing rooms would never be something I could do. But in labour I found instincts took over and I couldn't care less. Bf felt totally natural too and DS literally reached up to feed moments after he was born - it felt so right and I went on to bf.

Jojobump1986 Sun 24-Mar-13 23:30:33

Yy to 'pus from a zit'! grin I'm pregnant with DS2 & have been lactating on & off for ages... I can never resist having a little squeeze when I'm in the bath, just to see if I can get some out! blush grin

TwitchyTail Sun 24-Mar-13 22:41:46

Another person here whose baby got all colostrum expressed through syringe (lazy bugger wouldn't suck grin ) - easy to do, tiny amounts but strangely satisfying, like squeezing pus out of a zit.

Jojobump1986 Sun 24-Mar-13 22:26:44

My DS didn't take to feeding for nearly a week so all feeds were expressed for him until then! Hand expressing is easy once you get the hang of it - maybe ask the midwife to show you on a pretend breast. Our MWs had knitted breasts! I'm sure they could show you the basic technique that way & then it's just a case of you practicing until it's as efficient as possible.

A little word of warning though, make sure you research the amounts the baby should be getting. For the first few feeds we were told that just a few mls was a good feed for him so when we went home we continued that & started slowly increasing it without realising that once the milk came in the required amounts go up to 30+mls per feed! blush

You'll probably want a nipple cream if you're going to be expressing lots - I found I got a bit bruised in the first few days but it was fine once my skin got used to it.

Good luck with everything! smile

steakchipsandfriedeggs Sun 24-Mar-13 22:11:10

My DH could come, I would like to think that my midwife will be supportive but I've not seen the same one twice since becoming pregnant. I've been trying to put this all to the back of my mind until later on down the line but I'm 23 weeks now and I guess I need to start putting some thought into my birth plan.

JiltedJohnsJulie Sun 24-Mar-13 22:00:51

Is there someone you could take with you to your MWs appointment for support?

steakchipsandfriedeggs Sun 24-Mar-13 21:45:34

Everyone here is being so supportive, I'm so surprised. I know I shouldn't be, but when I have a real concern I find it hard to not obsess over it and think that others may not be so supportive. I've read so many scary stories about midwives pressurising mothers into BFing that I guess I'm assuming that I'll be judged forevermore. I really shouldn't do this but it's so difficult not to, plus the guilt I'm feeling about not wanting to BF naturally adds to the paranoia I suppose. I'm dreading bringing all this up at next midwife appt hmm

Thank you to everyone for being so lovely! X

forbetterorworsted Sun 24-Mar-13 21:22:26

I think all colostrum feeds were expressed and syringe fed for my little one! He didn't learn to breastfeed until my milk had come in.

I was provided a pump as well as hand expressing. I preferred the pump as I found it easier. The midwives should help you. Don't be alarmed by the small amount, your baby's stomach is tiny!

Would expressing colostrum stimulate milk supply for you more than a mother who hadn't expressed? If so you may need some advice on making yourself comfortable once your milk comes in and you want to stop.

Don't rule out exclusive expressing, you may find you're good at it! Even if you could pump for one feed a day and the rest formula, it would still be beneficial. Some mothers pump exclusively for a variety of reasons so it can be successful, though don't be disheartened if pumping doesn't work for you.

JiltedJohnsJulie Sun 24-Mar-13 21:01:48

If being exposed is an issue for you, please make sure its really visible in your birth plan and ask them to stick a note on the door asking people to knock and wait for a reply. Have you considered having a home birth too? Would you feel more comfortable at home with one or two MWs?

You should be able to express privately too smile

MrsHoarder Sun 24-Mar-13 19:23:40

Perfectly understandable. Suggest you ask for expressing guidelines at your ante natal class, especially if you'd rather avoid expressing in front of the midwife.

And don't be surprised if you feel like trying bf when the baby is born, I felt a lot less weird and exposed about it than I expected. If you want to keep covered, have you considered letting your dh have some skin to skin time? He could do this when you go to have a shower maybe.

MiconiumHappens Sun 24-Mar-13 19:14:21

My baby also had his first feed through expressing then syringed into his mouth, can't really remember why now, think he was just wanting to sleep smile good luck and enjoy smile

steakchipsandfriedeggs Sun 24-Mar-13 19:11:45

The extra issue I have without going into it too much, is that I'm terrified of being or feeling exposed. I have accepted the fact that i will be partially exposed for the actual labour side of things, however I really want to stay covered up as much as possible afterwards. I can barely look in the mirror at myself. I know it sounds ridiculous to many, but it's a tiny factor in the issues I have with myself. hmm

Forgetfulmog Sun 24-Mar-13 19:10:52

Ask the midwives to show you how & to provide you with some little dishes to express into & then syringes that you can use to suck up the colostrum & feed it to DC. That's how my dd had her first feed (prem & couldn't suckle)

Casmama Sun 24-Mar-13 19:03:25

Make sure you get the midwives to show you properly how to do it as poor technique can make it very frustrating and ineffective. How you feed your baby is your business and no one else's.

steakchipsandfriedeggs Sun 24-Mar-13 18:56:02

That's very kind of you tiktok, I just want to be the best (slightly clueless) mummy I can be smile

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