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Colostrum harvesting

Discussion in 'Pregnancy' started by FingersCrossed, Jan 29, 2019.

  1. FingersCrossed

    FingersCrossed · Active Member

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    Yes, it sounds very weird and icky - colostrum harvesting - but I was wondering if any type 1s, like myself, have successfully done this before their baby was born and if they have any advice on the quantity needed as I've read all sorts of contradictory stuff online.

    I'm 37 weeks pregnant on Thursday (so 36 wks+5 days) and I started trying to collect colostrum five days ago. I only got 0.2ml (pathetic, I know) each attempt for the first few days. Yesterday and today I've got 1ml each time, so I think I've frozen 4ml in total so far. Is this nowhere near enough to help a little person in case their sugar levels are low or need a top-up feed as they're big and super hungry? Or is it ok? I just can't find any information about a good quanity needed. I'm happy to keep going until my planned section on the 11th Feb (a week on Monday), but I'm reading you need about 30ml each feed and I doubt I'll get anywhere near that. Also, my son was 9lbs at 38.5 weeks and they're estimating this bambino to be as big, or even bigger too. My hba1c is good at 48, but I'm not destined to have a little dot.

    The reason I'm doing this is to try and encourage things to get going a bit quicker than they did last time and to avoid formula if I can. I had a c-section five years ago and struggled to feed for days and my little boy needed one bottle of formula in hospital as his bg levels dropped and he went from 9lbs to 8lbs quite quickly. I got things moving eventually and fed him exclusively for 6 months and then for a further 6 months with one bottle of formula on a night time to try get him to sleep. Try being the operative word!

    So, is there anyone out there who has any tips or knows how much I might need to collect before my section? If so, that'd be fab as I'm super confused.

    Thanks.
     
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  2. Ellie_Wilko

    Ellie_Wilko Type 1 · Well-Known Member

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    I think I maybe got about 10-15ml which the midwives said was really good! My first born needed it as sugars were low and it did the trick, second born didn't have low sugars but had what I had frozen anyway for the nutrients :) whatever you can get is better than nothing xx
     
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  3. FingersCrossed

    FingersCrossed · Active Member

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    Hi Ellie,

    Thanks so much for your reply, that's really helpful to know. I've got some way to go to get that much, but with 12 days to go, maybe I still can keep adding to my frozen stash.

    Thank you very much.
     
  4. sarahdennis87

    sarahdennis87 Type 1 · Active Member

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    Unfortunately I never managed to as I gave birth at 36+2 by emcs. I was told to start harvesting at 37 weeks as it can bring on labour. I was however, very lucky to have my milk come in straight after birth (due to being on the ward for 5 days and apparently hearing newborn babies cries). I also managed to successfully breastfeed until my daughter until she was 2 years 9.5months.
     
  5. FingersCrossed

    FingersCrossed · Active Member

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    Hi Sarah,

    Thanks for your reply. Well done on feeding your daughter for that time. I'm still trying with colostrum harvesting and have 7mls now. Ha ha. When I was feeding my son, I could get about 10-12 ounces in 25 mins if I ever expressed, so these small quantities seem mad and alien to me, but I hope I can get at least 12mls (approx quarter of an ounce) to take into hospital next week in case it's needed. And I hope doing this fun (not) activity prior to the birth that it helps my milk come in quicker than last time. Here's to hoping.
     
  6. sarahdennis87

    sarahdennis87 Type 1 · Active Member

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    Just don’t force it. You need to remember that prior to baby being born your body wouldn’t normally lactate so you might not get much. As long as you put baby to breast as soon as they’re born and keep doing so then you really shouldn’t have any issues
     
  7. FingersCrossed

    FingersCrossed · Active Member

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    So, a quick update from me. I've managed to collect 10mls of colostrum over a couple of weeks. I've been in for my pre-op today and the midwife said that was a good amount. Tomorrow is the big day. Ahhh. Excited, nervous, a little bit freaking out inside. I'll let anyone who's interested in storing colustrum prior to birth know if 10mls was any good, if it was needed etc, in a few weeks. If I think on that is. Thanks for everyone's help and replies.
     
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  8. myarnton1

    myarnton1 Type 1 · Well-Known Member

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    Hi @FingersCrossed hope everything went well with the c section! I bet you are so busy right now, but if you could let me know if colostrum harvesting was of any use (when you can get on here) I’d be very greatful. Also what did you do with regards to starving before the operation?
     
  9. Ellie_Wilko

    Ellie_Wilko Type 1 · Well-Known Member

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    I would say it was worth it for me... When my son was born his sugars were slightly low and having the colostrum brought them up enough to save him having to go to NICU! With my daughter, her sugars were fine but had the colostrum anyway as it contains so much good stuff and I wasn't planning to breast feed so she wouldn't have got any of that.

    In terms of fasting, I was told that other than an emergency, I would be a priority over any other electives on the day. I was on a sliding scale because my sugars were all over the place because of the steroid injections the days before so they dealt with all my insulin needs other than my levemir which I did as usual. I went in for my section late morning so wasn't kept hanging around and then everything went back to normal when she was born!
     
  10. myarnton1

    myarnton1 Type 1 · Well-Known Member

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    @Ellie_Wilko thank you so much for your reply, that’s so helpful.
    I have one more question, sorry, how did you transport the stored colostrum as it’s frozen, did you keep it frozen? Or let it defrost as it still lasts for 6 days out of the freezer and I pretty much know it will be used for one reason or another
     
  11. Ellie_Wilko

    Ellie_Wilko Type 1 · Well-Known Member

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    I put all the syringes in a lunchbox and then once at the hospital it was taken from me and put in their freezers :)
     
  12. FingersCrossed

    FingersCrossed · Active Member

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    Hello everyone. Just checked my phone for the first time in days, so quickly replying as I feel in another time and zone right now, ha ha.

    I had a gorgeous little girl, Jasmine Florence, on Monday, weighing 8.7lbs. She's just lush.

    The section was quite a tough one and I lost 2 litres of blood, but I'm overjoyed she's here and the I've-just-been-in-a-train-crash feeling should hopefully start to ebb soon.

    So, I was given the 1ml breastfeeding syringes from my midwife and every day when I got a ml, I'd attach an NHS sticker from my notes to the purple part of the syringe and add the date I'd collected it. I then popped into a plastic see-through bag and kept adding to my freezer supply. On Monday, I took a little cool bag into hospital with an ice block in, my stored 10mls and gave to the staff when I was taken to my room pre op. I labeled everything.

    I fed Jasmine in recovery, then the midwife gave her 1ml of my colostrum. She had a blood sugar taken before her second feed and it was 2.6, so they recommended I gave her another 3mls. Unfortunately, before the 4th feed, her l levels were 1.7, so I had to feed her and give her 20mls of top up formula each time to get back on track as I didn't want her admitted to special care. So, my milk came in yesterday and she's back to normal levels - 4.1 - so exclusive feeding from me is going well now and no need for further testing for her, hooray.

    I'm so pleased I did the harvesting before though as my milk came in on day 2, but didn't until day 5 for my son when I didn't try.

    On the day of the op, I had a bg of 5 before breakfast at 7am. Annoyingly, my bgs rocketed to 28 after one bagel and a cuppa (never once in 6 months had they been so high) so I walked my son to school quickly and corrected, which then resulted in a hypo at 10am to which I had to have a carton of orange and cereal bar. Not sure if I had a kink in my cannula or the anti-acid tablet you are made to take affected my bgs.

    My levels from 11am were low at 3.7, so I disconnected my pump and just about managed to beat another hypo and potentially risk having the op cancelled.

    I thought I better reply now as I'll forgot if I leave it.

    Apologies if this is all over the shop.

    Thanks.
     
  13. myarnton1

    myarnton1 Type 1 · Well-Known Member

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    Hi @FingersCrossed, sorry I haven’t seen your reply until now, thanks for sharing your experience, I know that has really helped me x
     
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