Breast Compressions


Breast compressions are a simple strategy to increase the flow of milk while baby is feeding at the breast, which can be helpful in the early days of breastfeeding.



  • To encourage a baby who is sucking without drinking to transfer milk from the breast
  • To assist a premature baby, sleepy baby, or baby with slow weight gain to feed more actively at the breast
  • To assist an older nursling if they are distracted while feeding
  • To make feedings more efficient and effective, which can helpful if nipples are sore
  • To help manage plugged ducts
  • To maximize milk production when pumping



  • Apply firm, yet gentle pressure to the breast with either the whole hand or fingertips; similar to the pressure when applying moisturizer to the skin
  • Gently compress the breast tissue with your hand or fingertips, release and compress. Repeat.
  • Compress the breast when baby is sucking, but not drinking (listen for swallows and observe for a longer dip in the chin)
  • Once swallows are noted, hold the compression until swallows slow, then release and observe baby’s activity
  • Compress the breast when baby has an extended pause during a feeding


For more information, we also recommend this excellent video that demonstrates breast compressions.

If you need further breastfeeding support, call the Breastfeeding Center of Pittsburgh at 412-246-4726.