Breastfeeding moms are often on the hunt for things that will help them make more milk, which is why you’ll often see the internet buzzing about how a specific coffee drink or ice cream flavor helps increase supply. But there are simple techniques that can really help without having to run out to the nearest Starbucks. You know that you can push out more milk if you gently squeeze your breasts, but can breast compressions increase your milk supply?
Romper spoke with Jennifer Jordan, Director of Mom and Baby at Aeroflow, who says that anything that encourages the release of more breast milk will help build supply because when your breasts are empty, your body gets the message to make more milk. “Breast compression is just another tool to help improve milk flow,” says Jordan, “and it helps increase the amount of milk that you are able to pump or give directly to your baby.” Jordan adds that this type of hands-on pumping helps drain the breast, which in turn sends signals to your body to start making more milk.
Breast compression should be done while you are nursing or pumping, explained Breastfeeding Support, so that your milk flow is increased and you can stimulate a let-down. The website noted that if you are breastfeeding, your baby will get more milk with each compression and may feed actively for longer periods at the breast, which will empty your breast faster and increase your supply.
So what’s the right way to do breast compressions? If you are nursing, while holding your baby in one arm, Breastfeeding Inc. suggested cupping your free hand under your breast, and squeezing gently with your thumb on the outer side of your breast and your fingers near the chest wall. The website recommended gently squeezing and holding the breast when your baby seems to be done with the active drinking and begins to sort of just nibble, but not really drink. The compression should get your baby to start drinking again, and you should continue until the baby goes back to nibbling, even with the compression.
If you are pumping, BreastFeeding USA recommended massaging your breasts, then double pumping while you gently compress your breasts. The website further suggested waiting until your milk flow slows down to a trickle, and then massage your breasts again, especially in the areas that feel fuller. You can finish by hand expressing or single pumping while you thoroughly compress each breast until your breasts are as empty as possible.
So whether you are pumping or nursing, breast compressions can really help up your milk supply game, which will give you the chance to sit back, relax, and enjoy any coffee drink you like. (Without worrying about how it can increase your supply.)