Breast compressions are a wonderful way to encourage milk flow, and are very helpful during the suckling experience to ensure that your partner is consuming every drop of breast milk and properly emptying your breasts during each nursing session, which helps greatly in the lactation process by telling your body that more milk is needed. Although they do very little to assist in the process of making milk, these compressions cam help with flow. They are effective during suckling, and while they can be used during any level of lactation, they are particularly useful during the first phase when milk supply is low, and it is sometimes difficult to tell precisely how much milk you’re releasing during each nursing session. Breast compressions can also be helpful if your milk flow has slowed, or your partner isn’t suckling effectively.
Here’ how to put the squeeze on lactation. 😉
Once you and your partner have settled into a comfortable nursing position and he is properly latched to the breast, allow him to suckle for approximately five minutes to encourage the let-down reflex. You can then incorporate your first set of breast compressions.
To provide proper compressions, curve your hand into a C-shape, allowing the side of your breast to rest comfortably in the cupped palm of your hand with your fingers supporting the underside of the breast and resting against the wall of the chest. Your thumb will lie flat along the top of the areola, and help to provide pressure during this technique. Your thumb should not press into the areola, as this can inhibit milk flow; when performing compressions, be sure not to disturb your partner’s latch. If he does come off the breast, help him re-latch, and then re-position your hand. Firmly squeeze your breast. Your fingers will push upward while your thumb presses down, and the breast will flatten slightly. Hold the position for five minutes as your partner suckles, then release. The release allows your hand and breast to rest. Your partner should continue to nurse during this rest. After five minute have gone by, apply a second five-minute set of breast compressions if you wish, and repeat the process (compress-rest) for the length of the entire nursing session. You can compress either one or both breasts. Compressions are a technique that don’t require a great deal of consistency, so you don’t need to use them during every nursing session, as skipping compressions will not adversely affect breast milk production in any way.