Hand expressing before birth?

Yep, this is the advice I was given at my 34 ante-natal appointment, advice that has definately changed from three years ago with my first. After a bit of practice today in the bath, I have to say this is a genius idea, especially for first-time mums.

Even if you get yourself on the best ante-natal education programme which includes good quality sessions on breastfeeding, the whole thing is still an enigma until you actually do it, well even afterwards. I assumed with my first child, from everything I had read and been told, my milk wouldn’t come in until after labour, as the hormones bring on the flow. Seems as though this is a myth and hand expressing before birth can help stimulate production.

As I lay in the bath, refreshing my memory on hand expressing (trying to make the milk squirt like I used to when teasing my non-parent mates as a party trick!!) the whole process came flooding back. I got a practical demonstration complete with all the physical sensations on how my milk production works. Plus as I could see how much was coming out, I started to compare it with what the baby will need for those first few feeds (a teaspoon full – read more here).

That is where the stroke of genius is for this piece of advice from health professionals. The biggest concern and stress of those first few days of breastfeeding is whether the baby is getting enough, as you can’t see what is going down their throat, even though there are other key signs if they weren’t fed adequately. By getting milk production going before birth mother’s will feel in control of their body and confident to feed their child.

So it sounds like I’ve found the holy grail and this may not be new advice to many people. But the fact it came directly from my midwife as official advice from the health authority, made it the biggest discovery of my ante-natal care.

It’s all in the booklet here.

Sources: NHS Choices, Babycentre.co.uk

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About Claire Jones-Hughes

Founder and co-editor of BrightonMums.com, Claire has been blogging since 2009. She has posted on a variety of sites including The Argus, The Huffington Post and The Guardian's Comment Is Free. Known as The Contented Mummy on social media, she is dedicated to honest, unsponsored blogging so that parents can benefit from shared experience. Can also be found at www.fitfaband40.co.uk - sharing her journey to health & wellness.

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