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Colostrum harvesting(5 Posts)
I have been treated for high blood pressure this pregnancy and have had colostrum harvesting recommended to me by my midwife. Has anyone else done this? I'd never heard of it before today.
Have done a little bit of reading and it seems I need to hand express from 37w to have a frozen 'shot' of colostrum for when baby is born at 38w.
I have no idea how easy or hard this will be.anyone else done this?
I did it was recommended to me because of gestational diabetes. I picked up some 1mm syringes from the pharmacy and slowly but surely expressed into those over a week.
Youtube has some videos for advice, I also found a good how to at the bottom of this page www.gestationaldiabetes.co.uk/colostrum-harvesting/
It got much easier over the week, I took in 5ml though the mw at the hospital said 7 would have been better they threatened to top him up with formula but it wasn't necessary in the end.
Biggest benefit I found was with a very sleepy new born who wasn't much interested in feeding, I was able to keep expressing into syringes and feed them to him slowly until his interest picked up
The MWs at the hospital were helpful, storing it in the fridge until it was needed. They also said I could have got a harvesting kit from them for free
I would heartily recommend. I did this just to familiarise myself with my breasts. When I started at 37 weeks I was getting 1ml in a session and by 40 weeks I was getting 5/6ml. It was a bit fiddly to begin with but manageable.
Turns out I needed what I froze as baby ended up (I expectedly) in NICU for a few hours and this bank of colostrum meant no need for tube/iv feeding. He gobbled the whole stash of 50ml+ and I’m convinced that the harvesting helped us get off to a flying start with breastfeeding which otherwise would have been challenging.
I haven't done it yet, but I plan to this pregnancy. My first was born early ish (just 37 weeks) and had latch issues and was just sleepy and had no suckling reflex, so we had all sorts of issues to start. I ended up supplementing with formula initially, which I should emphasise is absolutely fine and there is nothing wrong with using formula. But I know I have plenty of colostrum. I've been leaking it daily since 20 weeks this time! So I figure I might as well make some use of it and I find the idea of knowing it's there reassuring in case I do have any difficulties.
I found a guide published by University Hospital Southampton to be really helpful. Have a google and see if you can locate it. I have a set of small plastic test tubes with screw on lids and I plan to sterilise these and express into them. I'll free them each day after I've done a few expressing sessions and then can thaw to cup feed or feed by syringe when I need them. If I don't need them, I just plan to offer them as an extra top up feed at some point so they get used up even if baby is feeding just fine. Many people recommend expressing into a sterile spoon and then sucking up with a syringe and freezing that. But I couldn't find any syringes with caps small enough and frankly the idea of trying to hold a spoon and not spill it while expressing seems tricky. That's how I came up with the test tube idea. No clue how it will really work yet, but it seems like it should be easier.
Hand expressing is easy enough once you get the hang of it. I don't know what baby this is for you? I did some hand expressing after my first was born (to get colostrum for her because she couldn't latch well), so it's a bit easier when you've done it already and your boobs just sort of know what to do. But you should have no problem with some practice. I'm 35 weeks and can already hand express plenty if I wanted to (but holding off til 37 weeks just in case).
Thanks for the replies, this is DS2 but never attempted breastfeeding with DS1 due to medication issues. I am a nurse so have easy access to syringes .
Bit nervous about bf but excited to give it a go, no issues moving to formula if bf fails though.
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