Importance of Breast Milk and Breast Management

Breast milk is the best food for the child. It is very important to have breast massage to assist in blood circulation, and perform correction of retracted nipples and flat nipples in advance. The following describes some ways of breast management starting from mid-pregnancy. Advanced management of breast is required from the beginning of pregnancy for smooth secretion of breast milk.

Principles of Breast Management during Pregnancy

breast milk

Once pregnant, the breasts begin to change. A milk secretion hormone called prolactin in the pituitary gland starts functioning. More and more hormone secretion could be found towards late pregnancy, becomes most active after baby delivery, and starts making milk. During mid-pregnancy, the breasts become larger, surrounding area of nipples widens, meantime turns dark to deep brown color. The mammary gland begins to grow and develop. During late pregnancy, the breasts become even larger, surrounding area of nipples will turn into reddish-brown. The breast size and milk secretion are unrelated. Small breasts but with well-developed mammary gland would still have smooth breast milk secretion.

Beginning from 24 Weeks Pregnancy

Starting from 24 weeks pregnancy (early 7th month), you can start massaging your breast to help in blood circulation, as well as promoting the development of mammary gland. At the same time, you can massage the nipple too. This is to enable nipple adaptation to future stimulation, as well as to prevent nipple ulceration or rupture caused by child sucking after delivery.

Correction of Retracted and Flat Nipples

The nipple shape is also important for successful breast feeding. If the nipple is not clearly shaped, retracted nipples or flat nipples, it is not easy for the child to suck with his mouth. Flat nipples will be protruded with an appropriate size after sucking by the child.The baby is more likely to suck better if you start nipple massage from the 20th week of pregnancy.

Massage before Sleep or after Shower 

The best time to have breast or nipple massage is before sleep or after shower. Massage should be done once a day, 2-3 minutes each time. Excessive nipple stimulation may cause contraction of the uterus, and belly ache may occur. Do not do it when you are tired or having stomach ache.

Nipples Cleaning

Beginning from mid-pregnancy, nipple secretion increases. When cleaning your nipples, do not pull it forcefully. Just wipe it gently. For smooth flow of breast milk, your breast milk outlet must be opened. You can grasp and pull the nipples, or grasp the lower part of nipples by your thumb and forefinger, alternately massage it using the two fingers like playing piano.

Methods of Massage

Breast Massage

1. Sit with waist in upright position. Grip the left breast just like grasping a ball.

2. Extend your left palm from your armpit and cling tightly to the side of left breast, pushing the left breast inward and then release, repeat three times.

3. Push the bottom of your left breast by clinging it slantingly with your left pinky, and then release. Repeat three times.

4. Stretch your left hand, hold the breast bottom tightly, then push upward firmly with the fingers of both hands, then relax. Repeat three times.

Nipple Massage

breast milk

1. Open up the thumb and forefinger of your hand for each side of your breast, massage and push the breast edge upwards.

2. Grab the nipple and pull towards the end by using your thumb, forefinger and middle finger of the other hand. If there is any secretion, wipe it off before continuing.

3. Gently massage the surrounding area of nipples in a circular manner for 1-2 minutes to each side.

4. Perform breast massage by hand pulling method and rotate clockwise and counterclockwise for 2-3 minutes.

Some women are not able to produce a lot of milk for their baby, which let them use formula milk. But as they say, breast milk is still best of babies.

Sandra Henderson

Editor-in-chief at Babiology and a proud mother of four passionate about sharing pregnancy and baby growth knowledges

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