Another difference?

Apologies and warning in advance - this post will be of NO interest to anyone unless you have been, are, or planning to be pregnant... sorry!

During my hospital visit yesterday, one of the girls wearing a pink uniform asked me if I had started doing breast massage yet. And when I replied `no` she looked very concerned, pulled a fake boob out of the cupboard and proceeded to explain / demonstrate how I should be doing it. I asked how long I should spend doing it each day, and she said `as much as possible, but at least 50 strokes on each side`. Wow! She also directed me to the page in my `maternity life` booklet which was given to me when I registered to give birth at the hospital which has some useful step-by-step diagrams...

Ouch!

In the books I have been reading (mostly from the US and UK), this is not an important part of preparing for birth. In fact, some doctors recommend against it because it can cause preterm labor, and has no real benefit in milk production.

Questions like this are frequent on pregnancy websites and forums...

Q:

"

I read in one book that you should not massage your breasts during the last few weeks of pregnancy because it may cause premature labor. Another book I read suggested to do exactly that to help prepare you for breastfeeding. Which information is accurate? – Cherry"

A: "Hi, Cherry -

Conflicting information about breastfeeding--as well as every other aspect of parenthood -- abounds!

You are already doing the best form of preparation for breastfeeding by gathering as much information ahead of time as you can. The trick is to find reliable sources. One of the best is La Leche League International. Call 1-800-LA-LECHE for the group nearest you, or visit their website at http://lalecheleague.org.

As for breast massage, there is no reason to massage the breasts in preparation for breastfeeding. It may increase the chance of a preterm labor, but I would imagine it would take vigorous stimulation to cause labor to begin. This is the same concern that causes some health professionals to recommend that a pregnant mom quit nursing her older child. Generally, unless there are already signs of trouble in the pregnancy or a history of preterm labor, this is an unnecessary precaution.

Breastfeeding triggers the release of the hormone oxytocin, and it is this hormone that is involved in labor as well, hence the concern. Oxytocin is also released during sex, so unless you've been told to abstain from having sex during your pregnancy, then there is little need to worry about handling your breasts.

Vigorous massage isn't going to do anything useful towards preparation, so why bother?"


In fact, when I researched this issue online, most of the results were related to breast massage to induce labor, rather than in preparation for breast-feeding.

Any advice? I guess it can`t hurt if I do a bit...

Comments

  1. Sorry. No children, so no advice. I did laugh at her fake boob though, because I have the sense of humour of a ten year old.

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  2. Wow, I didn't get a fake boob - she made me whip my own one out and proceeding to show me. I did do it a bit - mainly in the shower when I was already starkers anyway. The pinching can hurt quite a bit though! Starting it now, even with the preterm labor talk, wouldn't matter as bubs is big enough to come out anyway. Have no idea if it works or not but I had no breastfeeding issues :) ganbare.

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  3. Thanks guys! Oh, GW I love your new profile pic - super cute! I think I may give it a go, as you said, it can`t hurt, and might speed things up in the labor department which is not necessarily a bad thing...

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