Why do it? 🤔
Breast massage is a great way to help initiate a letdown and increase what you express.
When expressing we need to prepare our body and our mind, to release oxytocin and trigger a letdown.
Without a letdown, you may only collect a few drops of milk. 🤱
1. It is important to use a light and gentle touch when massaging. If we massage too firmly or deeply this will not achieve the desired let down and may cause discomfort.
2. Avoid breast massage if you are experiencing any mastitis symptoms, as this can increase inflammation.
3. Warm your hands prior to massage, as cold hands may feel uncomfortable and inhibit the oxytocin release.
4. Gently knead around the breast with one or both hands. Combine this with light strokes towards the nipple, stimulating your nipple with your fingers can also help.
5. Try gently tapping your fingertips around your breast.
It is very individual to you, do whatever feels good. Try experimenting to see what works best for you. Massage for a few minutes before expressing.
If you are engorged, it can help to use a technique called Lymphatic Drainage before expressing. This helps encourage the movement of lymph fluid and reduce edema.
Remember, using a very gentle touch is important.
How to perform lymphatic drainage, start with:
- Ten small circles above the clavicle
- Ten small circles in the armpit
- Then gentle strokes from the nipple towards the armpit and clavicle.
Expressing Breastmilk 😁
Massaging your breasts while expressing can help increase what you express, a lot of mums use a technique called Hands On pumping.
A study showed that parents who used their hands while pumping expressed on average 48% more milk.
For this, it can help to be hands-free while expressing. Buy a special bra, or just make your own with an old sports bra by cutting holes in each cup, then feed the breast shell through.
Start by massaging both breasts with your hands prior to expressing. While expressing compress your breasts, then alternate between compression and massage.
After expressing, massage your breasts again and finish by hand expressing into the breast shell.
Optiflow Massage Insert 😍
This is a soft massage insert made from silicone, it gently massages the areola while expressing. A lot of mums find this more comfortable and may express more using the Optiflow.
You can also massage other areas of the breast at the same time as it actively massages the breast tissue during pumping.
The Optiflow is 26mm and fits inside the 31mm breast shell.
All this and more on our video – Learn all about breast massage with IBCLC, Ilayda!