Expressing during Pregnancy

I’m 34 weeks pregnant.

As my due date gets closer and closer I find myself more and more anxious. The anxiety I am feeling is different than any anxiety I have ever felt before… because this time it means I’m going to have to keep another human being alive and well taken care of. Which is completely different than keeping my animals alive, by the way.

So like every other mom-to-be has done, I have turned to the internet and researched everything about having a baby. EVERYTHING. Even things that don’t really apply to me, like VBACS (Vaginal Birth After Cesarean Section). Within this research I did run into something that really sparked my interest. Pumping, or hand expressing, during pregnancy to store colostrum.

Colostrum is an amazing, fatty, nutrient rich milk. Some women make a lot, which in turn ends up leaking and leaving very un-attractive stains on our bras and shirts. I’ve been wearing nursing pads in my bras since the beginning of my 2nd trimester but it always made me a tiny bit sad to see I was leaking “liquid gold”. I never thought to collect it, until I read about antenatal pumping.

Learning to hand express was easy for me. Thankfully I found a lot of information on how to online. First you start by massaging your breast to get the milk to loosen up and come forward, babies use their hands while nursing to get the most milk out during a feed. Then you place your hand in a C shape with your thumb on top of your areola and your pointer right under. You feel for a change in breast tissue, it goes from soft to firm. Pushing your breast against your chest while squeezing, but don’t rub or else you will get sore. Then just adjust your hand until you find your sweet spot.

I expressed into a bottle for about an hour and got a little under .5 oz. It’s not a lot but I placed it in a milk storage bag and into the freezer it went. I’ll now be expressing about 3 times a week. I would like to have 4 oz. by the time he is born (my due date is March 20).

Antenatal pumping isn’t for everyone and if you are looking into it then please speak with your doctor or midwife before starting. For me personally, it is very important to have colostrum to give to him right after he is born. My plan is to breastfeed right away but if for some reason we are separated right after birth and he can’t be put to the breast he will have pumped colostrum available. If he isn’t able to breastfeed at all, for whatever reason, having the pumped colostrum will give my body a chance to catch up on milk production as well. (I’m taking my pump to the hospital in case he can’t breastfeed). It’s very important to me that he be exclusively breastfed…that’s probably me trying to control everything! LOL!

Hopefully everything goes as planned, but I’m trying to prepare myself for ANY situation.

Did you pump during pregnancy? If so, how was your experience?

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