Antenatal Colostrum Harvesting by Ashley Shapiro IBCLC, RN, BSN

Ashley Shapiro is an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) and RN. Please go to her website at for her contact information!

Antenatal colostrum harvesting offers a unique opportunity for expecting mothers to provide their babies with a head start even before birth. Colostrum, often referred to as "liquid gold," is the first milk produced during pregnancy and is rich in essential nutrients and antibodies crucial for a newborn's health and immune system development. 

Colostrum is packed with antibodies that help protect newborns against infections and illnesses, providing them with a crucial immune system boost during their early days. This golden elixir is not only rich in antibodies but also essential in nutrients such as proteins, fats, and vitamins, promoting healthy growth and development in newborns. Antenatal colostrum harvesting can foster a deeper bond between a mother and her unborn baby as it involves active participation in providing nourishment even before birth.

Why collect colostrum before your baby arrives? 

Collecting colostrum before birth is done for birth planning, medical conditions (Jaundice, low blood sugar, or diabetes), potential breastfeeding challenges (weight loss greater than 10 percent, poor latch, unexpected separation), storage for future use, and peace of mind. 

Tips for Antenatal Colostrum Harvesting:

Start Early: Begin colostrum harvesting around 37 weeks of pregnancy or as advised by your healthcare provider to give yourself ample time to collect and store colostrum.

Hand Expression Technique: Learn proper hand expression techniques from a lactation consultant to effectively collect colostrum without causing discomfort or injury.

Label and Store Properly: Label each container with the date and time of expression and store them in a clean, airtight container in the refrigerator or freezer according to recommended guidelines.

In conclusion, antenatal colostrum harvesting is a simple yet powerful way for expecting mothers to provide their babies with essential nutrients and antibodies for a healthy start in life. By embracing this practice and following these tips, mothers can contribute to their baby's well-being even before they enter the world, laying the foundation for a lifetime of health and happiness.

Find Ashley on Instagram at @ashleyshapirolactation_ or on her website at

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