Pumping before birth can sound unusual, but many women do it. Pregnancy is a special time of your life, and every woman has a different experience.
Therefore, pumping before birth can be something completely normal and great for some women. On the other hand, this action can be harmful and not recommended for other women.
In this article, you will find out the pros and cons of pumping breast milk before birth.
When Is Pumping Before Birth Recommended
First of all, pumping before birth is something that should be approved by the doctor. If your pregnancy is normal and healthy without any medical conditions, pumping before birth shouldn’t be a problem.
If you’re a full-term pregnant mom, pumping can induce pre-term labor. Pumping helps to release the hormone oxytocin, which causes contractions in your uterus. So, this could be a way to provoke your contractions.
Another reason why some women like to pump before birth is to avoid a low milk supply. As you know, the amount of your breast milk can be smaller in the beginning. So, some women want to work on their milk production earlier in order to prepare substantial breast milk storage.
These are the two main reasons for pumping before birth. Once again, this is something that should be done at the end of your pregnancy, and your doctor should be on board with this.
Many pregnant women experience leakage from their breasts. It can start at the beginning of pregnancy or around the second trimester. The amount of leakage is often so small, that it’s not even noticeable.
Most of the women just notice that the area around their nipples is wet. The fluid that is leaking is called colostrum.
What Is Colostrum?
Colostrum is similar to milk, but it’s actually a form of milk. Colostrum is the first breast milk that your body produces, and it’s also known as beestings.
As I’ve mentioned, some women produce it during pregnancy, and some women produce it just after the childbirth. Colostrum is significant because its ingredients are important for the baby’s immune system.
The first milk is rich in bioactive compounds that are great for your baby. It also contains antibodies and immune cells – lymphocytes.
Colostrum is produced by your mammary glands during the first 2 to 4 days after the delivery. Since it contains such important things, it’s amazing for the baby’s growth and development.
Baby’s consumption of colostrum will reduce the possibility of inflammation and digestive problems.
When Pumping Before Birth Is Not Recommended
Pumping before birth is not recommended for those women who had certain issues during pregnancy. In other words, there are some pregnancy risks when we talk about this topic.
There are some other reasons why pumping before birth can cause issues. As I’ve said, this action can cause contractions. If you try to pump the breast milk before consulting with your doctor, you may induce labor. Also, there is a high risk of vaginal bleeding due to muscle contractions.
It’s always better to allow your body to naturally start with the delivery. Besides, if you’re pumping before birth to induce labor, there are other ways.
Another reason to avoid pumping before birth is your colostrum. As I’ve mentioned before, this form of milk is liquid gold for your child. It’s much richer in nutrients than regular breast milk.
Since your breasts are producing colostrum for only a few days, it’s better to save it for the baby. Of course, if the leakage of colostrum is happening on its own, you can’t do much about it.
Pumping before birth can be extremely successful in a way that your body creates a habit and routine. That can be good for you and your breast milk supply. However, you don’t know what kind of rhythm your baby will have.
For example, you could be in a situation where your breast is ready to release milk, but your baby is not hungry. Or you pump it, and then you don’t have enough to feed the baby when he or she is hungry.
If you don’t want to pump and use bottle feeding when you give birth, you should skip pumping before birth. As you can see, there are a quite few reasons why pumping before birth is not a great idea.
I Want To Pump Before Birth
I gave you the basic information about pumping before birth, but you’re the one who is in charge of your body. Maybe you have more children, and you had problems with your breast milk supply. That being said, you want to prepare yourself for this baby.
Maybe you want to be a breastfeeding mom, and you’re afraid that you won’t have enough breast milk. Maybe you want to practice nursing and breastfeeding positions.
There is a chance that your doctor recommended this, and you want to follow the advice. Whatever it is, I support you, and I will help you.
The best thing about pumping before birth is the absence of pressure. It takes time for your breasts to produce a good amount of breast milk. When you’re trying to increase your milk supply while your baby is there, you can feel stressed.
However, when you’re trying to induce the production of breast milk while still pregnant, there is no stress. You know that your baby is not hungry, and you don’t feel rushed or pressured to produce a lot of breast milk.
When it comes to producing breast milk in general, your diet plays an important role. So, if you want to start lactating, take care of your diet.
Pregnant women should have a good, nutritious diet regardless of pumping before birth. However, hormones and cravings can make that hard. Of course, if you’re serious about pumping before birth, you have to make an effort.
My number one piece of advice is to drink a lot of water. Water is so amazing. To be honest, I don’t like water. I prefer something that is delicious But, I force myself to drink a lot of water.
You should do that too. Water is important for everything in our bodies. Since you’re pregnant, water is even more important for you. You’re not just responsible for yourself. You’re responsible for your baby.
Breast milk is a fluid produced by your body. Since that’s the case, you need to drink more water and fluid. It’s pretty logical. Even if your mammary glands can produce breast milk without you drinking a lot of water, you will feel better if you’re well-hydrated.
Pumping breast milk and breastfeeding can be exhausting, and staying hydrated is crucial. Of course, eating well is also important. If you’re interested in pumping before birth, you have to nourish your body.
Good, healthy food that is filled with vitamins and minerals will help you with lactation. Take care of your health in general, since pumping could make you feel tired. If you’re not eating well, your blood sugar can easily get lower.
On the other hand, if you’re eating unhealthy, your blood sugar could rise and create a risk for gestational diabetes. This is just one of the possible scenarios if your pregnancy diet is not healthy enough.
Just like everything else you do, it’s important to consult a doctor before changing your diet. If you’re not an expert, it will be difficult to choose healthy, nutritional, and filling food.
Prenatal health is important for you, your baby, and your future. Some health issues that start during pregnancy can stay with you forever. So, don’t take your health for granted, and do everything in your power to prepare for everything that’s coming.
Everything You Need To Know To Start Pumping Before Birth
Now that you know that you have to adjust your lifestyle a little bit, it’s time to start explaining this process a little bit more.
Before you start to pump colostrum, you should buy something to store it in the freezer. Don’t just waste it, save it for your breastfeeding baby. That way, when the baby arrives, he or she will get that liquid miracle.
When you’re ready to start pumping colostrum, I suggest finding a good breast pump. There are many choices, so do your research.
A manual breast pump doesn’t need a power source, but you have to use your own hands and strength. When it comes to electric breast pumps, you have single and double breast pumps.
For this kind of breast pump, you need a power source. A single breast pump can pump one breast at a time, and a double breast pump two. Electric breast pumps have more parts and they are a bit harder to clean and sanitize.
I would like to mention wearable breast pumps. This one is more expensive, but it gives you a lot of freedom. You can wear it under your clothes, and since it is hands-free, you can do something else while pumping breast milk.
When it comes to expressing colostrum, you don’t have to use a breast pump. You can do it with your own hands. Hand expression of colostrum is a bit difficult in the beginning since it takes practice.
When trying to do a hand expression, start by relaxing and making yourself comfortable. Of course, grab a container before you start. Then, start massaging your breasts, starting from your armpits all the way to your nipples.
It helps if your hands are warm. Do that for a few minutes. After that, use your thumb and index finger and cup your breast into a C- shape. Your thumb and your finger should be opposite of each other, positioned 2 or 3 centimeters from the nipple. Press and release your finger and thumb until you see colostrum coming out of your breast.
This action will take a few minutes. It’s important to find a rhythm of pressing and releasing. Of course, keep doing these movements even after your colostrum starts dripping.
When you notice that the flow is slowing down, start to move around with your fingers like you’re gently trying to squeeze something. It sounds funny, but you will figure this out easier if you think of this action as milking.
Pumping colostrum without a hand is tricky, but it’s good to learn. Maybe you will give up on the idea of pumping before birth. So, before buying an expensive breast pump, try to express milk with your hands. You can always ask your healthcare provider or lactation consultant for help.
After a successful pumping session, make sure to store it well. Repeat this activity as often as possible in the beginning. When you create enough milk, start pumping every 2 to 3 hours.
Your baby will be breastfeeding every 2 to 3 hours, so try to create that kind of rhythm when pumping. If you notice that your milk supply is increasing, think about buying a breast pump.
As I’ve mentioned, there are a few choices, so think about the best option for you. After all, a breast pump will be useful if you continue pumping after the delivery.
What If I Fail?
First of all, there is nothing wrong with not being able to pump, lactate, or breastfeed. Some women have certain issues or problems with this. It’s nothing to be ashamed of.
Maybe you’ve decided to start pumping before birth because you’ve already been in a situation where your milk supply is low. Maybe you’re disappointed with yourself.
There is no reason to feel that way. Yes, colostrum and milk are amazing for your newborn baby. Yes, breastfeeding and breast milk are natural.
However, sometimes it’s not working. That’s not something that should affect your mental health. The most important thing you need to know and remember is that you’ve tried.
You’ve tried and it didn’t work. It happens and it doesn’t make you any less of a mother. Your effort is proof that your love for your baby is unconditional.
Don’t be stressed or pressured because of this. Find a way to relax and forget. Focus on feeling good and preparing your body for giving birth. There is nothing wrong with formula feeding
Besides, just because you can’t start pumping before birth, doesn’t mean that you won’t be lactating after birth. Relax, and go with the flow. These things happen and your mental health is far more important than milk.
How To Take Care Of Your Mental Health?
During pregnancy, your mental health is very important. If you take care of yourself and your body, you could avoid postpartum depression. Postpartum depression is normal, but it’s a serious medical condition.
It’s okay to have mood swings, but depression is something else. As a pregnant woman, try to spend your free time by doing activities you love. Avoid stress and keep telling yourself that you will be a great mom.
If your pregnancy is difficult and stressful, it’s hard to stay positive. You’re stressed, tired, and overwhelmed. But, your pregnancy days will be over soon. Of course, childbirth is difficult too, but it will bring you your loved baby.
After the delivery, the chances for a bad mental state are even higher. Your body went through a trauma, and you have a little human being that depends on you. All those normal, daily activities become a task that is not so easy to finish.
The first thing to do is surround yourself with good people. Talk to your partner, your friends, and your family. Create a support system for yourself. You need people who will cheer you up no matter what.
Pregnancy and childbirth will change your body. That’s why it’s important to build your confidence. Changes are normal. Feeling down sometimes is also normal, but try to avoid those feelings.
Pumping and breastfeeding can be difficult and confusing. Sometimes, these actions can be painful too. It’s a natural thing, but don’t be obsessed with this. Give yourself some time to adjust to all these new things.
Finally, if you’re feeling bad, you can always ask for professional help. Talking about your problems is important even when you can’t fix anything. It’s good to say some things out loud.
The next phase of your life will be challenging and unique. Make an effort to find a way that will make it easier for you.
Pumping before birth can cause physical and mental changes. This action shouldn’t be done without a doctor’s supervision. Pumping and breastfeeding as a way of extracting milk can be difficult. Some women find it easy and natural.
But, some women have problems with it. You shouldn’t be doing it if you don’t feel good while pumping or breastfeeding. Many things can make this process easier, but if nothing helps, don’t worry.
Becoming a new mom is amazing and overwhelming at the same time. Some things will not go as planned, and you need to make peace with that. This article will help you to choose your way of handling these things. You will know what to do, how to do it, and how to cope with everything.
Hi all, I am Sidney, a nutritionist by education, a hobbyist photographer, and a mother to two sweet girls who are my motivation. I love sharing the tips and tricks I gained all these years I’ve been a mother. I hope it will help you!