Expressing colostrum, also called antenatal colostrum collection or harvesting, is not necessary for all, but can have significant benefits for some. It can give peace of mind and reassurance that your baby will be able to have the best start in life and avoid the use of formula after birth.
Legendairy Milk’s lactation supplement Cash Cow is an herbal blend that can be taken in the last weeks of pregnancy to support milk production and supply.
Hand expression is an important skill for any expecting parent to learn. Not only can you express colostrum before giving birth, but if you have any challenges after giving birth, you will have already practiced this skill and be comfortable with how to do it.
- Wash your hands and the containers you will use to collect and store your colostrum in hot soapy water.
Apply a heat pack like Legendairy Milk’s Breast-Ease to help you relax and encourage milk flow. Heat can help release oxytocin, the hormone responsible for milk letdown.
- Gently massage or stroke your breast from the top of your breast toward the nipple and from underneath your breast toward the nipple.
- Make sure you are relaxed and comfortable.
- Place your thumb and index finger at the edge of your areola. Press your thumb and finger into the chest wall, squeezing gently. If you are too far away from the nipple, you will not get any colostrum. If you are too close to the nipple, you cannot express any colostrum; experiment and find where to place your fingers for your best results.
- After a few minutes, rotate your fingers to a different spot at the edge of the areola and express your colostrum again.
- As drops of colostrum are expressed, collect them into your clean syringe or container.
Colostrum is a complete food, and all your baby needs in the first days of their life. Before collecting your colostrum, talk with your care providers and IBCLC. Each person’s situation is different, and together you can devise the best plan to meet your and your baby’s needs. Although collecting colostrum is recognized as safe, if you are experiencing early contractions, be sure to contact your team to discuss whether it is safe to continue.