Being heavily pregnant sucks… But have you tried collecting some liquid gold while you wait?! 

11 Jul
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So I could start listing all kinds of wives tales about how to encourage your babies arrival but at the end of the day I actually prescribe to the more science based concept that labour is only really triggered naturally by baby releasing a hormone signal when their lungs are fully developed enough and they are truely ready…
Try as you might, even if you bring on early onset labour, which I’m not convinced all the things I did had no effect on the process and drawn out nature of my first labour as all the OBs kept telling me he was too big and they were going to induce me yada yada (he wasn’t for the record, either of them despite that pressure both times), it’s not in your best interests, for either of you, to hurry the process along despite the general feel of “over it” and hugeness you may feel… Evolution has designed us for this, unless there are otherwise medical concerns, sorry to tell you, it’s not the last time your baby is going to make you uncomfortable and just try hang in there best you can (see my previous post about trying to hang in there and things that helped me here).

Something you can do though, that you shouldn’t do before full term due to the risk of it onsetting labour, is try to express some colostrum. Hand expressing is probably enough nipple stimulation, I used a pump when I was late pregnant with Josh (as well as drinking about 3 litres of raspberry leaf tea the day my waters broke with him hahaha) but I don’t think it particularly produced more, nor did it help my whole “natural” outlook and Oxytocin rush when I first started breastfeeding Josh. It just made me think of cows at milking time as my first introduction to considering my boobs for anything other than an sexually oriented part of my body… Hand expressing is a much kinder intro..

For me, I found using a wide necked shot glass I could hold to my nipple, or but on the bench and lean over and squeeze or I guess massage my boob towards the nipple worked best.. The cow comparison whilst not glamorous, works for a reason.. But milk and colostrum don’t come from your nipple, they are excreted in the ducts in your boob further up.. Massaging downwards towards your nipple stimulates the same action as a baby suckiling…

I discarded colostrum relatively early in both my pregnancies. The first time it just plain freaked me out hahah the second time I realised the power of that liquid gold..
When Josh was born it took a long few drawn out days for my milk to come in and with an unhappy baby screaming lots I felt pressured into giving him formula to supplement… Again, I am not knocking formula here, just like medical interventions during birth, aren’t we so damn lucky they are available to us in this day and age when they are needed (I appreciate this particularly as I hemoraged after Josh’s birth and would have died myself if not for medical interventions at that point).. But if you are leaking from your nipples at all or can manage to express some colostrum, that stuff you are getting is seriously liquid gold… Much more than an alternative to formula to help supplement feeding if needed, colostrum, the clear or gold liquid your boobs produce before making milk, is seriously beneficial!

With the concern of my milk taking a while to come in again second time around and leaking colostrum from about 20 weeks, I started expressing and storing my colostrum from 38 weeks in case I needed to supplement Jai in the early days like I did Josh.  I didn’t, I had my placenta encapsulated this time around and gratefully had a pretty smooth and uninterrupted birth process this time round and I woke up with the “boob job” look of someone whose milk had come in the day after Jai was born!

So I had 100ml odd of colostrum in my deep freezer which was donated to a local family with a baby in NICU with serious health issues which helped that baby get out of hospital…

I have blogged about this before but the general outline of storing and using expressed colostrum has been pulled as an exert from that post below;

If you express some colostrum, store it in a fresh clean syringe, put something over the end to seal it (some of the small syringes we had came with covers, others we just used tinfoil to seal) put it in some kind of container and put it really deep in your freezer (if you have a deep freezer or separate chest freezer use that it will keep longer) and if you don’t need it post birth then save it for when your baby gets sick the first time, cause they will and it’s horrible to watch tiny babies sick and feel powerless to do anything, and then, dig out your little stash of liquid gold! There is no age limit for when antibodies are good for, you could give it to sick big kids or even take it yourself if you wanted!

To use it after you have frozen it, get a glass of room temp water, stand your syringe in it upside down without submerging it in the water. You don’t want to heat it, that will kill off some of the antibodies, it will defrost very quickly in small syringes. We used a mixture of 1, 3 and 5ml syringes (maybe a few ten mls by the end there..), start small, and don’t express for long. You don’t want to over stimulate your nipples and force labour (let baby decide when they are ready) but if you are anything like me, I was leaking colostrum in both my pregnancies before the third trimester so after 37 weeks I started collecting it. Again the first time round I didn’t really realise how valuable it was and didn’t store more than a few mls properly.

Even if you don’t manage to express anything, nipple stimulation will release Oxytocin, same reason sex is recommended to onset labour, so it may well just hurry bubba along after all!

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