Antenatal Expression of Colostrum
Did you know that you can express colostrum starting at 37 weeks pregnant?
Here are some of the benefits:
1. Helps increase colostrum at birth
2. Helps bring in transitional milk more quickly
3. Provides additional colostrum to be stored before baby is born
4. Helps mother be more comfortable with hand expression
5. Decreases chance of jaundice
6. Decreases chance of hypoglycemia
7. Improves weight gain in newborn
8. Decreases likehood of needing formula
You will want to save every drop. Colostrum is like gold, and even though you will only be able to express a small amount, every drop is worth saving. You can put it in any food safe bag and freeze it until baby is born. The small amounts can be given as supplements in a spoon, small cup, or syringe.
Jane Morton of the Stanford Medical Center has some great information and how to hand express:
You can spoon or cup feed the colostrum you have collected to your newborn after each breastfeeding session.
Here is a link on cup feeding:
I have seen the benefits of this with clients that choose to practice antenatal expression. I see increased amounts of milk earlier on and newborn thriving. Although I have yet to see a mother go into labor from antenatal expression, it is still recommended to wait until baby is at 37 weeks gestation. This practice is recommended for first time mom, mom with poly cystic ovarian symdrome, diabeties, thyroid issues, insufficient glandular tissue, or supply issues with previous children.
You may feel as if you are not getting much, but the stimulation alone is helpful to increase colostrum, and bring milk in more quickly. Ideally you would hand express colostrum several times a day. If you are busy and unable to do it several times a day, anything is better than nothing. Feel free to come back and post about how things went on this post after your little one arrives. Best wishes!