You’ve been to antenatal classes, you’ve watched the YouTube videos, you’ve Googled (BfT’s top tip…. ..step away from Google! Contact us and we’ll give you great information and send you brilliant links) and you’ve made our feeding choice. You’re going to breastfeed your baby. It’s the optimal feeding choice, it’s natural, our bodies our designed to do it!
But still that little niggle remains. What if I can’t do it? What if the baby won’t latch? What if something goes wrong? We know it’s not unusual for breastfeeding to take a few days to get going, or for babies to be sleepy or reluctant to latch in those early days. So we may be worried there may be a clinical indication that baby needs a top up, and we worry our baby will starve if we don’t take formula with us to the hospital
So we pack ‘it’ in our hospital bag. That ‘Just in case’ formula milk. The thing with ‘just in case formula’ is that it winks at you at 3 o’clock in the morning. It whispers ‘use me, you’re so tired, I’ll help your baby sleep’, or ‘use me so you know your baby is getting enough’. Knowing it’s there means we can give it without having a discussion about how this can impact on our breastfeeding. Many women will make a choice to use some formula, but often it’s not as an informed choice as we think, if they don’t know there’s another option available.
We know to get breastfeeding off to the best possible start, we need to keep artificial supplementation out of the picture as much as we can. We know sometimes mums want to, or babies require supplementing, but with what we know about formula milk having the potential to stretch babies’ tummies and create allergic sensitivities within the gut, wouldn’t it be ideal if this supplementing wasn’t done with formula.
So, how can we do this?
Well, we can harvest our colostrum.
Colostrum is the first milk we produce, its packed full of antibodies and is the perfect first food for babies. If a baby is reluctant to latch at first, we can hand express colostrum and feed this to baby. It generally perks them up and encourages them to feed (think of it like an energy drink for babies!). But did you know we can do this before we even have our baby? We can start that hand expressing at home and collect our colostrum in syringes, freeze it and bring it to the hospital. If baby does require supplementing, your milk is there ready. You have your ‘just in case’ milk. You have ‘just in case’ colostrum
We wait until baby is 37 weeks before we start colostrum harvesting, as expressing has the potential to induce labour- so another great reason to try it if you are passed your due date and serving an eviction notice! We discuss and show you how to hand express at our antenatal workshops, and we can also provide you with a colostrum harvesting pack. More and more ladies are giving it a try, so get in touch if you think it’s something you’d like to do.
Like the old saying says, we reap what we sow, so let’s sow the seeds of a great breastfeeding journey by starting with a colostrum harvest!