Breast compression is a gentle squeezing technique, used to keep the milk flowing into a baby’s mouth, if he/she has stopped drinking, but is still suckling. This massage while breastfeeding will encourage the milk to flow and the baby to suck.
When are Compressions Needed?
- When a baby falls asleep at the breast.
- When a baby takes too long to breastfeed or breastfeeds too often, compressions will help a mother shorten feedings.
- When a mother has sore nipples and needs the breastfeeding session to be as short as possible.
- When a mother has mastitis or a blocked duct, compressions can help drain the breast effectively during a breastfeeding session.
- The baby is a lazy drinker, premature and/or has other sucking problems.
- The mother wants to stimulate milk let-down (increase her breast milk flow).
- To increase milk production in general.
- Massaging the breasts while breastfeeding ensures that the baby gets more of the substantial hindmilk that is fattier and more filling, this will also help reduce colic. How to improve the fat content in your milk.
How to do Breastfeeding Compressions
- Make sure that your baby is latched on effectively and is, therefore, swallowing well. You should see your baby’s jaw moving with each swallow, and you may be able to hear your baby swallow.
- Hold your breast with a U hold (thumb or forefinger on top of the breast and other fingers under your breast as in the picture above) Try not to touch the areola (dark part around your nipple).
- Use your thumb or forefinger and put some pressure on your breast; you do not need to move your thumb, but only need to press down. Press down every time your baby sucks and then release. Do not press too hard, as it should not hurt.
- If your baby continues to suck, you can stop compression until he/she stops sucking. The release of pressure will allow your milk to start flowing again.
- If your baby does not start drinking well after this, you can begin compression again.
Increase milk production with Breast Compression
- Compressions will help drain the breast and therefore increase milk supply.
- Breast massage in-between feedings can also increase breast milk production.
- Other ways to increase breast milk supply.