As you may already know, breastfeeding can be one of the most beautiful aspects of the early months with a new baby. It offers precious moments to connect with your little one after pregnancy while also providing essential nutrition for their growth and development. Regrettably, breastfeeding doesn’t always come easy. It’s completely normal to encounter challenges, so if you’re struggling, you’re not alone.
For many new moms, breastfeeding can be time-consuming and occasionally frustrating, especially if your milk supply isn’t keeping pace with your baby’s increasing appetite or if you’re dealing with the discomfort of mastitis.
In fact, a study conducted in the United States found that 12 percent of moms in the early postpartum period experienced disruptions in lactation, leading to early weaning. Fortunately, most moms can produce an adequate milk supply with the right support. And here’s where breast massage can make a significant difference in improving milk production.
So, If you’re interested in incorporating breast massage into your breastfeeding routine, we have all the information you need to become proficient in using lactation massage. Keep reading to learn how to master lactation massage like a pro in no time.
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What Exactly is a Breast Massage?
A breast massage involves the gentle manipulation and kneading of breast tissue to promote breast health and relaxation. It’s performed using hands and fingers and can serve various purposes.
For some, it’s a part of breast self-examination to check for lumps or abnormalities. Nursing moms may use breast massage to stimulate milk production and alleviate issues like mastitis or blocked milk ducts.
Additionally, breast massage can help reduce breast pain or discomfort and promote relaxation. However, it should be done with care and, if used for therapeutic purposes, by trained professionals to ensure safety and effectiveness.
Read also: Can You Use Massage Gun While Pregnant?
Massage for New Mothers (Postpartum Massage)
Postpartum massage holds just as much significance and advantage as massage during pregnancy. It offers a holistic and effective approach to address the manifold adjustments that come with motherhood. You might be pleasantly surprised to discover that it provides far more than a mere spa experience.
Massage is renowned for its ability to induce relaxation, reduce stress, alleviate pain, and offer various other health benefits. However, postpartum massage brings additional unique advantages, including hormone regulation, reduced swelling, enhanced sleep quality, and improved breastfeeding experiences.
Advanced therapeutic techniques can aid in restoring your body to its pre-pregnancy state, accelerating the healing process, and assisting in C-section recovery. To make the most of postpartum massage, it’s advisable to seek out a certified massage therapist with expertise in prenatal and perinatal massage therapy.
The Advantages of Postpartum Massage
Postpartum massage has demonstrated effectiveness in promoting a faster recovery and improved well-being. Incorporating maternal bodywork can be a valuable addition to your healing process and the transition into motherhood.
Take a moment to explore the numerous benefits:
It’s common to experience lingering body aches after pregnancy. When you add the demands of breastfeeding and childcare, it can exacerbate discomfort in your arms, shoulders, and back. Massage offers a holistic and drug-free solution to relax muscles and alleviate pain.
A proficient therapist may even address associated numbness and tingling. For chronic or severe pain, multiple sessions may be necessary for complete relief.
Stress Reduction and Relaxation
Massage is a powerful means to unwind muscles, boost circulation, and reduce stress hormones, offering a sense of relaxation and relief from stress. After nine months of profound bodily changes, culminating in the birth of a precious new life, all your body systems deserve some care.
Every woman has her own preferences when it comes to massage—some may opt for a gentler, pampering touch, while others find deeper techniques effective in working out muscle knots. Incorporating myofascial release and craniosacral therapy delves deeper into the body, facilitating comprehensive healing. Regardless of your chosen style, any of these massage approaches can bring about relaxation and stress reduction.
Anxiety and depression are conditions that can be effectively addressed with skillful therapy. Approximately two-thirds of new moms experience temporary postpartum blues due to hormone fluctuations, new responsibilities, and the challenges of adjustment. Emotional support and the therapeutic benefits of massage can be instrumental during this transitional period.
Postpartum depression, affecting 10-15% of moms, is more persistent and severe. Research indicates that massage can be a valuable tool in treating postpartum depression. If you or someone you know is grappling with postpartum depression , it’s crucial to contact healthcare professionals, including a postpartum bodyworker, for assistance and support.
Maintaining fluid balance in the body becomes essential after pregnancy, during which fluid volume increases by approximately 50%. Massage plays a vital role in enhancing circulation and lymphatic drainage, aiding in the removal of excess fluids and waste products. This tissue stimulation supports your body in redistributing fluids effectively.
Hormone fluctuations, which undergo significant changes post-delivery, can also contribute to swelling. Massage contributes to hormone regulation, further reducing swelling (refer to Hormone Regulation). It’s important to continue hydrating adequately for the healing process and lactation, even if you still experience some swelling.
Enhanced Sleep Quality
The period following labor and delivery can leave most new mothers feeling utterly drained, especially with the constant demands of caring for a newborn. Massage is a valuable tool in alleviating fatigue, promoting relaxation, and achieving better sleep. Research has demonstrated that massage therapy can increase delta brain waves, which are associated with deep, restorative sleep.
It’s no wonder many individuals are drifting into slumber during a massage session. Adequate sleep is pivotal for postpartum recovery and can significantly improve overall well-being. Consider seeking assistance and incorporating regular massages into your routine to ensure you’re well-rested. In fact, one study even linked improved sleep to a reduction in postpartum belly fat!
Massage plays a pivotal role in restoring hormonal equilibrium during the postpartum period. After childbirth, estrogen and progesterone levels, which were elevated during pregnancy, tend to decrease.
Meanwhile, prolactin and oxytocin hormone levels rise to facilitate breastfeeding. Research suggests that massage has the capacity to reduce cortisol, a stress hormone. In addition, certain essential oils have been found to promote hormone balance and mood stability.
Furthermore, massage has been shown to lower naturally occurring biochemicals associated with depression, such as dopamine and serotonin, and substances linked to cardiovascular issues, such as norepinephrine. These hormonal and biochemical adjustments can offer valuable support to mothers as they navigate the challenges of motherhood.
Enhanced Breastfeeding Experience
Breastfeeding is a precious gift to your newborn, though it can present challenges for some mothers. Massage therapy offers a valuable solution by relaxing the body, improving circulation, and enhancing milk production. Studies have demonstrated that massage elevates prolactin levels, a hormone crucial for lactation.
The relaxation of chest muscles through massage also has the added benefit of opening up the shoulders and facilitating improved lactation. Recent research suggests that breast massage can alleviate breast pain, reduce breast milk sodium levels, and enhance newborn suckling. It’s important to consult with your therapist regarding this service, as direct breast massage may not be permitted in certain regions due to legal restrictions.
When can a new mother begin postpartum massage?
You can start postpartum massages as soon as you feel at ease. Your therapist will ensure your comfort, especially if you have soreness in your abdomen or breasts. But, if you have any maternal complications, it’s advisable to consult with your medical provider before proceeding.
Does Massage Really Good While Breastfeeding?
Massage can be beneficial during breastfeeding for some individuals, but it’s essential to approach it with care and consideration. Here are some key points to keep in mind:
- Breast Massage
Gentle breast massage can help with milk flow and treat any breast problem. Some women find it helpful for addressing issues like blocked milk ducts or engorgement. But, it’s crucial to use a gentle touch without excessive pressure to prevent any potential problem.
- Lactation Massage
Some lactation consultants or trained massage therapists offer specific techniques known as lactation massage to resolve milk production and give comfortable breastfeeding. These techniques are usually designed to be safe and effective when directly performed by knowledgeable professionals.
- Seek Professional Guidance
If you’re considering breast or lactation massage, it’s advisable to consult with a qualified lactation consultant or a massage therapist experienced in this area. They can provide guidance on safe journal techniques and ensure you’re using the right approach for your specific needs.
- Comfort and Relaxation
Overall, massage can contribute to your comfort and relaxation during the breastfeeding journey. It can help reduce stress, promote relaxation, and ease muscle tension, which can be beneficial for both you and your baby.
- Individual Variations
It’s important to note that individual preferences and needs vary. While some women may find massage highly beneficial, others may not feel the same way. Always listen to your skin and body and communicate any issues or concerns with your healthcare provider or massage therapist.
In short, applying a massage can be a valuable tool for some individuals during breastfeeding, but it should be approached cautiously and with the guidance of qualified professionals to ensure safety and effectiveness.
Is it Okay To Have a Massage with Firm Pressure During Breastfeeding?
Mastering breastfeeding can be challenging on its own, and it becomes even more stressful when things don’t go as planned. Insufficient milk supply is a common issue, but there are steps you can take to address it.
According to the Royal Women’s Hospital Association, you can typically improve your breast milk supply by breastfeeding more frequently, maximizing skin-to-skin contact with your baby, switching breasts during feedings, ensuring proper latching, and incorporating breast massage into your routine.
But what exactly is lactation massage? The concept is straightforward and safe to try at home as long as it doesn’t result in increased breast pain. Massage offers various benefits, from facilitating the let-down reflex (the hormonal response that triggers milk flow) to providing relief from breast pain after nursing.
Discovering the right type and intensity of massage for your needs may take some time, but perseverance can significantly impact your breastfeeding journey. As always, it is recommended to reach out to your healthcare provider if you encounter any concerns during the breastfeeding or massage process. While many breastfeeding challenges can be addressed at home, seeking advice is a wise choice. After all, your breast health is important!
Can Breast Massage Boost Milk Production?
In the initial weeks of your breastfeeding journey with your baby, you’ve likely settled into a routine regarding nursing frequency and duration. Nevertheless, there may be times when it feels like you’re struggling to produce enough breast milk to satisfy your little one’s growing appetite.
(Conversely, some moms may experience an oversupply of milk, which can lead to other challenges we’ll address later.) This is where breast massage can play a valuable role. So, if you find yourself running low on milk before your baby is fully satisfied, the simplest solution may come as a surprise.
To increase milk supply, new mothers should consider breastfeeding more frequently than usual. This sends signals to your body through nerves and hormones, prompting an increase in milk production and eventually establishing a new equilibrium between supply and demand. Evidence suggests that lactation massage can alleviate uncomfortable feelings and enhance milk production during this adjustment period.
While we are accustomed to the benefits of massage for relieving typical muscle soreness after an intense workout, breast massage employs specific techniques designed to stimulate milk production and enhance comfort for you and your baby.
Breastfeeding is a significant aspect of postpartum life, and massage can offer various advantages to mothers during this crucial time. From improving milk production to alleviating uncomfortable feelings and promoting relaxation, massage can support the breastfeeding journey. However, it’s essential to approach breast and lactation massage cautiously, seeking guidance from qualified professionals to ensure safety and effectiveness.
While massage can be a helpful tool, some side of a person may vary, so listening to one’s body and communicating with healthcare providers or experienced therapists is vital to see a better result. Ultimately, massage can contribute to both moms’ and babies’ overall well-being and comfort during breastfeeding.