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How To Help Your Baby Get More Breast Milk: Breast Compression

Monday, February 15, 2021

To help your baby get more breast milk at each feed, you could try a technique called ‘breast compression’. This gentle squeezing mimics the breast’s natural milk letdown, encouraging the baby to suck. In this post we’ll explain when and how to do it.

When is breast compression helpful?

Breast compression is not necessary for every baby. It can, however, be helpful if your baby:

  • is a sleepy feeder.
  • has very long feeds.
  • is not gaining enough weight.
  • has difficulty removing milk from the breast.
  • is jaundiced.
  • is premature or has low muscle tone.

As you breastfeed, watch for a change in how your baby is drinking. When your baby seems to tire or begins to munch instead sucking deeply, begin breast compressions. The change in pressure usually encourages babies to begin drinking again, and your baby will get more breast milk.

How to do breast compression:

1. Use your hand to cup your breast as close to the chest wall as possible. Keep your fingers well away from your nipple so baby won’t slip off the breast as you squeeze.

Help baby get more breast milk with breast compression - step 1

2. With your thumb on one side of your breast and your fingers on the other, gently squeeze and hold. This should cause baby to begin drinking again.

Help baby get more breast milk with breast compression - step 2

3. When your baby stops sucking, release the pressure of your hand.

Help baby get more breast milk with breast compression - step 3

4. Repeat until your baby no longer drinks, even with breast compression.

Have you tried this technique? Let us know in the comments if it has worked for you.

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References:

  1. International Breastfeeding Centre. “Breast Compressions to Increase Milk Flow to the Baby”, ibconline.ca. 2019. https://ibconline.ca/information-sheets/breast-compression/
  2. La Leche League GB, “My Baby Needs More Milk”, www.lalecheleague.org. 2019. https://www.laleche.org.uk/my-baby-needs-more-milk/#compression

Updated July 7, 2019

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