Healthy Breastfeeding: Massage Therapy
If you are a new mother, a seasoned veteran to breastfeeding or even a mother adopting a baby, you are going to want to read this post. This can make things a little easier for you and your baby on your breastfeeding journey.
Breastfeeding has many benefits and is a beautiful thing for you and your baby, but there are also a lot of challenges for mothers during breastfeeding. With massage therapy you can increase your milk production, prevent and help clogged ducts, relax your body, and increase circulation.
Breastfeeding massage Therapy
There have also been studies shown that breast massage therapy releases prolactin levels (a lactation hormone). This is also beneficial in helping adoptive mother produce breast milk. Lactation massage therapy is a self-breast massage that you can do at home to help with all kinds of things as I have mentioned above. In this post I will explain all of this, so let’s get started!
How can expectant mothers benefit from breast massage therapy
During pregnancy a mother’s body goes through a lot of changes, and most think they should focus on the legs, back, feet and belly. I want you to keep an open mind and try not to forget the breast. There are so many changes during like, hormone changes, that will send you on an emotional roller coaster.
You will notice swelling in your breast, that cause your breast to be sore, uncomfortable, very sensitive and even painful to the touch. If you do massage that focuses on your breast you can reduce these awful symptoms, which make you more comfortable and your pregnancy more enjoyable.
How to do self-breast massage therapy
Massage therapy is very simple and easy to do. Start at the top of the breast and work down toward the nipple area, if you reach a sore area you can stay in that spot massaging. Make sure you do not increase the pressure.
This will help your breast not be sore in your expecting, but also will help you relax and let down milk if you are breastfeeding. One of my favorite products to use that makes breastfeeding message even more enjoyable is Best Nest Mama Belly Butter.
Best Nest Mama Belly Butter
This belly butter is smooth, all natural, and organic. It is safe for sensitive skin, plus is it safe for your baby. This product can be used for everything; it even helps with reducing stretch marks. I love it for breast massage because it also will helps relieve pain for sore crack nipples. Its vegetarian friendly, no GMO, and made in the USA.
I mean it ladies; you will want to put this stuff on your whole body, it’s that good! Another added benefit of this stuff is you can totally put it on your baby too. This would be a great product for your baby bonding time, when you do massage on your baby.
Why nursing mothers should do Lactation Massage
As stated before breast massage is great for pregnancy, but it is crucial for breastfeeding mothers. Women will experience a lot of discomfort in the beginning stages of breastfeeding. She will experience, swelling, tenderness, engorgement, throbbing, and will even feel hard lumps throughout her breast.
In extreme cases even under the armpits can be effected. New mothers experience these symptoms because her body it starting to increase milk production. Breast Massage will help you get past this horrible stage! With a gentle touch you can rub and squeeze your breast, to get better circulation and relaxation going.
This will enable you to express milk, and help your body “let down” so your baby can feed easily. This is also where the Best Nest Mama Belly Butter comes in and works amazing!
Engorgement of the breast while breastfeeding
I know that any mother that has breastfed before knows what it’s like to feel engorged. It is awful and all you can think about is getting your baby on to make it go away. Then you realize your breast are too full and it is difficult and painful for your baby to latch on properly.
A great solution to your problem is lactation massage therapy. I like to use breastfeeding storage bags, so I do not waste the milk that is about to be expressed during my massage session. I love that they are easy to hold, plus the fit to your breast.
While this may be embarrassing I will tape the other baggy to my other breast I am not massaging. I know, but I cannot waste all the milk (white gold) that other breast will start losing once I start the massage.
My favorite storage bags to use are Bonafide Baby Breastmilk Storage bags, they are non-toxic and you get a lot of them. I also want to add that if you would like to use both hands for the massage without holding the bag, well you can tape that baggy too. FYI…use medical tape ha-ha! I just do not want to see mothers using duct tape or something!
Breast massage to help with clogged milk ducts
Clogged milk are very painful and can interfere with your breastfeeding experience. Breast massage is a great way to help with unclogging your milk ducts. One of the most common reason mothers get clogged milk ducts are because your breast does not get completely emptied.
You may find it painful to nurse your baby or even massage your breast when you have a clogged duct, but these steps are critical. Clogged ducts could lead to mastitis, so do not ignore the symptoms. Experts recommend you massage the clogged area multiple times a day and firmly, you can also use a warm wash cloth before nursing to help. Furthermore, start massaging again from the outside moving towards the nipple.
How to express all your breastmilk
Using breastfeeding massage therapy is also a very helpful tool to express all of your breastmilk, either while breastfeeding or pumping. You can do what is called the compression technique before, during, and after you have breastfeed or pump.
What this does is make sure your breast are both completely empty, allowing for more milk production. This is basically a signal to your breast that you need to produce more milk. Studies have shown that massage before feeding or pumping had 40 to 50 percent more milk removed than without.
Increasing your milk supply with breast massage
Mothers may need or want to increase their milk supply, there are many ways you can do this, but let’s stay in track and talk about how breast massage can produce all the milk you want. Massage is an easy gentle way to help your body naturally increase milk production.
After your baby is done nursing take a few minutes to gently massage your breast, making sure all the milk has been expressed (a warm wash cloth often helps). Start at the top massaging down to make sure that all the milk in the higher ducts are also getting expressed. Once your ducts are completely empty and can flow more freely, your breast will be triggered to produce more milk.
Why is relaxation important while breastfeeding
Breastfeeding massage allows the mother to relax. Relaxations is important because it helps the “let down reflex” and helps your body let your milk flow more freely to feed your baby. Relaxation of the chest opens your shoulders and improves milk production. New mothers can also relax knowing that massage helps your baby suckle. This is the best time to think milk flow and relax after a nice massage, all while you are nourishing your new baby.
How can dads help
Well if this isn’t obvious…Ha-ha! On a more serious note, dad’s often feel like they are not a part of the breastfeeding process. While you might not want to tell him this massage is for increased milk flow, I am positive he can be of assistance in this process.
After you have fed your baby, and made sure your breasts are completely expressed, ask him to give your breast a nice massage. Often times fathers view your breasts as no longer his, they have been taken over and are well, no longer there for his enjoyment.
That couldn’t be further from the truth. Your breasts can still be what I call multi-purpose. By asking him for a massage he will realize that. Plus, you get a great massage and all the wonderful benefits, just by letting him do what he wants to do anyway.
Inducing milk for adoptive mothers
There are many benefits to breast massage while you are breastfeeding and during pregnancy. What I have not discussed yet is how breast massage can help all the wonderful mothers out there that adopt a baby. Don’t think you cannot breast feed, because you can!
Breast massage can induce breastmilk production even if you have never had kids before! Earlier I mentioned that breast massage produces prolactin. Prolactin is a lactation hormone that helps your body lactate.
Some adoptive mother wants nothing more than to be a mom, they also have a desire to get that bond with their new baby. Breastfeeding can be the way to do that. Some want the best for their baby and strongly believe that breastfeeding will do that.
Whatever your reason there is still hope. If you are in the process of adopting, are waiting for that call, or have just adopted a new baby this could work for you. Start massaging your breast many times a day, you can also buy a pump to use with the breast massage. The one and only trusted hospital-grade breast pump that I will ever recommend is the Spectra Baby S2. If you already have a baby, let him/her latch onto your breast as you massage. This could very well be the answer you have been looking for.
What are some other benefits to breastfeeding massage therapy?
This type of massage can benefit all women, even if you already had your kids, or have never wanted kids. I wanted to make sure, that every women knows that breast massage can help her too!
With daily breast massage you can increase circulation, decrease menstrual cramps, reduce pregnancy symptoms, improve your completion and skin tone, increase milk production, relieve engorgement, unblock clogged ducts, increase relaxation, help express milk during breastfeeding, and even increase your breast size.
I have also seen research that states breast massage can help relieve pain after surgery, tones the muscles in your breast (prevent saggy boobs), increases the firmness, and can decrease scars and stretch marks. Another wonderful benefit is cancer prevention.
When you massage your lymphatic system in your breast, you release toxins, which reduces your risk of cancer. What an amazing thing!
Wrap it up
As you can see breast massage therapy can be wonderful for everyone, not just breastfeeding mothers. There are so many benefits that women are not aware of, because we are all taught that breast stimulation is not ok. We are honestly just not comfortable with our breast.
An added bonus to daily breast massage and stimulation is that all women would know their breast, and we could catch breast cancer in its early stages. The little 30 second breast exams we get at the doctors are not sufficient.
We need to know our breast and with massage we will. I honestly can’t believe this natural form of breast care is not out more, and that we have not known about all of the wonderful things it can do for us.
All of us know how amazing breastfeeding is and all of the amazing benefits mothers and babies get, but have we ever looked at all the wonderful things it can do well after we are done breastfeeding? I mean who knew something so simple could benefit us during pregnancy, while breastfeeding, not to mention adoptive mothers, and even awareness of breast cancer.
I would love to hear from mothers of not, if you have ever used this technique, how it worked for you, and if you would recommend it? Also don’t forget to the belly butter!