Here’s a sad truth: most women know nothing about their breasts. Complete transparency, I was one of those women.
Prior to pregnancy and breastfeeding, my breasts were just there. I tried to make sure they were comfortable with the right bra, and looked nice in whatever shirt I was wearing. But beyond that, I didn’t have the faintest clue of how to care for them.
To most, the first step the in understanding the how something, is understanding the why. For breasts, the why is what makes up the breast. So let’s get into the anatomy of breast to better understand the benefits of breast massage.
Deep to the breast tissue, there are the pectoralis muscles: pectoralis major and pectoralis minor. I remember the first time I had someone massage my pectoralis, and boy did it hurt. Part of the reason, women specifically rarely have contact to that muscle, but that muscle is responsible for a lot! That muscle is responsible for moving the humerus and scapula, and supporting the breast tissue.
Need a Little Bounce
Cooper’s Ligaments are within the breast to help maintain the structural integrity of the breasts. Like any ligament, movement is key to the ligaments doing their job. Our cultural has said the breasts must be contained in a bra, and that containment reduces the bounce put on the ligaments, thus can actually reduce the structural integrity of the breasts.
The external layer of adipose, or fatty tissue, makes up a good amount of the breast tissue. This breast tissue usually extends from the collarbone, down the ribcage, and across to the arm. This large amount of area is what makes caring for the breast tissue once you start doing breast cancer screening a bit more challenging, as it takes up much more area that one would believe.
Lobes, Lobules, and Milk Ducts
Deeper in the breast are the lobes and lobules that produce the milk. The milk ducts then bring that milk to the nipple. In a normal breast, there are plenty of milk ducts to carry that milk. The multiple ducts resemble a piece of broccoli held upside and each different duct ends in the same end location of the nipple. These main ducts enable for more milk to be delivered to the nipple, even if one duct is clogged.
The lymphatic system carries the waste from the blood vessels back to the heart to be recirculated in the blood. When the lymphatic system is restricted for any reason, edema or swelling can occur. This swelling can lead to breast engorgement, painful latch, clogged ducts, and numerous other
Well Hydrated Breasts
Not only are breastfeeding folks encouraged to drink more water because so much fluid is leaving their body, lymphatic fluid is a pretty sticky fluid. The stickiness is related to the water level, so as someone becomes more hydrated, the lymphatic fluid is less sticky, and therefore less likely to be blocked and cause edema.
Important of Breast Massage
Breast massage can also help move the lymphatic fluid through the best, reduce the amount of clogged ducts, provide movement to the Cooper’s ligaments, relieve sore pectoralis muscles, and provider general breast wellness!