Experiences of expressing and storing colostrum antenatally: A qualitative study of mothers in regional Western Australia

J Child Health Care. 2015 Jun;19(2):206-15. doi: 10.1177/1367493513503586. Epub 2013 Oct 23.


This qualitative study explored the experiences and breastfeeding outcomes of a group of mothers who expressed colostrum in the antenatal period. In-depth interviews were conducted over the telephone with 12 women who had attended a unique antenatal lactation clinic appointment at 37 weeks' gestation. Seven main response themes were identified. Most women reflected positively upon their attendance and reported that the experience of expressing colostrum allowed them to become familiar with their breasts and gave them a sense of security by having a supply of colostrum stored for possible use after birth. The main negative emotions reported were a sense of embarrassment at expressing the colostrum, particularly in front of another person, the difficulties with expressing colostrum and in one instance, the physical pain associated with the process. Antenatal expression of colostrum may improve maternal breastfeeding confidence. Further research using long-term records will determine whether this practice improves breastfeeding outcomes.

Keywords: Antenatal; breast milk; colostrum; efficacy; expression.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Breast Feeding*
  • Colostrum / physiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Interviews as Topic
  • Mothers / psychology*
  • Pregnancy
  • Prenatal Care*
  • Qualitative Research
  • Western Australia