Harvesting Colostrum

Harvesting Colostrum

By Polly Thoman, IBCLC

Lately there has been a new interest in harvesting a mom’s own colostrum during the last 3 weeks of the pregnancy. You may be wondering, why would someone want to do this? There are many reasons to consider harvesting your colostrum before your baby is born.

Sometimes when babies are born they may be diagnosed with a condition called hypoglycemia, also known as low blood sugar. This is more common in babies born to moms who have had gestational diabetes, but can happen to anyone. When the newborns blood sugar levels drop below a certain expected range, the pediatrician may suggest supplementing the baby either with glucose water or formula to raise the levels. Colostrum is the perfect supplement for your newborn!

Jaundice, or high bilirubin level, is another common issue with newborns. One way to lower the baby’s bilirubin levels is by making sure the baby is stooling and urinating properly. The infant should be kept well hydrated. High bilirubin levels can make a baby lethargic, and then they will not nurse properly. Pre-harvested colostrum will act as a laxative to help the baby excrete the bilirubin through the baby’s bowel movements.

The possibility of the mom’s milk not being in from a complicated delivery, the administration of a lot of medications, or an emergency cesarean section may also exist. Harvested colostrum would hold the baby over until mom’s milk comes in.

If a prenatal mom is interested in harvesting her own colostrum, this should be done under the close guidance of a knowledgeable IBCLC and with informing her OB/GYN of what she is intending to do.  Harvesting must be done safely and may not be recommended for some moms who may be considered in a high-risk pregnancies.

If you are interested in learning more about Harvesting Colostrum, you can contact Baby’s Sweet Beginnings for more information and we’d be happy to help you.