I get asked all of the time questions like "how can I increase my milk supply"?, "how can I make my milk fattier"?, "how can I avoid issues like mastitis"? The answer... HAND COMPRESSIONS aka breast massage! Hands down one of the best exercises you can do to sustain and protect your breastfeeding journey.
I'm not going to lie, when I first learned about hand compressions, I wasn't entirely sure what to do or how to do it. Then, one day with my back against a wall (metaphorically) I learned. I was sitting at work and noticed my supply went down. I was pumping 5-6 oz sometimes and it went down to 2-3 oz. You can imagine my shock and devastation. I was worried my breastfeeding journey was coming to an end and I would no longer produce enough for Stella. So, naturally, I did some research and reached out to some IBCLC's that I know and trust. One suggested to do hand compressions. Sounds painful and complicated, right? Well, at least I thought so, but I was wrong. I was so excited about my new found tip that I demonstrated it on my IG sories in the highlight labeled Tips .
Here are some quick things to remember:
Form a C shape with your hand.
Cup your breast with it.
While you pump or nurse, squeeze gently as the pump or baby pulls. You want to be in sync. I tend to move my hand around my breast to get all of the milk ducts empty. That's my personal preference so that I mitigate any chance of mastitis or clogged ducts by getting out all of the milk.
I don't usually do these when I'm nursing Stella because she pushes my hand away and sometimes she will push on my breast herself. But if you do decide to hand compress while nursing, make sure you don't change the shape of your nipple. Do it high enough back so you don't interfere with your baby's suckle.
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