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Harvesting colostrum

(23 Posts)
New2020 Thu 20-Aug-20 16:27:03

Hi everyone!

I've been reading and seeing quite a lot on collecting colostrum before birth..

I was wondering how common it actually was. Have you or will you be doing this?

How easy is it?

OP’s posts: |
BeMorePacific Thu 20-Aug-20 16:40:37

I’m going to give it a go.
I didn’t do it 1st time around and ended up having to give formula top ups. I want to avoid that this time around.
I’m also hoping it helps stimulate my breast milk before baby is here.
I’ll be doing it around 36 weeks, and plan on asking my midwife for syringes and storage pots x

IvanTheDragon Thu 20-Aug-20 16:47:33

I asked for syringes from my midwife. Having some colostrum frozen was amazing in the first few days when my baby wanted to feed every hour, it let my partner give her a little something so that I could get a little bit of sleep. I found it really easy, I was filling entire syringes in minutes, but I know for most people it’s slower going than that.

New2020 Thu 20-Aug-20 17:24:25

@BeMorePacific btw love your username 😂 reminds me of a client that I had who would always say this in Board meetings. Cringe.

That's interesting I didn't realise it would help stimulate milk production but would make sense if starting early..

Did you have to give formula top ups because your breast milk took time to kick in?

Sorry for clueless FTM questions

@IvanTheDragon any tips on how to get it flowing? Did you collect it in a pot before storing in a syringe?

OP’s posts: |
IvanTheDragon Thu 20-Aug-20 17:44:38

I think I was mostly just lucky with biology - my boobs were leaking from about 34 weeks! But being relaxed, maybe warm after a shower, and experimenting with where your fingers are until you get it right. I just used a clean glass and then got it into the syringe.

DappledThings Thu 20-Aug-20 17:53:16

I didn't. I've only known women advised to do it if there is an expectation that their baby is going to be premature.

orangejuicer Thu 20-Aug-20 17:55:27

I didn't have any success with it but it can be helpful.

It can stimulate birth though so be careful!

MizMoonshine Thu 20-Aug-20 18:10:00

My midwife advised not starting until 37 weeks. She provided syringes. But I'm pumping and storing in freezer bags. I'm getting about 60ml in 15 mins. Not sent me into labour yet! (39+2)

Namechange6005 Thu 20-Aug-20 18:34:54

I expressed colostrum for my 3rd baby who is now 14w old. I started at 36w pregnant by hand expressing in to 1ml syringes. I watched videos on you tube to get me in the mood. I never got much and nowhere near filling the syringes but what I did collect I took to hospital with me and the staff were really impressed 😂 they hadn't come accross it before. My milk didn't come in till day 5 with all my babies.

Slat3 Thu 20-Aug-20 18:38:46

I did this and was v successful! Had shed loads in the freezer which I didn’t use for my baby (had trouble by my first child so did this when pregnant with #2) - my 2 year old had them instead grin

Bought syringes off amazon & used a medela hand pump, my colostrum wasn’t sticky but it flowed more like milk so I guess I was lucky the pump collected quite a bit.
I started at 37 weeks. I’m pregnant again and successfully breastfed for 3 years but may do it again as it’s a good ‘back up’ to have.

TinnedPearsForPudding Thu 20-Aug-20 18:54:46

I believe that the hormone drop after birth (well the placenta detaching) allows for a rise in prolactin levels which trigger breast milk production. I don't think that early stimulation would have much effect in that regard, happy to be corrected though.

meow1989 Thu 20-Aug-20 19:27:46

I did and ended up with 23mls in total. I fed for the first 2 weeks then popped it in ds formula. I also found a syringe or 2 and gave it to dd when he had his first cold i think. You can use breast milk in bath water early on too which is good for their skin.

RowboatsinDisguise Thu 20-Aug-20 19:31:19

I had loads and loads in the fridge (l could express 20-30mls in one go before he was born - this really should have given me a heads up about the oversupply!) and never used it. However it was nice to have as a backup. I’ll probably do the same again this time, although less!

DramaAlpaca Thu 20-Aug-20 19:34:02

I didn't do this. I don't think it was a 'thing' when I had my babies, though we knew about the importance of colostrum. I had no leaking before birth so don't think I'd have been able to anyway - and wouldn't have wanted to. I'm sure that if you can't or don't want to it's no big deal. I think @TinnedPearsForPudding is right about the hormones triggering production after the birth.

Maincat Thu 20-Aug-20 19:35:32

I did from 37 weeks. Took it to the hospital when I was induced and they had it in their freezer until my son was born. It was great as he had jaundice and was really sleepy for the first couple of days, so was great to have it to top him up when he wouldn't latch. My midwife gave me the syringes, I expressed into a small, steralised medicine cup and then sucked it up with the syringe. Found it really helpful!

BuffaloMozzerella Thu 20-Aug-20 20:53:56

I did it too. It was hard to get much out to start but it gradually increased. I froze it and took a couple of tubs in with me in a cool bag when I went into labour and they put it the fridge for me. Used the rest once we got home.

BeMorePacific Thu 20-Aug-20 22:02:04

@New2020 I had a bit of a bad experience with feeding. My midwife offered to take my son in the middle of the night because I hadn’t slept, and she gave him formula.
At the time I was ok with it, but looking back it really bothers me. I want to be sure I have a back up in case it’s needed.
This is definitely not a typical case though, so it shouldn’t happen to anyone else!! xx

Superscientist Fri 21-Aug-20 13:01:12

I tried from 37 weeks but didn't get very far I was going to put more effort in when I start my maternity leave at 39 weeks but she arrived at 38+6. It was good practice for hand expressing when my milk came in on day 2 which helped reduce discomfort from engorgement

welshladywhois40 Fri 21-Aug-20 13:37:33

I will do it this time as breastfeeding didn't get off to a great start last time so want to have a reserve.

Don't start before 37 weeks as it can start labour i was told

And of your partner isn't squeamish he can help - I was useless so my partner 'milked' and collected for me

TJ17 Fri 21-Aug-20 13:53:04

I am going to do it (if I can)

Originally it was because my baby was expected to need surgery at birth and so I wouldn't be able to BF initially so my midwife suggested this as I was upset I wouldn't get to.

We've actually been told now baby is doing well and should be able to stay with me after birth and not need to go to NICU but MW said it wouldn't hurt to continue with the syringes if I wanted to.

She advised not starting til 38 weeks as it can stimulate labour. I'm not 38+2 but was waiting for my DM to get home (she's been stuck abroad since January due to Covid 🤦🏼‍♀️😅) I need her home to look after DS when I go into labour so been holding out just incase lol she flies back tonight so thought I'd give it a go next week.

I like the idea that if I need to sleep then DP can give her a top up feed with it. Or if things don't go to plan and she's taken to NICU after all then at least I know she has some of my colostrum x

TJ17 Fri 21-Aug-20 13:54:06

That meant to say "I'm NOW 38+2"

BlenheimOrange Fri 21-Aug-20 13:59:46

I did, but only after my due date. Nipple twiddling can indeed start labour which is why I was doing it - the colostrum was a good side effect, and was amazing to have when my milk came in v late due to a haemorrhage.

SerBrienneOfHouseTarth Fri 21-Aug-20 14:03:38

I was going to do it for my second as my first baby had low blood sugar and it can be recommended to help with that, but in the end I didn't bother! You can find some advice and a guide on how to do it on feed's website:

https://www.feeduk.org/colostrum-harvesting

I got the syringes from Amazon.

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