"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...