Express colostrum before birth?

Oops, it didn't let me post my actual question. Lemme write it here, in the comments....

So the other day I was chatting with an IBCLC (international board certified lactation consultant) and an RN. This wasn't an official appointment, just a chat -- hard to explain, but pretend I just met them at a party. They said that as a diabetic (I'm T1, but I don't know if it matters to what they were saying), I should consider trying to hand express colostrum in the last 4 weeks or so of pregnancy. I should store it in periodontal syringes and freeze it. (It would be drops/teaspoons, not like ounces of actual breast milk.) This was for 2 reasons. 1) if the baby is hypoglycemic at birth, and needs to be supplemented, they can use my own colostrum rather than formula. 2) apparently us diabetics sometimes take longer for our milk to come in. (This must mean MILK milk, not colostrum.) So having some extra around would be good.

I had never heard of such a thing, but some google leads me to see that it IS done, especially in Australia, I think. There's some controversy about whether you put yourself at risk for pre-term labor by manually expressing before birth, but it doesn't seem all that serious.

So has anyone done this? Did it work?

Interesting. I've never heard about this. My milk came in on day 2 with more than enough. Our little guy was in the NICU (complications due to shoulder dystocia) and I was pumping most of his feedings. That could have helped my milk along?

Hi there,

I'm a month post doing just this :) I'm also a T1 and it was recommended to me by a couple of LCs. My OB was less keen and made me be on a CTG machine for the first couple of goes just to make sure it didn't set contractions off (which it didn't and the LCs said is the OBs usual argument but they're yet to see it in practice).
Anyway - to cut it short - our daughter arrived at 32 weeks due to a failing placenta BUT the great news was that we had heaps of expressed colostrum in the freezer awaiting her arrival which is quite unusual here, pleasing both me (and I'm sure her :) ) and the NICU staff too. My only regret is that I would have expressed MORE had I known that my milk would take a little longer to come in than the norm.

Some slightly off topic advice too - if you need to pump after baby's arrival be sure (if you have options) to try more than one pump if your milk seems non-existent. I was pumping diligently and it wasn't until Day 4 that I realised that my body didn't like the pump I was trying. Switched to a stronger pump (the blue Lactina) and woomph! I had milk minutes later.

Good luck :)

I heard about this from a lactation consultant as well and I considered doing it, but did not in the end because of the risk of inducing labor (it may be small, but it made me nervous) and I doubted whether the hospital would even use the colostrum that I expressed. Before deciding to express the colostrum, as if the hospital will use it. I think it is generally a good idea and I might do it for baby number two.

Another idea is to get a friend who had a baby recently (maybe someone you met in the OB-GYN waiting room...) to give some donated breast milk.

I had a c-section and my milk came in (forcefully) on day 2. I did not pump before my milk came in, but offered my son unlimited time on the breast. We were having latching difficulties and I could not get my son to latch on on my own. One nurse just told me to use the nipple shield. I did not want to, but it felt like the only option to ensure that he got milk and that I did not lose my supply. Then it turned out that the latching was too difficult for our son because my breasts were TOO full. Once the nurse brought in a pump and I pumped some of the milk (until my breast felt softer), then he was able to latch on without a nipple shield. For the first month, I had to pump a little bit before he would be able to latch on. As he got older, he was able to latch on even to a full breast.

Thanks for posting this question! It didn't cross my mind when I was pregnant, but I wish I had known about it, as my baby ended up having to get some formula in her first few days because of hypoglycemia. I will definitely keep it in mind for next time!!

I did not do this with my son, who was my first child, mostly because I was a little intimidated by pumping and had no experience with it at all. It turns out that my son did not need any kind of supplement at birth, so it wouldn't have been necessary anyway. Also, my milk came in on day 2 just fine and I had plenty of it. With my next baby though, I definitely plan to express colostrum in the weeks prior to the due date. Pumping is sooo not intimidating anymore, lol! If my future baby should need a supplement for hypoglycemia, I would much prefer to have my own colostrum ready and waiting. Just my personal preference, though.