When I was in the United Kingdom, a midwife gave me some fabulous advice. She recommended I start expressing my breast milk from 37 weeks onwards. Is that really possible? Yes! You won’t get more than colostrum at this stage, but your baby can still use it.
How can I do it? First purchase or otherwise obtain from your OBGYN clinic or midwife some 1 ml sterile syringes. Then starting twice a day from 37 weeks, spend about half an hour each time massaging and hand expressing. You may use a warm wet cloth on your breast at the beginning to help with the process. Form a ‘C’ shape with your hand around the breast tissue about 2 inches from the nipple (this is where the milk ducts are), with your thumb on top. Then make rhythmic but gentle compressions until the colostrum starts to come. When the colostrum starts to come, stay at that area until the flow stops or slows down, then move to a different area and continue your compressions. The first day or two, there may be nothing coming, but later you may start to get a few drops of colostrum (it looks like a thick liquid with a bit of yellowish tinge to it). As you keep on doing this daily, a bit more colostrum will come out each time. Label and date the syringes and freeze them as soon as possible. When you go to the hospital for delivery, remember to bring them along and pass it to the nurse or midwife in charge! Also put it into your birthplan to make sure the colostrum really gets used!
I’m so glad I followed her advice, because as it turned out, when my baby was induced at 38 weeks, she had to be kept under observation for a while. And because she had low blood glucose levels at the beginning, they needed to give her some oral nutrition. Since I already had some frozen colostrum ready, they were able to use that first before giving her a bit of formula later. So it all came into use! You never know what medical necessity may occur which will cause your baby to be unable to breast feed or breast feed enough those first early days. Some also say that because the breast milk expressing has started sooner, it can also help your actual milk supply to come in earlier. I didn’t really find that the case but this could be the case for you!