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How Can I Get My Baby to Stay Awake and Eat?

Updated: Jan 22

Breast Massage, Compressions, and Hand Expression While Breastfeeding

Breast tissue should always be treated gently, especially when there is swelling, trauma, or inflammation/infection. Overenthusiastic massage, compression, or hand expression can cause trauma to the delicate breast tissue and result in swelling, which can make problems worse. The videos below show the basics:

Breast compressions can help with:

  • Babies that sleep at the breast instead of eating

  • Long feedings

  • Fussiness between feedings

  • Low milk production

  • Increasing fat content of milk

  • Discomfort from full breasts

Watch for the chin dropping and pausing, indicating a big mouthful of milk being taken in and swallowed:

Even though this appears on the surface to be a shallow latch that could be painful, I wouldn't go so far as to assume it's a “bad latch,” given that this mother does not seem to be bothered by it, and the baby is clearly drinking.  We also cannot see the length and position of the mother's nipple just from the outside. 

Unless there is a problem (like maternal pain/nipple damage or poor infant weight gain), the latch does not have to look textbook-perfect to be comfortable and effective.

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