Everything You Need to Harvest Your Colostrum

bottle of breast milk

The journey towards parenthood is filled with countless new experiences, and one of the earliest challenges you may face is the need to harvest colostrum before your little one has even entered the world!

Colostrum is the first milk your body produces for your newborn, and it's packed with essential nutrients and antibodies crucial for your baby's health. It’s often referred to as liquid gold for just how much goodness it has in there! Here, we’ll walk you through what you need to get started with collecting and storing your colostrum.

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At a Glance: Colostrum Harvesting Must-Haves

Sterifeed Sterile 1ml Colostrum Collector Syringes: https://amzn.to/3rmMCwG (Price: £8.99) 

Philips Avent Breast Milk Storage Cups: https://amzn.to/3rnp1fq (Price: £16.49) 

Lansinoh HPA Lanolin Nipple Cream: https://amzn.to/3RsDCR6 (Price: £11.49) 

INEOS Hand Sanitiser Gel: https://amzn.to/3t2iwPy (Price: £5.99) 

Lifewit Insulated Soft Cooler Bag: https://amzn.to/3Prujyb (Price: 16.99)

Elvie Stride Breast Pump (for use after birth): https://amzn.to/3LwrU4b (Price: £120)

Syringes

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Syringes are they key tool for harvesting colostrum. They come in different sizes, but for this purpose, it's best to use 1ml or 2ml syringes. Here's how to use them:

  • Wash your hands thoroughly
  • Sterilise the syringe by boiling it in water for 5 minutes or using a microwave steriliser
  • Gently massage your breasts to stimulate milk flow
  • Express colostrum by hand, aiming for even a few drops or small amounts
  • Carefully draw the colostrum into the syringe
  • Remove any air bubbles to ensure accurate measurements
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Cups or Bottles for Storage

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Unless you choose to store it within the syringes, you’ll also need containers to store the colostrum collected. Small sterile cups or breast milk storage bottles are great choices. Make sure to:

  • Sterilise the containers before use.
  • Label them with the date and time of collection.
  • Store them in a clean, airtight container in the refrigerator or freezer.

Nipple Balm

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Harvesting colostrum can be a bit tough on your nipples, especially if you're doing it frequently. Nipple balm can provide relief and prevent dryness or cracking. It’s also good to have a stash of nipple balm ready to go for when breastfeeding or expressing your milk!

Hand Sanitiser

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Great hygiene is essential when handling your colostrum or breast milk, so always keep a hand sanitiser nearby. Before expressing colostrum or handling storage containers, clean your hands thoroughly to prevent contamination.

Cool Bags

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When you need to transport harvested colostrum, especially if you're in a hospital setting, insulated cool bags come in handy. These bags help maintain the right temperature for the colostrum, keeping it safe until you can refrigerate or freeze it again.

Breast Pump for Use After Birth

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While you can use hand expression and syringes for harvesting colostrum during pregnancy, a breast pump becomes more useful after childbirth when your milk supply increases. A good quality electric or manual breast pump can help you express and store larger quantities of milk for later use. Head here for our picks of the best breast pumps out there.

By having the necessary tools you need for colostrum harvesting, you'll be well-prepared for this new challenge of parenthood as you get ready to welcome your little one into the world. Always consult with your midwife or health visitor for guidance and support in your breastfeeding journey, however big or small your question might be.

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