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Colostrum harvesting prior to birth

(52 Posts)
sammylou1 Mon 30-Jan-17 17:45:59

Hi all

I have been advised to start collecting colostrum for my twins who will be born at 34 weeks. The problem is I'm getting nothing!
Can anyone help/share their story of how long it took to see results.... is it possible my boobs just don't work?! Any tips welcome, I already started with a warm bath and massage, plus I had a scan pic and baby clothes with me while trying.

Thank you in advance

LeSquigh Mon 30-Jan-17 17:49:02

Is that even possible? Nothing at all came out of my boobs until my DS was about 4-5 days old last time (I didn't breastfeed) but I don't know if that was normal? I certainly didn't think it came before?

ElphabaTheGreen Mon 30-Jan-17 17:50:20

Eh? Who has said you 'need' to do this? Sounds like BS to me...

C4Envelope Mon 30-Jan-17 17:50:43

Yeah I was producing around 36 weeks. Keep trying OP. The more stimulation the better.

PotteringAlong Mon 30-Jan-17 17:50:50

Your boobs (probably) work just fine! I'm currently 40+1 with DC 3 - today one boob leaked a little for the very first time in any pregnancy. I fed my first 2 for 18 months and have every intention of doing so now. How much you can express, in pregnancy or after birth, is no indication of supply.

Congratulations on your twins flowers

Melmam Mon 30-Jan-17 17:52:35

I think sometimes it just depends on the person if you cant get any just give it time and see what happenes if nothing comes I dont think there is much you can do im now 34 weeks pregnant with my second and both times I started leaking around the 19 week mark. How many weeks are you now

ElphabaTheGreen Mon 30-Jan-17 17:52:41

I could get colostrum out pre-birth for both my pregnancies, but I can't imagine it would have been enough to actually express. It was tiny drops when I hand-expressed - nothing actually 'harvestable'.

JohnLapsleyParlabane Mon 30-Jan-17 17:56:15

I did this as I knew if I had an EMCS it would be under GA. What worked for me was: warm shower then sitting quietly on my own and working in towards the nipple then firm regular squeezing. I didn't get much the first few days but had built up a decent stash by the end. There are some very helpful videos on YouTube.

sammylou1 Mon 30-Jan-17 18:00:33

I'm 32 weeks 3 days today and twins are being delivered at 34 due to complications. I've seen the breast feeding specialists at my hospital who have shown me how and provided the syringes. It's definitely possible.

Elphaba - they're talking about 1ml ish a day, but stocking it up to tube feed my babies. So not a lot each time.

Thanks C4 and John, I'll try again later. X

ElphabaTheGreen Mon 30-Jan-17 20:35:08

Huh...every day's a school day! Best of luck OP flowers

MyWineTime Mon 30-Jan-17 20:39:54

I started leaking from about 20 weeks but even then it took a few days to get a good supply going.
Be patient and don't overdo it. I found an electric pump worked best for me.

RNBrie Mon 30-Jan-17 20:45:38

I did this for dc2 and 3. I had a nightmare feeding dc1 so I was advised to stockpile colostrum in preparation. It was a really reassuring safety net.

Op, you need to do it two or three times a day. Hand express into a sterilised teaspoon, you'll only get a few drops at first, stop if it gets sore. Suck it up into a clean syringe. Store in the fridge and use the same syringe for one day, then label and freeze.

I was getting about 10ml a day by the end.

I agree it's not necessary for everyone to do and I know nothing about having twins but it was really nice to know my babies were getting enough to eat as we worked through their feeding issues (all sorts of tongue and lip ties!)

Cantchooseaname Mon 30-Jan-17 20:47:07

I managed at 36 weeks- 1ml to start with- and that would take at least an hour initially. Quiet persistence.
Oh and collecting it was a faff- suck up in syringe as you produce it, then when plunger is at limit, invert it- point open end up, squeeze out air and carry on.
I froze it and took it with me- never to be seen again!!

Checkthisout Mon 30-Jan-17 20:48:07

I'm 30 weeks on Friday & my boobs are already producing colostrum.

Checkthisout Mon 30-Jan-17 20:51:31

I wanted to do this but some women really scared me by saying that expressing colostrum would result in early labour & it's put me off doing it in preparation for when my baby is here.

drinkyourmilk Mon 30-Jan-17 20:58:39

I have GD and have been advised to start from 36 weeks as baby may need extra help to regulate it's blood sugar.
Midwife has shown me how, and said that even a little goes a long way.

seven201 Mon 30-Jan-17 21:00:12

I was advised to do this as I had gestational diabetes, pre-eclampsia and was having a c-section (breech). It's good to help regulate blood sugar levels of the baby. My diabetes diagnosis was really late on so I had 3 days and got so bloody stressed. I ruined my nipples trying and had to use nipple shields for the first month after dd arrived as they were already red raw. Just saying so you don't go over board with the trying like I did! The hand expressing did not work at all for me. In the end I bought a hand breast pump and would pump about three times (presses of the handle thing) to get one tiny drop on my nipple. I then sucked it up with the 1ml sterile syringes. I got a grand total of about 1.2ml over three days after hours of trying sad but newborns are so very very tiny and their stomached especially tiny so I do believed it helped. Good luck!

RNBrie Mon 30-Jan-17 21:20:53

There is a theory that nipple stimulation can bring on labour checkthisout which as far as I can tell is a rumour that stems from one scientific study (or perhaps they did the study to see if an old wives tale was true, not sure) which actually only showed that nipple stimulation helps the cervix soften and shortens labour. Not one of the women in the study went in to pre-term labour. And the nipple stimulation was something like three hours worth a day.

I can't remember all of the detail but the study came up with a quick Google.

ElphabaTheGreen Mon 30-Jan-17 21:40:51

Many women also breastfeed for the duration of their pregnancies without issues or midwife/consultant advice not to. I do know of someone who was advised to stop because her pregnancy was very high risk - placenta praevia or similar, but in a normally developing pregnancy, breastfeeding is fine so expressing a tiny bit of colostrum should be no issue at all.

That said, there really is no need to express colostrum at all if you're on the way to a full-term pregnancy and everything's progressing normally, so it's academic, really.

Streaky17 Tue 31-Jan-17 07:12:00

Congrats sammylou1, this will hopefully be a theoretical question for me in a couple of months. But I'm a ftm so can't help you.

I've joined the Facebook group "Breastfeeding Twins and Triplets UK" and colostrum harvesting seems to be regularly discussed. If you are on fb it might be worth a look.

Best of luck

MrsNuckyThompson Tue 31-Jan-17 07:34:29

I did this before my DS was born and will be doing it again. I recommend it to everyone even those with low risk 'normal' pregnancies. It is such a life saver.

If you've been advised to do it, surely they have offered you some support in showing you how? You need to get the midwife or a breastfeeding counseller to show you. I hired a private lactation consultant to show me how (and I mean literally hands on showing me).

Also YouTube is a fantastic resource and you will find videos on there showing you what to do.

It takes a few days of massaging and squeezing for it to properly start and it will only be a few drops at first. You also need to buy sterile (needleless) syringes from the pharmacy to store it in, along with sterile breastmilk bags so you can pop the syringes in the freezer.

Good luck!

Trulyamnearanear Tue 31-Jan-17 08:39:26

I've found with expressing of any kind and feeding too, it pays to be as relaxed as possible. Easier said than done when you're facing what you're facing. Good luck and keep calm.

notinagreatplace Tue 31-Jan-17 08:52:25

I did this and got a good amount before birth. I only got the hang of it when the midwife actually got properly hands on and showed me how to do it. I also found that being well hydrated made a massive difference to how much I got.

sammylou1 Tue 31-Jan-17 16:51:59

I think I managed to get one teeny tiny drop at lunch time. Not enough to collect, but a start. Am really hoping this means that the next couple of tries will be more successful!

minipie Tue 31-Jan-17 17:19:47

Hello, well done, yes once you've started it does get easier as your body gets the message that it's needed now and starts production.

In terms of collection, I found the best option was to kind of scrape the drop of colostrum off the nipple straight into the mouth of the syringe - that way there is no wastage transferring from spoon or similar.

Do you have the syringes with screw caps? If not ask your midwife for some, that's what you need. Are you going to freeze it?

First thing in the morning tends to be best IME, and agree about being relaxed warm and well hydrated. Hand expressing worked best for me, I was advised not to pump until it was more like milk rather than colostrum. Hand in a C shape around your nipple and massage down towards the nipple with your thumb. Sometimes some tickling around the nipple can help too (stimulates let down) As a pp said don't go overboard and wreck your poor nips though!

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