Breastfeeding Help- Reverse Pressure Softening

Engorgement of the breasts can make latch on very difficult or impossible for your baby.  Jean Cotterman RNC, IBCLC, designed a simple method of softening up the areola (the pigmented area around the nipple) in order to facilitate latch on.  All you need are your own five fingers.  Make sure your nails are short and smooth.  Using one hand, place your fingertips around the base of your nipple and press directly inwards.  Hold the position for 1 to 3 minutes.  It is best to actually time yourself.

Once a minute or so has passed, let go and rotate the position of your hand.  Press into the breast again with all five fingertips at the base of your nipple.  Hold for one to three minutes.  You are pushing the extra fluid in your breasts back and away from your nipple and areola, making your areola softer and more graspable. If your nails are long or sharp, you can use the same method with the pads of your fingers.

Place a finger on either side of your nipple, directly at the base, and press in for a minute to three.  Rotate your hand and do it again. You may find that your milk begins to flow while you are using this technique.  That is an added benefit as engorgement often impedes milk flow.  Once you pressed inwards for a few minutes on all sides of your nipple you should be able to latch your baby on.  If you feel that he didn't get on well, take him off and try again.  Often the second latch is better since the areola will be even softer.  This method is helpful for women whose bodies are swollen after receiving IV fluids during labor and birth, which is especially common following an epidural.