Why Using Breast Compressions Could Help To Solve Breastfeeding Problems
As you will know if you are a breastfeeding Mum or have been reading the posts my the Breastfeeding Series, while it is a totally natural process, even the most experience Mamas can come across problems on their nursing journey. While problems can be varied, there is one simple trick that I am going to teach you today that will help with a multitude of breastfeeding issues. Today we are talking about breast compressions. Read on to discover why every breastfeeding mother can benefit from this breast compressions.
What Is A Breast Compression?
A breast compression is a specific way of squeezing your breast during a feed to encourage the let down and flow of milk. By preforming a breast compression during a feed,
How Do I Do A Breast Compression?
Cradle your baby in one arm and bring their mouth to the breast.
Ensure that they are correctly positioned at the breast, are latched on and feeding.
As their feeding slows, place your fingers in a C shape (as in the picture above) and squeeze the breast speed up the release of milk. I think of it like squeezing the last of the toothpaste out of a tube.
The baby will receive the increased flow of milk and should continue to suck and swallow again.
Move your hand around your breast to a new position and repeat the process every time your baby’s sucking and swallowing slows. By moving your hand, you will be encouraging flow from different milk ducts each time.
Check out this fantastic video below that explains breast compressions really well and demonstrates how the baby reacts to the compressions.
When Might Breast Compressions Come In Handy?
Breast compressions are a fantastic tool to have in your breastfeeding problem solving arsenal as they are a solution solution to a number of common problems that many Mums run into. Breast compressions can be handy for;
The Baby That Needs To Gain Weight
If you have concerns about your baby’s feeding or weight gain, your first step is to speak to your health visitor or other health professional. If they are in agreement that baby need to gain more weight than they are currently managing, breast compressions are one of the things that can really help. Certainly once the breast begin to empty and the milk doesn’t flow so freely, performing breast compressions to encourage your baby to keep going can really help them to empty the breast. Not only will this help them to get those extra precious few millilitres of liquid gold during the feed, but the fact that they are feeding more will prompt your body to supply more. As this process continues, the extra that your body produces means that there will be more for your baby who will then find it easier to feed, all of which contributes to weight gain.
The Sleepy Baby
As I discussed in my Doing This One Thing While Breastfeeding Will Help You Get More Sleep post, it is important to remember that just because babies have dozed off to sleep, it does not mean that they are full. Small babies especially can be very drowsy. Of my four breastfed babies, my 4th baby, Zara, was the sleepiest. Although feeding her now at 13 months feels like feeding a very wriggly octopus, when she was tiny, it was almost impossible to keep her awake for feeds. I found that as she was slowing down feeding and drifting off, performing a breast compression would wake her enough remind her to keep feeding.
Expressing For Baby
No matter how fantastic your breast pump, it will never be as efficient at extracting milk from your body as an actual human baby. By adding breast compressions into your expressing routine, it will help to squeeze out those extra precious few drops of milk.
So Give It A Go
Next time you are feeding your baby, give it a go. Try out the breast compressions and watch for the difference in your baby’s feeding. Let me know how much of a difference it made for you in the comments, or drop me an email.
Don’t forget to check out the other posts in the breastfeeding series so far;
Setting Up Your Sleeping Space For Easy Breastfeeding