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maximize your milk

When using breast compression, leave your baby on the first breast to “finish” before switching. Baby is finished when she no longer uses the type of suck in which she opens her mouth wide, pauses, and closes her mouth. She may look like she’s just “nibbling.” How to do breast compression:

1. If sitting up, hold baby with one arm and hold your breast with the opposite hand. If laid-back, hold your breast with a free hand.

2. Put your thumb on one side of your breast and your other fingers on the other side, well away from the nipple and the areola, the dark circle around your nipple.

3. Watch your baby for the wide jaw movements that tell you she’s is getting milk. Baby gets more milk when she is drinking with an open mouth wide–pause–close mouth type of suck. (Open mouth wide–pause–close mouth is one suck; the pause is not a pause between sucks.)

4. When baby is nibbling or no longer drinking with the open mouth wide–pause–close mouth type of suck, compress the breast firmly but not so hard that it hurts. Try not to change the shape of the breast near baby’s mouth. With the compression, baby should start drinking again with the open mouth wide–pause–close mouth type of suck.

5. Don’t stop compressing until baby is no longer drinking milk actively even with the compression, then release the pressure. Baby may stop sucking when the pressure is released but will start again soon as milk starts to flow. If baby does not stop sucking when pressure is released, wait a short time before compressing again.

6. Release the pressure to rest your hand and to allow milk to flow to baby again. If baby stops sucking when pressure is released, she will start again when she tastes milk.

7. When baby starts sucking again, she may drink (open mouth wide–pause–close mouth). If not, compress again as above.

8. Continue on the first side until compression does not cause baby to drink. Allow baby to stay on this side for a while longer, as she may start drinking again on her own. If she no longer drinks, allow her to come off or take her off the breast.

9. When breast compression no longer works to keep baby active, break the suction and take her off the breast. Change her diaper or stroke or undress her more, then offer the other breast. Repeat as many times as needed until baby is done. Some pauses during breastfeeding are normal. Breast compression is only needed if baby spends much of each nursing session lazing at the breast rather than drinking milk. Breast compression works because it provides baby with positive reinforcement for active suckling. More milk intake promotes more active breastfeeding.

Source Breastfeeding Solutions app: Nancy Morbacher, IBCLC

Did you or do you use breast compressions, honey?!


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