The technique may be useful for:
- Poor weight gain in the baby
- Colic in the breastfed baby
- Frequent feedings and/or long feedings
- Sore nipples in the mother
- Recurrent blocked ducts and/or mastitis
- Encouraging the baby who falls asleep quickly to continue drinking
Breast compression is not necessary if everything is going well. When all is going well, the mother should allow the baby to "finish" feeding on the first side and, if the baby wants more, should offer the other side. How do you know the baby is finished? When he no longer drinks at the breast (open mouth widethen pausethen close mouth type of suck).
Breast compression works particularly well in the first few days, to help the baby get more colostrum. Babies do not need much colostrum, but they need some. A good latch and compression help them get it.
It may be useful to know that:
- A baby who is well latched on gets milk more easily than one who is not. A baby who is poorly latched on can get milk only when the flow of milk is rapid. Thus, many mothers and babies do well with breastfeeding in spite of a poor latch, because most mothers produce an abundance of milk
- In the first 3-6 weeks of life, babies tend to fall asleep at the breast when the flow of milk is slow, not necessarily when they have had enough to eat. After this age, they may start to pull away at the breast when the flow of milk slows down. However, some pull at the breast even when they are much younger, sometimes even in the first days.
- Unfortunately many babies are latching on poorly. If the mother's supply is abundant the baby often does well as far as weight gain is concerned, but the mother may pay a pricesore nipples, a "colicky" baby, a baby who is constantly on the breast (but feeding only a small part of the time).
Breast compression continues the flow of milk once the baby starts falling asleep at the breast and results in the baby:
- Getting more milk.
- Getting more milk that is high in fat.