What Is a Lactation Massager?


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Whereas looking for breastfeeding gear, you might have seen lactation massagers along with breast pumps, nipple cream, and nursing pillows. What are they? And do you want one?

A lactation massager is a handheld machine that’s meant to assist ladies overcome sure breastfeeding challenges, like engorged breasts or clogged milk ducts.

Must you get one to assist induce lactation? That’s as much as you. Breastfeeding specialists say that the machine doesn’t do something that you would be able to’t already do by your self.

“I don’t suggest lactation massagers as important breastfeeding gear,” says Pierrette Mimi Poinsett, MD, a pediatrician in Sonoma County, CA, and medical guide to the parenting weblog Mother Loves Greatest. “No medical research present that they’re simpler than therapeutic breast therapeutic massage by hand.”

How Lactation Massagers Work

Lactation massagers are made of soppy silicone and match within the palm of the hand. They’ve two rounded ends — one large, one slim — plus settings to make them vibrate or present heat.

Some ladies who’ve clogged milk ducts press the slim finish of a lactation massager in opposition to the sore space of the breast, transferring it towards the nipple to attempt to unclog it. Others therapeutic massage the breast from chest towards nipple with the broader finish of the massager to assist relieve engorged breasts.

However placing an excessive amount of strain on the breasts with this machine could also be dangerous. “There isn’t any proof that these units have medical profit to breastfeeding moms, and actually, massagers could cause trauma to the breasts” if not used gently, says Karen Federici, MD, a household doctor and licensed lactation guide in Sycamore, IL, who makes a speciality of breastfeeding medication.

Look after Clogged Ducts

Light strain from a lactation massager could assist relieve a clogged milk duct, however breastfeeding mothers have been unclogging milk ducts with out these units for hundreds of years.

“There are positively different methods to free clogged milk ducts,” says Leigh Anne O’Connor, a New York Metropolis-based licensed lactation guide. “Typically it’s merely nursing the newborn extra. Generally it’s about [aiming] the newborn’s chin towards the clog. Alternating heat and chilly compresses can work the clogs out. Pumping can launch the clogs, too.”

Vibrations could assist, however you don’t must run out to purchase a lactation massager when you don’t have one.

“We used to suggest a vibrating toothbrush or an precise vibrator for hard-to-release plugged ducts,” O’Connor says. “I nonetheless suggest these, as many individuals have already got considered one of these and when you should launch plugged ducts, it’s an pressing state of affairs that requires quick consideration. Ready to purchase or have one thing delivered might be problematic.”

You could not like the texture of vibrations in opposition to your breast.

“Vibration, even when mild, may very well improve discomfort within the space,” Federici says. “Think about when you had a bruise or a gentle sprain. Making use of vibration would neither really feel good nor lower irritation. Ice could be useful, as would ibuprofen. The identical is true for breast tissue.”

Reduction for Engorged Breasts

New mothers could have engorgement, or swelling, within the breasts. This may occasionally make their breasts ache and really feel arduous to the contact, making it trickier for his or her infants to latch on to breastfeed.

When the breast tissue is swollen, ice packs could relieve engorgement, or heat could also be soothing. A lactation massager’s heat setting could assist, however heat compresses must also work.

“Low warmth might be utilized for consolation,” Federici says. “For reduction of engorgement, ice packs are really helpful, as a lot of the enlargement is definitely because of swelling of the encompassing tissue, quite than copious quantities of milk.”

Advantages of Lactation Therapeutic massage

Some makers of lactation massagers declare that they may also help with the milk let-down reflex. However nursing your child ought to work higher.

“Milk provide is established through frequent breastfeeding,” Poinsett says. “Hand therapeutic massage throughout feeding may also help with let-down and milk stream.”

Breast therapeutic massage can also assist relieve clogged ducts or engorgement. Your arms work higher than a lactation massager.

Right here’s the right way to do breast therapeutic massage to induce lactation.

“Efficient breast therapeutic massage strategies embrace round movement on the breast with mild strain, beginning on the base of the breast out to the nipple,” Poinsett says. “Additionally therapeutic massage the breast in a linear trend, from the chest to the tip of the nipple. Lastly, compressing the breast by holding the breast within the ‘C’ place — little finger touching the chest, thumb and index finger holding the breast — may also help enhance breast milk removing.”

Your breasts could also be engorged as a result of they include an excessive amount of lymphatic fluid, which causes irritation. Lymphatic therapeutic massage could take away the fluid to assist your milk stream extra freely.

“This can be a very gentle-touch therapeutic massage utilized on the chest above the breast, transferring up in the direction of the collarbone and likewise utilized close to the underarm, up and away from the breast, utilizing solely a light-weight strain, such as you would use to softly rub your child’s again,” Federici says. “I suppose the massager could possibly be used for gentle lymphatic therapeutic massage up and away from the painful space, though arms are simpler.”



Pierrette Mimi Poinsett, MD, board-certified pediatrician; medical guide to Mother Loves Greatest weblog, Sonoma County, CA.

Karen Federici, MD, IBCLC, FABM, board-certified household doctor specializing in breastfeeding medication; fellow, Academy of Breastfeeding Medication; licensed lactation guide, Sycamore, IL.

Leigh Anne O’Connor, IBCLC, licensed lactation guide, New York Metropolis.

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