Are you wondering if it is bad to squeeze your breast during pregnancy? Well, don’t worry because you are going to feed your baby soon enough, and there’s nothing wrong with having a slight discharge leaking through your nipples.
The discharge is nutrient-rich colostrum, and it has a different texture and color from normal breast milk. It is fine to squeeze it out and store it for the coming baby. We are going to dive deep into this topic and share with you all the different details about ‘colostrum’.
What is a Colostrum?
Colostrum is otherwise known as liquid gold. During the second trimester, women usually feel leaking from their nipples. This leakage is not in the form of regular breast milk. It is colostrum, a sticky, yellowy substance that looks like glue. This is an even better version of breast milk; it is a high concentration of nutrients.
Women often perceive the leaking of breasts as a side effect of pregnancy. What is the use of this liquid when the baby isn’t even here yet? The breasts produce colostrum, which can be stored for the baby before arrival. You can squeeze colostrum out of your breasts if you do it carefully.
The thing to be concerned about is timing. Every pregnancy is different. Some women have colostrum leaking breasts in their second trimester. This shows the body is preparing for milk production. The correct timing is after the 39th week of pregnancy with approval from your doctor.
This nutritious substance not only has health benefits for the baby but also for pregnant women who are unable to induce labor easily.
What Nutrients Does It Contain?
Doctors have supported breast milk as the best and healthiest baby food. No formula milk even comes close to it in nutrition and long-term benefits for both the mother and the baby. However, studies have shown that colostrum is even better than breast milk. The reason is its composition, and the key ingredients are enlisted below.
- Antibodies & Vitamins
Colostrum contains multiple antibodies that make the baby’s immune system strong. Colostrum also has multivitamin content and is considered one of the most important sources of vitamin A for the baby. The benefits of vitamin A for the baby’s organs and eyes are an open secret. In addition to vitamin A, the vitamin B complex is also present in abundance.
Other than vitamins, colostrum is protein-rich, increases the growth of the baby’s body, and gives the baby’s tissues strength to repair and maintain cells. Regular protein is not digestible for younger babies and cannot be given in the early stages. Fortunately, the colostrum proteins are digestible and can be given to the baby for strength building.
Minerals like zinc and calcium, which the body doesn’t produce on its own, are also a part of colostrum. They are necessary nutrients for normal body growth. Since the baby cannot have them from any other supplement, they are readily present for the baby in the form of colostrum. These minerals assist in normal cardiac and bone growth.
Benefits of Colostrum to the Baby?
You just found out about the several nutrients that compose the colostrum. Now let’s see how these nutrients benefit the baby and you.
- Boosting Immunity
Colostrum is not called liquid gold without a reason. It has numerous benefits. It boosts the baby’s immunity to prepare for any future bacterial or viral attacks. This happening, in the initial stages of the baby’s life, means he/she will become tougher to deal with any future diseases that come his/her way.
- Keeps The Jaundice at Bay
Diseases like jaundice are also common among newborn babies. Jaundice is characterized by yellowing skin and eyes due to a liver infection. Feeding the baby colostrum may reverse the infection by flushing toxins from the baby’s body. This happens due to the laxative property of the colostrum, which doesn’t allow harmful bacteria to exist inside the baby’s body.
- Protects the tummy
Colostrum has multi-nutritional properties and is most crucial for your baby’s digestive system. It ensures a healthy elimination of waste from the body. It brings good bacteria inside the baby’s stomach, keeping away infections, and protecting it against any future problems. All of this is necessary for your new baby’s weak tummy.
- Improves sleep
As colostrum keeps the digestive system healthy your baby will not experience gas or bloating and will sleep longer. Your baby. There will not be any tummy pain for the baby. Consequently, the sleep cycle of the baby improves as his/her body is relaxed.
- Swift Growth
The protein quality helps growth and allows tissues and cells the fuel to reproduce. Babies may also have low blood sugar, which can be best countered by colostrum. True formula milk and breast milk have sugar content, but they are unmatchable with colostrum.
- Confidence Building for New Mom
Colostrum is not only beneficial for your baby. It has been discovered that expressing colostrum early on during pregnancy helps women in confidence building.
Not all women can produce breast milk due to multiple reasons. However, if a mother-to-be can express colostrum during pregnancy, it gives her confidence that she will be able to breastfeed her child.
Can I Squeeze My Breasts to Collect Colostrum During Pregnancy?
Squeezing your breasts to collect colostrum is not bad for the baby. But you must be cautious.
This is the most beneficial thing that you could do for your baby. However, you need to take your safety into account. Squeezing colostrum by the end of your pregnancy may cause labor to start.
If your due date is months away, you need not rush. In this case, if you squeeze colostrum, you might be putting yourself and your baby at risk. Premature labor often comes with a lot of risks and uncertainties for the mother and the baby.
You may think that expressing colostrum can make your nipples sore due to pressure application. You will find the experience incredibly convenient. All you need to do is keep changing pressure.
So, it is not bad to squeeze the breasts during pregnancy. You need to take a safe course when expressing colostrum.
Can I Store it Until the Birth?
Yes, you can. It is easy to collect colostrum and store it using the expressing colostrum method. All you need to do to express colostrum is to apply some nipple stimulation gently with clean hands. You can place a container over your nipple to collect as much colostrum as possible. Nipple stimulation is also used for pumping out breast milk.
While you accumulate the colostrum, you must always put it in a tight and dry container. Otherwise, it will go bad and prove harmful to your newborn. It is better to collect the leaking colostrum in small amounts. If your nipples are not easily releasing the colostrum, avoid pinching your breasts too much. Remember, there is no pressure and no rush to do anything. Take a deep breath and be patient.
Colostrum After Birth
After a baby is born, the new mothers are advised to latch babies on for breastfeeding within the first 6 hours. This is not necessary because the breasts will eventually produce milk after birth. You can massage breasts and latch the baby onto your breasts carefully, as the sucking reflex of the baby is usually enough for milk production.
Colostrum can be easily released after birth. You just need the right technique. Sit inclined with proper back support. Cup your breast and place your thumb on one side, but don’t stretch your nipple area. Now, for stimulation, move your finger in circles around your nipples while gently pressing them. You will see the colostrum squeeze out.
Instead of putting it in a container, you can squeeze it directly into the baby’s mouth. This will allow more amount to be consumed by the baby.
If the breast milk is not coming out, you can use the stored colostrum, instead of resorting to feeding your baby formula milk. If the baby is having trouble latching on to your nipples, you can use a needleless syringe for this purpose. A few drops will be enough for your little one.
Do’s And Dont’s for Colostrum Storage
If you have decided to store the colostrum, you need to take a few things into account before you start putting a container to your leaking breasts. You can only start squeezing and storing the colostrum in the 39th week of your pregnancy. This is because it can induce labor. So be safe and always be sure of your due date.
In pregnancy, clothes can itch, especially a bra. Your entire body is growing and needs space, especially your nipples. If you wear a tight bra, the fabric will make your breast itch, which can stimulate colostrum. This leaking colostrum will only go to waste.
Even if your pregnancy has matured and it is about time that you start squeezing your nipples, talk to your healthcare provider first. It is not right for every woman can squeeze out colostrum. You should experiment with nipple squeezing only after your doctor has reviewed your medical history and approved it.
Don’t try to use a breast pump for colostrum during your pregnancy. It can overstimulate the nipple and put your health in danger. Collect colostrum manually with your hands. Expressing colostrum is a technical business, so you must remain extremely gentle and careful.
You will only be able to gather a few drops at a time. Even a teaspoon is enough for your baby. You can gather it little by little and feed it to the baby through a syringe.
Always use an airtight container that is properly dried and sterilized so that there is no fear of bacterial growth. Keep it refrigerated properly at an adequate temperature until your baby arrives. If you are going to feed the baby colostrum within four days, you can place it in the refrigerator. If you intend to store the colostrum for a long period during your pregnancy, then you must store it in the freezer. You can use it once the baby arrives.
So, is it Really Bad to Squeeze Colostrum or What?
Squeezing colostrum isn’t a bad thing if done with caution. The mother’s body produces colostrum to benefit the newborn baby’s health. Babies can benefit from the nutrition in colostrum. There are many benefits for your baby, no tummy issues, improved sleep cycles, and healthier body organs. If you want your baby to have the healthiest thing they can get, there is nothing better than liquid gold colostrum.
You must always seek a doctor’s advice before squeezing colostrum from your breasts. If you are due soon, and your doctor approves, then you can squeeze colostrum to induce labor. You can conveniently store the colostrum in the freezer till your baby arrives.