The Growing Popularity of Colostrum Harvesting

by Louise Broadbridge

Colostrum What?

Holy crap! Another new fangled idea designed to apply pressure or a good idea? Here is the opinion of @thehonestmidwife

When the first whispers of Colostrum Harvesting were heard a couple of years ago I am the first to admit I was sceptical to say the least. My first reaction was, "FFS this is a natural process and we should leave women alone without giving them a job to do before their baby has even arrived"

Believe me, it doesn't happen very often but I hold my hands up. They were right, I was wrong! God, that tasted like vinegar!

Let's start with the:

What?

Colostrum is the first milk the mammary glands produce just before the arrival of a newborn. Nature is very clever and has provided this thick yellowy liquid, high in fats and proteins to keep baby going over the lean period until the milk comes in around day 3.

Why?

The first few days after the baby has arrived can be a little stressful for breastfeeding parents. Reluctant babies, tired Mums, anxious professionals and sleeping babies in the next cot can be a recipe for a lot of tears. Those first few days baby can be unsettled as it learns the new skill of feeding. Not to mention getting the latch right and worrying that your baby isn’t getting enough. If you have managed to harvest some colostrum many of these anxieties can be alleviated.

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When?

Nipple stimulation is one of the things that is thought can bring on labour so it is not recommended that you start harvesting before 37 weeks.

Where?

Well anywhere you like but you may get some very funny looks if you choose to do it in the local Nandos!

How?

It is quite easy but some women do struggle initially. Also, some women don’t manage to get any. Don’t worry if this is you. It isn’t an indication of future milk supply. If you can, it’s a bonus. If you can’t don’t stress!

First, you need to be relaxed, have a clean, sterile 1 or 2 ml syringe

Imaging your breast is a clock. Make a C-shape around the breast with your thumb at 12 and your other fingers around the lower breast gently squeeze and release. Keep doing this until liquid is released from the nipple which you collect into the syringe. Once the flow slows move your hand around so that you are squeezing all of the ducts inside the breast - so thumb at 3 o clock and other fingers on the opposite side.

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You may not get much on a first attempt but keep trying it will come.

You could take your syringes to your midwife appointment and ask her to help you.

You can freeze your gains and use them in those first few days and also when your baby has cluster feeding days and you need a little break. If you have any questions message me @thehonestmidwife


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Written by

Louise Broadbridge

Blogger & Senior Midwife
My name is Louise, I am a Registered, Senior Midwife and a wife and Mum to my two children, Jack 16 and Isobelle 12. I have two fur canine babies too which also keep me busy! I am striving for much more honesty surrounding the transition from young, free and single to pregnant, early parenthood and beyond. Becoming a parent is one of lifespan's gifts but also one of life's biggest challenges. I set up @thehonestmidwife to offer honest and evidence-based information, support and advice minus all the fluff! I am a strong advocate for both breast and formula feeding and feel it important that whatever method is chosen by parents that it is well supported. Finally, I love Dads! Not in a weird way but I think they have a tough time and should be supported better!

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