Home Gesundheit Was ist ein Laktationsmassagegerät?

Was ist ein Laktationsmassagegerät?

von NFI Redaktion

When buying breastfeeding supplies, you may have noticed lactation massage devices along with breast pumps, nipple cream, and nursing pillows. What are they? And do you need one?

A lactation massage device is a handheld device designed to help women overcome certain breastfeeding difficulties, such as clogged breasts or milk ducts.

Should you get one to initiate lactation? That’s up to you. Lactation experts say that the device doesn’t do anything you can’t already do yourself.

„I don’t recommend lactation massage devices as essential breastfeeding equipment,“ says Pierrette Mimi Poinsett, MD, a pediatrician in Sonoma County, California, and medical consultant for the parenting blog Mom Loves Best. „No clinical studies show that they are more effective than therapeutic breast massage by hand.“

Breast massage devices are made of soft silicone and fit in the palm of your hand. They have two rounded ends – a wide one and a narrow one – as well as settings to make them vibrate or provide warmth.

Some women with clogged milk ducts press the narrow end of a lactation massage device against the sore area of the breast and move it towards the nipple to try to remove the blockage. Others massage the breast from the chest to the nipple with the wider end of the massage device to relieve clogged breasts.

However, exerting too much pressure on the breasts with this device can be risky. „There is no evidence that these devices have clinical benefits for breastfeeding mothers, and in fact, improper use of massage devices can cause trauma to the breasts,“ says Dr. Karen Federici, a family physician and certified lactation consultant in Sycamore, IL specialized in lactation medicine.

The gentle pressure of a lactation massage device can help relieve a clogged milk duct, but breastfeeding mothers have been clearing their milk ducts without these devices for centuries.

„There are definitely other strategies to clear clogged milk ducts,“ says Leigh Anne O’Connor, a certified lactation consultant based in New York City. „Often, it’s simply about breastfeeding the baby more. Sometimes it’s about [aiming] the baby’s chin towards the heel. Alternating warm and cold compresses can clear blockages. Pumping can also help clear blockages.“

Vibrations can be helpful, but you don’t need to rush out and buy a lactation massage device if you don’t already have one.

„In the past, we recommended a vibrating toothbrush or a real vibrator for hard-to-release clogged ducts,“ says O’Connor. „I still recommend these, as many people already have one, and if you need to clear clogged ducts, it’s an urgent situation that requires immediate attention. It can be problematic to wait for the purchase or delivery.“

You may not enjoy the feeling of vibrations on your chest.

„Even if they are gentle, vibrations can actually exacerbate discomfort in the area,“ says Federici. „Imagine having a bruise or a minor sprain. Applying vibrations would neither feel good nor reduce inflammation. Ice would be helpful, as well as ibuprofen. The same goes for breast tissue.“

New mothers may experience swelling or engorgement of the breasts, causing them to feel painful and firm, making it harder for babies to latch on.

If breast tissue is swollen, ice packs can reduce swelling, or warmth can be soothing. The warm setting of a lactation massage device can be helpful, but warm compresses should work too.

„For comfort, a low heat application can be applied,“ says Federici. „For relief of swelling, ice packs are recommended, as most of the enlargement is actually due to swelling of the surrounding tissue rather than abundant milk.“

Some lactation massage device manufacturers claim that they can support the milk ejection reflex. But nursing your baby should work better.

„Milk supply is ensured by frequent breastfeeding,“ says Poinsett. „A hand massage during feeding can help with milk expression and flow.“

Breast massage can also help relieve clogged milk ducts or swelling. Your hands work better than a lactation massage device.

Here’s how to perform a breast massage to initiate lactation.

„Effective breast massage techniques include circular movements on the breast with gentle pressure, starting at the base of the breast and moving towards the nipple,“ says Poinsett. „Also, massage the breast linearly, from the breast to the tip of the nipple. Finally, compressing the breast by holding it in the ‚C‘ position – pinky finger touching the breast, thumb and index finger holding the breast – can help improve milk removal.“

Your breasts may be swollen due to containing too much lymph fluid, leading to inflammation. A lymphatic massage can help remove the fluid so your milk can flow more freely.

„This is a very gentle touch massage applied on the breast above the breast and moving upward towards the collarbone. It’s also applied near the armpit upwards and away from the breast, exerting only light pressure, like a gentle rub as if the baby were back,“ says Federici. „I suppose the massage device could be used for a light lymphatic massage moving up and away from the sore spot, although hands are more effective.“

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