How to harvest colostrum

Do you want to know how to know more about harvesting your colostrum in preparation for your baby's birth?

This can be done from 37 weeks of pregnancy. Infant feeding coordinator Leigh-Anne Hartley talks about harvesting colostrum and provides a demonstration of how to do it in this video:

It's important to note that some people are encouraged to do this whilst others are discouraged due to contraindications

The below people are encouraged to use antenatal expression to harvest their colostrum:

  • those with diabetes (pre-existing or gestational)
  • babies who have been diagnosed with cleft lip and/or palette
  • babies diagnosed with congenital conditions
  • mother’s having elective caesarean sections
  • babies who are small for gestational age
  • people with breast hypoplasia
  • hormonal disorders
  • breast surgery
  • multiple sclerosis
  • a strong family history of dairy intolerance or inflammatory bowel disease
  • people  taking beta-blockers e.g. Labetalol
  • people with a BMI or 37 or more
  • people expecting twins or triplets.

People who have any of the below are advised against antenatal expression to harvest their colostrum as this is contraindicated in the following circumstances:

  • people with a history of threatened or pre-term labour
  • people with cervical issues such as such as your cervix remaining closed during pregnancy
  • people with a history of bleeding in this pregnancy.

Download this information leaflet which explains the process of harvesting and storing your colostrum or first milk


For any questions relating to antenatal expression and harvesting colostrum please contact our infant feeding team