• colleen5854

Should I massage my breasts?

Should I massage my breasts? ⁠

No, probably not! There is increasing opinion amongst breastfeeding experts that massage of the breast might actually increase problems such as blocked ducts, inflammation and mastitis. The lactating breast is complex in it’s anatomy and has multiple tiny delicate structures including ducts, blood vessels, lymphatic vessels and nerves which can get damaged when they are vigorously massaged or handled. We know that this can lead to swelling, pressure on ducts, collapse of ducts and injury to the tissue. ⁠

Mums are often advised to massage out their blocked ducts but this needs to be done with a lot of care and only very lightly!⁠

It is important that we identify the underlying cause of blocked ducts or other lumps or swellings and treat those rather than vigorously massaging the breast and potentially cause more swelling and damage to the tissues. ⁠

Treating symptoms early with heat/ice/analgesia can be very helpful and will often mean that massaging can be avoided.⁠

Effective drainage of the breast during feeding or expressing is the mainstay of managing these problems most of the time and can be helped by ensuring optimal positioning of our babies to the breast and a well fitting pump if used. Managing any oversupply is also important. Always ensure there is no external pressure on the breast from tight clothing etc. ⁠

Gentle hand expression can be used when the breasts are very full or engorged and very delicate lymphatic drainage of the breast might be helpful. This can be done with very gentle pressure – often described as that used to pet a cat, to help move lymphatic fluid. ⁠

So be gentle to your breasts. If you’ve tried gentle massage for a blocked duct and it’s not working, don’t keep massaging the area. Apply some heat/ice, use some analgesia and ensure the breast is being well drained by a properly positioned baby. Get some help from an experienced provider if needed!⁠





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