What Is a Lactation Massager?

Buying adaptations for breastfeeding, you may have noticed lactation massages in addition to breasts, cape for nipples, and feeding pads. What are they? And do you need you? The lactation massager is a handheld device designed to help women overcome certain breastfeeding problems, such as breast swelling or blocked milk ducts. Should you get one to help induce lactation? It depends on you. Breastfeeding experts say the device doesn’t do anything you can’t do on your own.

“I don’t recommend lactation massagers as primary breastfeeding equipment,” says Pierrette Mimi Poinsette, MD, a pediatrician in Sonoma County, California, and medical advisor for parenting blog Mom Loves Best. “No clinical study has shown them to be more effective than therapeutic breast massage by hand.”

How do lactation massagers work

The lactation massagers are made of soft silicone and fit comfortably in the palm of your hand. They have two rounded ends – one wide, one narrow – plus settings that make them vibrate or provide warmth.

Some women with clogged milk ducts press the narrow end of a lactation massager against the inflamed area of ​​the breast, moving it towards the nipple to try and clear it. Others massage the breast from breast to nipple with the wider end of the massager to ease breast swelling.

But putting too much pressure on your chest with this device can be risky. “There is no evidence that these devices are of clinical benefit to breastfeeding mothers, and in fact, massagers can cause breast trauma,” if used carelessly, says Karen Federici, MD, family physician, and certified lactation consultant. In Sycamore, Illinois. Who specializes in breastfeeding.

Care for clogged ducts

Gentle pressure from a lactation massager can help ease blocked milk ducts, but breastfeeding moms have been clearing their milk ducts for centuries without these devices.

“Of course, there are other ways to clear blocked milk ducts,” says Lee Ann O’Connor, a New York-based certified lactation consultant. “Often, it’s just more breastfeeding. Sometimes it’s about [aiming] child’s chin to clog. Alternating warm and cold compresses will help clear blockages. Pumping out can also clear blockages.”

Vibrations can help, but you don’t have to run out to buy a lactation massager if you don’t have one.

“We used to recommend a vibrating toothbrush or a real vibrator for hard-to-reach clogged canals,” says O’Connor. “I still recommend them as a lot of people already have one of these, and when you need to free clogged air ducts, it’s an emergency situation that needs immediate attention. Waiting to buy or have something delivered can be problematic.”

You may not like the feeling of vibration on your chest.

“Vibration, even if it’s minor, can actually increase discomfort in this area,” says Federici. “Imagine if you had a bruise or a slight sprain. The use of vibration will not bring good health or reduce inflammation. Ice would be helpful, as would ibuprofen. The same is true for breast tissue.”

Help with swollen breasts

New mothers may have breast engorgement or swelling. This can make their breasts feel sore and hard to the touch, making it harder for their babies to breastfeed.

When the breast tissue is swollen, ice packs can reduce the engorgement, or heat can be soothing. The warm setting of a lactation massager can help, but warm compresses should also work.

“For comfort, you can use a low temperature,” says Federici. “Ice packs are recommended to help relieve engorgement, as much of the increase is actually due to swelling of the surrounding tissue, not to copious amounts of milk.”

Benefits of lactation massage

Some manufacturers of lactation massagers claim that they can help with the milk flow reflex. But child care should work better.

“Milk production is achieved through frequent breastfeeding,” says Poinsette. “Massaging the hands while nursing can help with milk flow and excretion.”

Breast massage can also help relieve blocked ducts or engorgement. Your hands work better than a lactation massager.

Here’s how to massage your breasts to induce lactation.

“Effective breast massage techniques involve circular breast movements with gentle pressure, starting at the base of the breast and ending at the nipple,” says Poinsette. “Also massage the breast in a linear fashion, from the breast to the tip of the nipple. Finally, breast compression while holding the breast in the “C” position—little finger touching the breast, thumb, and forefinger holding the breast—may help improve breast milk flow.”

Your chest can be filled with blood because it contains too much lymphatic fluid that causes inflammation. Lymphatic massage can remove fluid to facilitate milk outflow.

“This is a very gentle touch that is applied to the chest over the chest, moving up to the collarbone as well as the armpit, up and away from the chest, using only light pressure, as if you were gently rubbing the skin. the baby is back,” Federici says. “I believe a massager can be used to lightly massage lymph up and away from the painful area, although the hands are more effective.”



Pierrette Mimi Poinsette, MD, Board Certified Pediatrician; Medical Consultant for Mom Loves Best Blog, Sonoma County, California.

Karen Federici, MD, IBCLC, FABM, a board-certified family physician specializing in breastfeeding; Research Fellow, Academy of Breastfeeding; Certified Lactation Consultant, Sycamore, Illinois.

Lee Ann O’Connor, IBCLC, Certified Lactation Consultant, New York.

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