Why Breast Compression Should Be Practiced

By Sandy Fe

Breast compression is useful when the baby is just sucking the breast and no longer drinks the milk. Furthermore, breast compressions can also trigger the let down reflex. Here are more scenarios when breast compressions can come in handy:

1. Slow weight gain

2. Colic in the breast fed baby.

3. For longer feeding sessions

4. Sore nipples for the mother.

5. Recurrent blocked ducts

6. Feeding the baby who falls asleep quick.

If none of the above factors have been observed, breast compression is not needed. However, mothers should make sure that one side of the breast becomes empty first before feeding the baby to the other side.

Breast compression usage:

1. Hold the baby with one arm.

2. Use the other arm to hold the breast. Your thumb should be on a side of your breast while your finger is at the back part of your nipple.

3. Monitor your baby's sucking reflex. The best sign that milk is being acquired by the baby is when he sucks then pauses for a while, then continues sucking.

4. If you feel that your baby is not drinking, apply breast compression gently. This should help the baby to get milk again.

5. The pressure should be maintained and should only be released if the baby does not drink during the compression. If the baby continues to suck even after the release, you can wait before applying breast compression again.

6. The reason for releasing pressure is to allow your hand to rest, and allow the milk to begin flowing to the baby again. If the baby stops sucking when you release the pressure, he'll start again once he tastes milk.

7. When the baby starts to suck again, he may drink. If not, simply compress again.

8. Continue feeding on the first side until the baby no longer drinks with compression. You should allow him time to stay on that side until he starts drinking again, on his own.

9. If the baby is no longer drinking, allow to come off the breast or take him off.

10. If you feel that the baby is not satisfied, repeat the same process on the other breast.

11. Unless you have sore nipples, you may want to switch sides like this several times.

12. Always work to improve the baby's latch.

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