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Breastfeeding Health and fitness

Should you pump breast milk before giving birth?

Updated: MAY 21, 2020

It’s almost your due date and you’ve been hearing so much about how breast milk is the best way to go for you and your baby. You may even have some milk build-up already – yup! That heavy feeling in your breasts waiting for your baby to feed on. You probably plan to advocate breastfeeding and have prepared so much for it – and also wonder if you should start stocking up on breast milk and start pumping while waiting for your baby – but should you pump breast milk before giving birth?

What is Colostrum?

You may have noticed some cloudy, milky looking secretion from your breasts as your pregnancy reaches its end – this is actually what’s called colostrum – first milk. Colostrum will be your baby’s first food and is rich in antibodies. It’s quite thick and won’t be as flowy as you expect your regular breast milk to be like.

Tip: Your nipples can get dry, cracked and sore and this makes breastfeeding extremely painful. We suggest using nipple creams when you are not breastfeeding, you can wipe it off before feeding. Ultimately, nipple butter or breastfeeding creams can keep your nipples moisturized and help cracked nipples heal faster.

Should I start storing colostrum before giving birth?

Some women may want to start storing this milk during their pregnancy – especially those that have plans on delivering via C-section and may have a hard time breastfeeding or for any emergency related needs. However, it isn’t highly encouraged as it could lead to complications that could harm both the mom and the baby.

Should you pump breast milk before giving birth - colostrum before my baby is born

Can I start pumping and storing my milk before I give birth?

Medical practitioners have mentioned that pumping before labor can be harmful. They said it can stimulate the hormones which can cause early labor. The only time it is recommended is if you have consulted with a practitioner to help you begin labor. It’s also worth noting that pumping prior to giving birth won’t actually increase your milk production or even enhance lactation.

Tip: You may use a manual breast pump or an electric portable breast pump, depending on your needs.

Pregnant and still breastfeeding.

If you are pregnant and still breastfeeding, pumping shouldn’t cause early labor. This is of course considering you’ve been seeing your doctor and have a healthy pregnancy. It is best to use breastmilk storage bags so it stays protected when storing and freezing breastmilk.

Tip: Your breasts may leak after you’ve breastfed your baby and causes stains on your clothing. These can keep you from completing errands right after breastfeeding. Keep your clothing dry by using disposable nursing pads designed to be leak-proof so you can go out with confidence.

Conclusion

It is not recommended to be pumping prior to giving birth. However, there are safe ways to be able to do so, such as hand expressing – of course after consulting with your practitioner or lactation nurse. You always want to do what’s best and safe for you and your little one.

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