Breast massages help breastfeeding mothers in many ways. It helps warm up the breast and clears up the milk ducts to allow the milk to flow better, thereby preventing breast engorgement.
Why breast massage?
Fatigue and worry can cause stiffness in the muscle tissues around the breast area. This interferes with the flow of milk and leads to clogged ducts. Also, milk buildup in the ducts can lead to swelling in the breast tissues, which can cause pain. Breast massages help to relax the muscles so that milk can easily move through the ducts, providing an ideal condition for milk production and enhances the effectiveness of milk ejection by the breast muscles.
3 Types of breast massage you can do yourself
Here are 3 popular massage routines you can perform on yourself to help create more milk flow:
Warm-up massage: This type of massage warms up your breast and facilitates better milk flow. To perform this massage, use your knuckle or the palm of your hand to massage, in a circular motion, around your breast. And then switch sides. Repeat the process until your breasts feel softer. This massage usually takes around 2-3 minutes.
Nipple & areola massage: The areola and the nipples need to be supple so that milk can flow better. Place 2 or 3 fingers under your nipple and press from the top with your thumb. And then, make the same circular motion as a warm-up massage. Massage until your nipple becomes soft; then, start the same process on the areola until it feels softer too.
Lactation massage: Create a C shape with your hand, with your thumb over the nipple and the index finger below. Lift the breast with the 3 other fingers. Press your areola with your index finger and thumb, and stretch your fingers apart to make the nipple project out. Repeat this motion around the whole areola. This will clear up the milk ducts. You can also place a warm compress on your breasts and massage in circular motions to encourage milk flow.
These massages are designed to help your body relax and get your breasts ready to feed your little one. However, if you still need further assistance on pain-relieving techniques, feel free to consult with a therapist or a lactation expert.
Although there are many claims that breast massages can increase lactation, there is no conclusive evidence that shows that any particular type of breast massage can increase breast milk production.
Dr. Wanwadee Sapmee Panyakat (OB-GYN) (10 November 2021)