What is hands-on pumping?
Breast compression, or hands-on pumping, means squeezing the breast by hand to help the milk move toward the nipple. It is used to help empty the breast and maintain or increase the milk supply. Breast compression is done by grasping the breast close to the ribs, pushing the fingers forward for a few seconds, releasing, and repeating. It can be done while expressing or by alternating between compression and expression. It can also be combined with “power expressing,” expressing repeatedly over a short period. Some mothers compress while breastfeeding, but we have found limited use for this. If mothers wish to do this, they need to make sure it doesn’t affect the baby’s ability to breastfeed and the baby takes in enough milk. It may help hospitalized premature babies who do not feed effectively.