As a mother of three, the youngest of which is just 4 weeks old, I am going through the whole breastfeeding journey again, and aside from the typical challenges of nursing, things have been going pretty well. I have just started pumping to store milk to get ready to go back to work, and a rush of memories have flooded my brain. From the challenges of sitting and pumping for what seemed an eternity to looking at the small amount of milk I expressed, I thought there are probably other women out there going through the same challenges, and I want to tell you – it’s completely normal!
While some women encounter few issues with nursing and pumping, other women will experience extreme discomfort and pain, such as when you develop a clogged duct, mastitis, or begin to experience a weaker milk flow. When I was breastfeeding my first child and I was living through some of these issues, I discovered the benefits of performing manual breast massage while I pumped (known as “hands-on pumping”) and realized it could be the solution many mothers need. Ultimately, this is also how I decided I would become a Certified Lactation Counselor and provide other mothers with the tools necessary to successfully feed their baby.
Perhaps the biggest benefit for lactating mothers who perform breast massage is an improved breast milk flow. According to a study by the US National Library of Medicine and National Institutes of Health, mothers who massaged their breasts before, during and after each breastfeeding session produced an average of 48% more milk, boasting twice the fat content. Breastfeeding Problems notes that breast milk obtained with the help of breast massage contained “increased levels of solids, lipids, casein and gross energy.” What that essentially means is more nutritious food for your baby.
Hands-on pumping is known to aid in the delivery of natural, healthy hormones to your body. Gentle touching leads to the release of oxytocin to relax the milk ducts, and prolactin, which signals the body to produce more breast milk. It also stimulates the lymphatic system to absorb excess fluid in your breasts’ cells, which your body then recirculates. This prevents fluid accumulation and its associated issues, including edema, breast engorgement, and swelling.
Combined with the above benefits, breast massage can be a huge help for mothers dealing with clogged ducts and mastitis because it softens the surrounding tissue. Healthline writes that breast massage works to completely empty milk ducts, preventing painful clogs in the process. To take this one step further, massage can do wonders in avoiding the potential infections and pain associated with mastitis.
Taking time to massage your breasts during feeding can be inconvenient and exhausting, at a time when you’re already tired and stressed. That’s why I teamed up with my mother to develop Nurture by Imalac, a breast pump accessory that makes a pump work better. By providing gentle, hands-free massage, it reduces pump time and increases milk output. When using our Nurture system with your breast pump, the time spent pumping has proven to drop by 72.2% and a full emptying of the breast, resulting in up to 32% more milk expressed per session. For busy mothers, it’s the perfect way to make pumping sessions more productive.
Because we are mothers ourselves, we know the challenges that mothers face, especially when it comes to nursing and pumping. Our mission is to give mothers the tools and resources to have a more positive experience and enjoy breastfeeding their babies for as long as they desire to do so. With the Nurture breast massage system, we believe we’ve done just that, giving them some of their time back while making them more comfortable in the process.