Anyone started hand expressing before birth?

(12 Posts)
Emmiedarling Sun 19-Aug-12 13:59:17

I am having a scheduled c-section in September and there are some concerns about my baby being unwell when he's born.

They anticipate he will need to go into intensive care and be put on a drip. The doctor also mentioned that they will want to give him formula milk from the off. I am not best pleased by this - I wanted to breast feed him exclusively and feed him as early as possible.

Now, I understand that the doctors will want to do whats best for him and his health, but I just want to know if there is another alternative.

I went to see the Breast Feeding specialist at the hospital last week and she suggested that it isn't that breast milk wont be as good, it's just that it might not come quick enough as I am having a c-section.

She suggested that I start hand expressing a couple of days before I due to go in in the hope I get myself going!!!

Anyone done this/heard of this before?

Thanks and sorry if it's a bit waffly.

TruthSweet Sun 19-Aug-12 15:18:19

It's quite commonly recommended for diabetic mums (amongst others) - there is some info on ante-natal expressing here and here.

Is there a reason that colostrum isn't going to be suitable for your baby (I can't think of any off hand barring galactosaemia or PKU) or is it that they want the baby to take large volumes (though why they would want baby to take more than their stomach capacity hmm)?

You can hand express colostrum from 36 weeks if you want (I am 35 weeks and will be starting in a few days to build up a stock pile just in case) and whilst you don't expect to get more than a few drops/mls they all add up considering baby's stomach capacity is 5-7mls on day 1.

IvanaNap Sun 19-Aug-12 15:20:29

Good suggestions above, also would you consider donor-mums breast milk if your hospital offers it?

AngelDog Sun 19-Aug-12 21:54:12

Truth, do you know why it says not to use a breastpump for antenatal expressing?

I'm hoping to do a bit of expressing to build a small stock just in case, but hand expressing has never worked for me. I'd just planned on using my hand pump. (Obviously I'm still feeding 2.7 y.o. DS, so I can't imagine that a bit of extra breast stimulation would be that much of an issue, if that's the reason.)

TruthSweet Sun 19-Aug-12 22:17:30

I think probably because the amount of colostrum you would get most of it would be stuck in the pump and not easy to get out.

Or perhaps because someone may be tempted to sit with a double electric pump for a few hours and get sore nipples?

Or because hand expressing gets mum more comfortable with her breasts?

The 'losing most of the colostrum' theory is my favourite though wink

I have actually just done my first expressing this evening and got out 2.5mls even though DD3 obviously is swallowing more than that when she nurses. It really does come out in tiny drips and drops!

AngelDog Mon 20-Aug-12 08:45:35

Well, I think I'll have a try. At best, hand expressing has made me engorged without actually getting any milk out. Other times just nothing comes out. confused

RedKites Mon 20-Aug-12 10:13:44

What do/would you hand express into? Am guessing little syringes or similar, but do you know where to get hold of them?

Toddle Mon 20-Aug-12 12:08:59

I was over due so started pumping hoping nipple stimulation might kick things off. I couldnt get the hang of catching the drops when hand expressing so used a pump instead. At first I would only get a few drops but after a few days I would get between 1-2 ounces. My milk came in pretty quick after birth (not sure if related) and we had no trouble with post natal weight loss which was reassuring. My nipples have been fine not or sore even in the first week when it seemed he would be at the breast literally all day. I've heard people talk about how it's less uncomfortable after your nipples have toughened up a bit so maybe mine did that with the pump before ds had a chance to make them sore.

I couldn't find any syringes to store it it but you can get ice Cube trays with lids so I froze it in there then popped them into breast milk storage bags.

TruthSweet Mon 20-Aug-12 14:07:40

I got some medicine syringes from the local chemist (I just asked the pharmacy assistant for some and they were 60p each) but I express into a small plastic pot and then suck up the colostrum with the syringe.

If you are freezing the syringe you need to pull the plunger back so that the colostrum can expand a little as it freezes.

Also freezing the syringe upright in a container so the colostrum doesn't leak out if it's laid on it's side and when frozen you can put in a plastic freezer bag with the date of expressing on.

AnitaBlake Mon 20-Aug-12 14:42:48

Does your hospital have breastfeding friendly status? I'm shocked at the advice they've given you. Kellymom most likely has advice, and you can always call one of the helplines.

I'm planning an ELCS and will be harvesting colostrum in case anything goes wrong/I need to feed baby by alternative methods after last time. (baby was FF against my wishes, but I wasn't able to communicate this as too stuffed full of drugs). You can get little stoppers for the syringes (not sure where from, they just appeared last time!). I got the syringes, which were sterile-sealed, and seperately sealed stoppers for them.

I'm not sure why baby will NEED milk directly after birth, that's really confusing since every other baby NEEDS colostrum! Do you have a local BFC that can help fight your corner for you?

I think the not using a pump thing is simpl because there's so little colostrum, and it's so sticky, that you would lose most of it in the mechanics of the pump. I definitely found hand-expressing quite easy to do in the early days smile They gave me petri-dishes to express into and then I hoovered it up with the syringes.

Theres a few threads on here about milk coming in after a c-section, it's unlikely to make much of a difference as the removal of the placenta (or the placenta no longer being in place) is the trigger for the hormone release which begins milk production.

Emmiedarling Mon 20-Aug-12 17:17:23

Thank you for all your replies.

I will do some investigating re. syringes and talk to my Obs about it next time I see him.

I can't see if I have it there - ready and waiting - why they would give baby formula.

We shall see!

Emmiedarling Mon 20-Aug-12 17:18:39

p.s When I saw the breast feeding specialist at the hospital, she showed me how to hand express and I was bloody impressed (haha) didn't think I'd ever get any milk out a) before baby arrived and b) without a pump!

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