COLOSTRUM COLLECTION – HAND EXPRESSION BECOMING A COMMON PRACTICE
Colostrum Collection – Hand Expression Before Arrival of New Baby
Although unfamiliar to many women, collecting colostrum during your final weeks of pregnancy is getting a lot of attention and becoming more common for good reason.
In the past, this practice was reserved for mothers with special circumstances. In situations where we knew it was likely a baby would need supplementation or mom may experience difficulty breastfeeding in the early postpartum days, collection of colostrum was recommended. For example, a diabetic mother or a baby with known cleft lip/palate would qualify. More recently, numerous women are adopting this practice for pregnancies not at risk for early labour. Let's explore some of the reasons this practice is gaining widespread momentum.
Why would I collect my colostrum
There are many reasons to consider this practice. Hand expression is a valuable skill and allows you to practice it and master it ahead of time (and believe me, anything we can get the hang of before your baby is born is valuable!) Knowing how to hand express may also come in handy if you ever deal with issues such as engorgement or plugged ducts. Collecting your colostrum also means having some milk available immediately if your baby has any difficulties nursing in the first few days or if you are encouraged to supplement due to jaundice or low blood sugar. This is great news!
Colostrum is a SUPERFOOD!
We haven't even begun to talk about the nutritional value of colostrum it's liquid gold! It's a highly concentrated, superstar milk! It's full of immuno-globulins a kick start for your baby's immune system. It acts as a laxative and aids in removal of meconium. It's baby's perfect first meal.
Hand Expression – how to start
Generally, it's recommended to begin hand expression around 36 weeks gestation. It's advisable to discuss this with your doctor or midwife first. All that's required are clean hands and some small sterile syringes to collect the colostrum. Three times a day gently hand express each breast for 3-5 minutes and collect the drops in your syringe, label with your full name and date and then place inside a sealable bag and put into your freezer.
If you'd like more information discuss this with your healthcare provider and check out some of the great links!