We are so excited to offer a new service to our clients: therapeutic breast massage for lactation support is now available! Our massage therapist, Emily, has recently attended a continuing education class with Breastfeeding Medicine of Northeast Ohio based in Cleveland as well as a local breast massage class to help bring this great service to all of our clients!
I know, your first thought is…breast massage…uh, I am not sure about that. And that is a completely common response! Breast health and breast massage are topics that are very under discussed. When not breastfeeding, breasts are contained and not talked about.
While breastfeeding, there is much more discussion about breast being a functional body part to allow your newborn to survive. But neither of those two times is it discussed that a licensed massage therapist to massage your breast.
So I understand, it is weird, it is different. But if you are having swelling, engorgement, clogged ducts, mastitis, or other common breastfeeding discomforts, breast massage will be so beneficial. And it is important to note, breast massage is also encouraged during non-breastfeeding times, but at this time, our breast massage scope is only during breastfeeding times. For non-breastfeeding folks, we recommend Linda at Metaphoric Massage for Women who has received advanced instruction for breast massage in times of non-lactation.
What is Breast Massage?
Breast massage is a great tool to use for general health and well-being, and also as a way to support those who are breastfeeding. Very light strokes are done to decrease swelling, inflammation and edema int the breast tissue, working with the lymphatic system to increase circulation and decrease engorgement, correct clogged ducts, and even help with mastitis. There are many wonderful benefits of breast massage, some of our favorites are:
We know the power of oxytocin during birth, but it also has powerful benefits while breastfeeding! Touch, especially gentle touch, is a great way to stimulate the release of oxytocin while also not causing pain that may block the production of oxytocin. Oxytocin relaxes the muscles in the milk ducts to allow the better release milk while also increasing the release of prolactin, the hormone that tells the body to increase milk production.
Increases Lymphatic Drainage
The lymphatic system helps absorb excess fluid in the cells. This fluid is than transported back to the heart to get recirculated in the body. The circulation of lymph is from movement in the muscles, and the breast has very little movement from muscles, thus the breast is a common area for fluid to accumulate. This fluid can lead to swelling, edema, and engorgement
Decreases Breast Engorgement
The swelling that can occur early in the breastfeeding relationship can be greatly decreased with breast massage. The best treatment for engorgement is attempt to empty the breast, and this is best done by encourage the baby to nurse more. Breast massage can aid in the emptying process softening the breast tissue to make nursing easier and more effective.
Helps with Clogged Ducts and Mastitis
Clogged ducts are a painful, and pretty common, occurrence during breastfeeding. The best course of action is nursing and more nursing, while also using breast massage and hand expression to help unclog that duct.
Makes For An Easier Latch
By softening the breast tissue, whether that swelling is from engorgement, a clogged duct, or mastitis, the nipple will be more accessible for baby to get a proper latch. Each breast massage session, we will do reverse pressure softening to help allow the nipple to be available to the baby.