Collecting colostrum during pregnancy


Some newborn babies are at risk for hypoglycemia in the first days of life. Antenatal colostrum collection is sometimes suggested to decrease the risk of formula supplementation in those babies.

It is ok to begin collecting colostrum after 36 weeks gestation, with the approval of your OBGYN and with education on collection and storage of colostrum by your IBCLC. Your IBCLC can also teach you how to correctly hand express.

It is usually advised to limit the time spent collecting colostrum to about 5-10 minutes, twice per day. It is also recommended that you stop hand expressing if it causes uterine contractions.

Other suggestions for decreasing the risk of hypoglycemia in the 1st days of life include; skin to skin care, delaying bathing the baby, and breastfeeding on demand. Click here for more information and instructions.

Question of the day

pexels-photo-356079.jpegQuestion: Can I express colostrum for my baby while I am pregnant?

Answer: Some newborn babies are at risk for hypoglycemia in the first days of life. Antenatal colostrum collection is sometimes suggested to decrease the risk of formula supplementation in those babies. It is ok to begin collecting colostrum after 36 weeks gestation, with the approval of your OBGYN and with education on collection and storage of colostrum by your IBCLC. Your IBCLC can also teach you how to correctly hand express. It is usually advised to limit the time spent collecting colostrum to about 5-10 minutes, twice per day. It is also recommended that you stop hand expressing if it causes uterine contractions. Other suggestions for decreasing the risk of hypoglycemia in the 1st days of life include; skin to skin care, delaying bathing the baby, and breastfeeding on demand. Click here for more information and instructions.

Limiting hospital visitors

A new baby! What could be more exciting? After months of anticipation, the big day has finally arrived…. along with family, friends, and co-workers. What most people don’t realize, including the new parents, is that visitors in the first couple of days can interfere with breastfeeding success.

A newborn babyI see it daily at the hospital. A waiting room full of people anxiously listening for that very first cry, followed by an endless stream of visitors in and out of the room to see the new family. I also see baby passed from grandparents, to aunts and uncles, brothers and sisters. The baby doesn’t seem to mind, he sleeps through it all.

But what if I told you the baby does mind. Being away from mom is stressful for a newborn baby and decreases breastfeeding interest. During the first couple of days, stressed-out newborns don’t cry when they are passed around by their loving family and friends; they sleep. This means they show fewer “feeding cues” and miss opportunities practice breastfeeding.  When baby is left skin to skin with mom, he relaxes and communicates with her. He puts his hands in his mouth and turns his head to let her know he’s ready to try.

Babies who miss feeding opportunities during the 1st couple of days may have greater weight loss and an increased risk for jaundice. They are also more likely to wean early. Their moms are more likely to experience breastfeeding difficulties, too, such as engorgement or an insufficient milk supply.

Hospital visitors should be limited. I know, easier said than done! And, I also know that new moms and dads want the love and support of their family and friends during this special time.  My best advice, as a Lactation Consultant who spends day after day (and night after night) with families during the first days of their baby’s life, is to talk honestly about the importance of establishing breastfeeding before the baby arrives. Limit visitors to only those that mom feels most comfortable learning to breastfeed in front of, or those that she is comfortable asking to step out on a moments notice. And, be selfish; I give you permission. Keep baby skin to skin and don’t allow others to hold him until he’s learned to breastfeed.

LRM

Second Night Syndrome

Second Night SyndromeIMG_5538 2

New parents should limit visitors on the 2nd day and rest as much as possible so that they are ready for what some call second night syndrome. Second night syndrome is completely normal, but completely exhausting for new parents.

On day 2, babies begin to wake up and realize they are no longer in their mommy’s tummy.  They tend to get really upset if they aren’t close to mom, and they practice breast feeding a lot, especially on the 2nd night.

During the 2nd night, babies cluster feed. This means that they feed over and over for several hours. Parents who are not prepared for this tend to think that their baby is hungry and not getting full from breastfeeding. These parents are more likely to supplement with formula.

The truth is, cluster feeding on night 2 is important. It reduces mom’s risk of engorgement and helps ensure she has a good supply of milk later. The colostrum in mom’s breast is enough for her baby, and a healthy full term baby who is latching well does not need to be supplemented.

 

Day 2

Colostrum is enough

Moms begin making colostrum about halfway through their pregnancy. Some moms don’t notice colostrum, but it’s there. Colostrum is very thick and concentrated. Babies only need a small amount at a time because their tummy is so small.

If baby is latching to mom’s breast and suckling, he is able to remove colostrum. Babies are much better at removing colostrum than moms or pumps. A couple spoonfuls of colostrum will fill the baby’s tummy on the 2nd day.

Babies who are getting enough colostrum will poop! Colostrum is like a laxative. One poop on the 1st day, and 2 poops on the 2nd day indicates that baby is getting colostrum from mom’s breast.

Babies who are not latching well on the 2nd day need to be given mom’s colostrum. Mom should hand express and offer colostrum using a small spoon or syringe after each time baby tries to breastfeed.  The hospital Lactation Consultant or nurse can teach moms how to hand express, if needed.

Mom’s milk comes in on day 3, just when baby’s tummy is big enough for it. Giving baby too much milk on the 1st and 2nd day is unhealthy for baby and increases his risk of obesity later.

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