Let-down cues that have proven helpful
Use all of your senses to facilitate let-down. Concentrate on the sight, sound, smell and feel of your baby. Have a certain beverage that you drink (the sense of taste) at the beginning of every nursing session, have a certain song that you listen to, etc.
Directly before nursing:
* Take a warm shower or bath prior to nursing.
* If you are in any pain, consider taking some Advil or Tylenol about 30 minutes before you expect to nurse. Pain can cause stress and inhibit let-down.
* Choose a calm, less distracting setting for nursing.
* Turn on some music that you enjoy.
* Undress baby to his diaper and yourself from the waist up to increase skin-to-skin contact.
* Get something to drink, like a glass of water or a cup of tea.
* Sit in a comfortable chair with arm support and good back support or better, nurse while lying down.
* Get in a warm bath with baby and nurse there.
* Before putting baby to breast, massage your breasts and do some nipple rolls and gentle tugging. Moist heat on the breasts should be helpful, too. See "Assisting the Milk Ejection Reflex" in this information on the Marmet technique of manual expression.
* Reverse pressure softening helps let-down for some moms.
* Deep breathe or use other relaxation techniques at the beginning of a feeding, like the techniques that are taught for childbirth
* Singing or humming can also speed let-down.
* Use visualization. Take several deep breaths and close your eyes as you begin. Try to visualize and "feel" what the let-down response feels like for you (if you normally feel anything). Some women imagine their milk flowing or use images of waterfalls. Some women concentrate on looking at baby's soft little hand moving at mom's breast, with fingers curled under. Some women use visualizations such as being on the beach or any other relaxing place. Use all five senses; imagine the sights, smells such as the salt air, sensations such as the feel of the sand under you or the warmth of the sun on your skin, imagine tastes and what you might hear too. An excellent book on visualization techniques is Mind Over Labor by Carl Jones.
* The opposite can also be helpful: watch TV, talk on the phone, read a book, etc. - whatever will relax you and get your mind off it.
* Place a heating pad on your shoulders and back. Get someone else to massage your back and shoulders before and while you nurse.
* Switch nurse: move baby back and forth frequently between breasts until let-down occurs
* Continue to massage and use breast compression as you nurse.