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Milk coming in in pregnancy

(12 Posts)
user1460834928 Mon 18-Apr-16 15:23:16

I'm 24+5 and over the past week my breasts have started to feel full. If I squeeze them a small amount of milk comes out (only on one side at the moment). I've looked it up online and it seems to be perfectly normal to have milk come in during pregnancy, although I didn't have this the first time around.

My question is, is producing milk early any indication of good milk supply? My first was born at 28 weeks and I had to express from day 1 as she was fed by NG Tube for the first 8 weeks. We never managed to fully breastfeed and I think in part it was because my milk supply was so screwed from having to hand express/pump and establish a supply completely artificially. I'm really wanting to breastfeed this time and I'm just wondering if this early milk production is a good sign of healthy supply? In principle I would think that if it's already readily available by the time you come to birth that makes it easier for the baby to latch on straight away because there's already milk to draw the baby's attention? And as such the supply and demand system should kick in straight away? Does anyone have any experience of this?

Artioo2 Mon 18-Apr-16 15:55:38

I don't think there's any link between seeing some milk during pregnancy and supply after birth (many women see no sign of milk at all while pregnant and have no supply issues). What stimulates initial colostrum production is the hormones released during birth, and milk supply, when your milk comes ib, is stimulated by how much the baby feeds in the first few weeks.

I'm sure your supply will be fine. It's incredibly difficult to stimulate a full supply from pumping from day one, I know from experience, my DS2 was also in NICU for several weeks and although I did eventually breast feed, my supply suffered. But issues like this will have no bearing on supply in a subsequent pregnancy. Problems with breastfeeding are usually caused by latch problems and frequency of feeding, not supply, so the main thing is to line up some support (breastfeeding groups, helpline numbers ) in case you need it after the birth. Good luck!

KP86 Mon 18-Apr-16 15:59:41

Express into a clean shot glass, syringe it up and freeze! It will be great for when baby is born before your milk comes in properly.

user1460834928 Mon 18-Apr-16 16:15:37

Thanks Artioo - I'm adamant that I'm going to breastfeed this time so I'll be asking for any help and support I can get. Have you got any experience of groups or services that were especially helpful? It's so tough in NICU trying to establish that supply artificially, then add to that the stress of being in there - I'm sure that makes it suffer too.

I considered that KP but I did a bit of research about if it's safe to express milk during pregnancy and I found out that breast stimulation makes your body release oxytocin which can make your uterus contract (in the same way that bfing makes your uterus contract back down after birth). I'm already having contractions due to an irritable uterus and with my high risk of preterm labour I'm not going to risk it. It's a shame because it would have been great to have some milk already waiting - especially if the baby is born early and tube fed again - but I think it's safer just to leave my breasts alone in my case.

icebearforpresident Mon 18-Apr-16 16:21:18

Certainly haven't heard of any links but,purely anecdotaly, my milk started coming in about the same time as you with both pregnancies and both times I had fantastic supply. Breast feeding didn't work out for us BUT I was able to express milk so much milk for dd1 that she was exclusively fed ebm for almost 7 weeks. And I only stopped when I did because I was going away with friends (with baby) and didn't want to be expressing for hours every day locked in a bedroom.

KP86 Mon 18-Apr-16 16:30:16

Fair enough to not want to do it if you are already high risk.

I expressed milk for my last week weeks of pregnancy (which incidentally went to 40+10!) and had about 25ml to give DS in his first few days which was invaluable as he struggled to latch. Had I known that they have 5ml/MEAL, not per DAY, I would have kept at it and got a lot more. It was sllllooooww going but worth it.

As for your original question, I don't know if there's any official correlation, but anecdotally I had milk beforehand and a massive oversupply. Ended up expressing and donating enough to feed a second child.

user1460834928 Mon 18-Apr-16 16:36:05

That's a good point actually, if I get to 37 weeks then I'd be safe to express so I'd probably do it then. Did you find that it triggered your milk supply sooner as well? Or did that still not really kick in until your baby was born? I've still got loads of sterile syringes from my daughters medications and that was what they gave me at NICU to express in to. My only concern would be that by giving them already expressed milk you're supplementing them (albeit with breast milk) and I worry that that could screw your milk supply once they're born as your body doesn't get a true gauge of the demand.

user1460834928 Mon 18-Apr-16 16:37:45

Oh and good for you for donating your milk. A lot of people don't know that that's an option and a lot of mum's don't like the idea of it but it could actually save a neonates life because breastmilk is so important and can prevent a potentially life threatening gut infection.

Artioo2 Mon 18-Apr-16 16:51:24

There is absolutely no need to express milk before the birth unless there is a risk that you might not be able to feed the baby straight away, if you had complications and needed an op, for example.

In fact, it is a bad idea to supplement feeding in the early days without good reason, even with your own milk. Your supply is directly set early on by how often your baby feeds. If you give the baby milk you expressed before birth, your body won't know this is what's happening and will just assume less milk is needed and will produce less.

All you should worry about is feeding as often as the baby asks for it after birth. There is no need to worry about giving the baby 'extra' before your milk comes in. All the baby needs at this stage is colostrum in small amounts. It may not even be obvious how much colostrum the baby is getting, as they're much more efficient at extracting it than expression is.

Artioo2 Mon 18-Apr-16 16:53:03

Sorry, forgot to answer your question - I found the lactation consultant at my hospital to be very helpful with advice, but there's also an NCT and La Leche League helpline too,and often local breastfeeding groups.

KP86 Mon 18-Apr-16 16:56:01

I had no issues with milk coming in, but was expressing from the start due to the poor latch, so my body wouldn't have had the right signals from him anyway. He just refused the breast to begin with. I was still getting 30+ml on day 2 or 3 by hand expressing, IIRC. At my peak (when DS was 100% EBM) I was expressing between 1.5 and 2L/day.

He was a little piggy too, on his first or second night home (less than one week old) he drank more than 100ml from a bottle in one go. We started at about 40ml and had to keep topping him up. He screamed his head off for more than an hour because we couldn't believe he could possibly still be hungry and then had another 20ml with my parents and slept for the rest of the night.

user1460834928 Mon 18-Apr-16 17:04:13

Thanks so much Aritoo. That's what I was thinking about supplementing in the early days. I'm going to have a look to see what local groups I can find and I'll have a look at those that you mentioned too. Thanks again.

Wow KP that is a LOT of milk. The most I ever managed was 40ml every 3 hours which was less than 500ml a day. Because I was having supply issues I then started taking domperidone (which funnily enough my daughter was also being prescribed for reflux) but a side effect of the medication was that it can increase lactation. It didn't really do much but they changed the licensing laws while I was taking it so I had to stop and that then reduced my supply massively. Hindsight is a great thing but I really wish I'd never started taking it. I also took Fenugreek but not sure how much it helped, it didn't have a negative impact though.

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