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Helping new mums be better breast feeders before their babies are born: Validating an instructional video for antenatal hand expressing

Many mothers give up breastfeeding due to a perception of poor milk supply. Anecdotally, hand expression and storage of colostrum in the weeks prior to birth helps build confidence with breastfeeding and may help establish a good milk supply. However, there are concerns that expressing antenatally can affect hormones that promote the early onset of labour.  Large studies are needed, but are costly - a lactation consultant is required to provide instruction. This makes instruction on a large scale expensive and time consuming.

The research

Following community consultation, we have developed a comprehensive instructional video on antenatal expressing of colostrum. We aim to investigate whether this educational video produces similar results to a one-on-one lactation consultant session in terms of knowledge, technique and satisfaction, in a group of 60 pregnant women.  If so, the video can enable a cost effective way to determine whether antenatal expressing is a safe way to improve breastfeeding rates. Hand expressing prior to birth has the potential to provide an easy, economical way for infants to gain benefits associated with breastfeeding such as lower respiratory and gastrointestinal tract infections, and a reduced risk of obesity and chronic diseases in later life.


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