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How to Do Breast Compressions During Breastfeeding

By Tristan Kiraly (she/her), Registered Nurse and Lactation Consultant

Hello West End Mamas community, my name is Tristan Corelli. I’m the lactation consultant (ILBLC) at the New Market location, York region.

I’m going to give you another tip on lactation breastfeeding or chest feeding today we’re going to talk about breast compressions. Breast compressions are a wonderful tool to have in your tool belt, your parenting tool belt. I am going to use some broccoli to help explain it. Why we’re using broccoli is it actually kind of looks like the inside of a breast.

We have the milk-producing cells here, the little balls of the florets, and they connect to a branching down the stalk here. Those are the ducts and it culminates at the end here. The nipple is with multiple openings corresponding to the lobes of the breast and as you can see we have milk-producing tissue all the way around the breast. We can remember that when we’re doing the breast compressions.

What is a breast compression? If we are going to do breast pressure, we’re going to take our hand and go far back on the chest wall where those milk-producing cells are and even behind them. If you apply pressure we’re going to help the milk project out of the nipple with a little bit more force, a little bit of encouragement to get the milk out. If you need a visual you can think about when you put your foot on a hose it’s going to shoot out the end of the hose. We’re kind of doing that, maybe, not to that degree but it’s helping. This can be useful in so many different ways; often it is helpful in increasing the flow of the milk, the speed at which it comes out of the breast so that baby can either perk up and be less sleepy to keep drinking, to be less fussy, keeping drinking, or even just to get more milk into baby.

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If for example, they’re having latch challenges, so what it might look like, is if baby latched here maybe we can come under the breast like this. Baby might be going nibble, drink, nibble, drink, nibble, drink. Their jaw coming way down for a drink and when it starts to just be nibbles or just before that, we’re going to apply some pressure in response to baby. So baby goes nibble, nibble, and we squeeze. Those nibbles turn to drinks and then baby’s going to take a few drinks and then pause. Then you can pause with your compression releasing the pressure and letting those milk ducts refill. Then baby goes again nibble, nibble, you can squeeze and hold, maybe try another area of the breast. Help get more milk into baby. It’s also very helpful for preventing or treating blocked ducts. Also for helping increase milk production as you drain the breast better or more efficiently.

Those are a few tips on breast compressions remember that it can be firm but not so much that you want to hurt yourself. You don’t even need to rub forward like this as that will probably just bruise you. Hopefully, that’s a helpful tool.

Stay safe, keep tuned for more tips.

If you are having challenges reach out for help. Take care

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