THE MAGIC OF COLOSTRUM – JANA PITTMAN'S EXPERIENCE WITH ANTENATAL EXPRESSING
As a mother of four and soon to have more babies when my twins arrive, I wanted to share my experience around Antenatal Colostrum Expressing.
Colostrum production starts in the breast from around 20wks of pregnancy till a few days after birth, but most doctors and lactation consultants suggest waiting till around 36wks before you start. This liquid gold is perfect for your bubba as its easily digestible, high in protein, full of vitamins, minerals, and immune boosting properties.
Expressing before birth has several benefits. Firstly, we all hope for an uncomplicated birth that means if we choose to, we can snuggle our baby to the breast soon after birth and establish early feeding, but sometimes babies or mums need special care which requires that they aren’t together, and in this case the colostrum expressed prior to birth can be given to your baby instead of formula. Secondly, expressing colostrum may help increase your chances of exclusive breastfeeding after birth. Thirdly, if your baby struggles to stimulate the breast well at birth, mums/dads/family can syringe feed and top up your little one as needed.
From 36wks or as advised by your midwife, doctor or lactation consultant get hold of a colostrum kit. I am using the Breastfeeding Tea Co Colostrum Collection Kit, it comes with a bunch of varying syringes, meaning you can start with a 1ml and build up as you get closer to birth and the colostrum level increases. Everyone will produce varying amounts, tonight was my first night expressing for the twins and I got 0.5mls, expressing gentle each breast for 4minutes and repeating twice. I plan to do this at least twice a day now till birth, freezing each of the syringes with the labels provided so I can take them to the hospital in case the twins need the extra colostrum, which is likely in my case as my supply has always been a bit challenging and now there is two!!
Now of course it’s important to note there are some mums-to-be that need to avoid antenatal colostrum expressing like those at risk of premature labour, have had concerns with a short cervix or issues with their placenta like placenta previa. If this is you, it is best to seek medical advice from your pregnancy carer. All the best with your pregnancy and breast-feeding journey.