Go for Gold: How to Collect Colostrum in Pregnancy
Updated: Jul 13, 2022
Did you know you actually start producing milk around 16 weeks pregnant? Colostrum is the first milk your body produces. It is rich in antibodies and high in protein and minerals. Your body is prompted to start creating colostrum by the rise of prolactin, the milk making hormone, levels in your body. It is even possible that you will start leaking droplets or more substantial amounts of colostrum during your pregnancy, but don't worry it doesn't run out before your baby arrives. You could even start expressing some colostrum starting at 36 weeks pregnant to store for when your baby arrives.
Reasons you may consider this:
In case the lactating parent and baby have to be separated post birth (due to a c-section, or other emergency) then another caregiver can feed the baby their parent's colostrum.
If you have issues with lactation in the beginning, and need temporary supplementation.
If you are expecting baby will need to have supplementation right after birth. Examples: if you have gestational diabetes, if you might be carrying a very large baby, or if you might be carrying a very small baby.
If you know your baby is going to have certain health conditions that require time in the NICU.
If you're planning c-section. Surgical births interrupt the hormonal process that tell the body to make milk, resulting in a longer period of time post birth before your milk "comes in" (meaning: before your colostrum transitions to mature milk). In an uninterrupted birth, milk can come in 1-3 days post birth, but with c-sections it can take up to 7 days.
If you feel concerned about breast/chestfeeding, having colostrum on hand can help ease your anxiety and give you time to figure out how to feed your baby without stressing that you're starving them.