Ask a breastfeeding mom what she needs for time off, and a massage would definitely be on top of her list! Supporting the baby’s weight and locking in the breastfeeding position for 20-30 minutes to an hour or so without much movement can strain her muscles and may therefore cause discomfort for the rest of the day.
Ironically, a breastfeeding mom can’t just leave the home for a good massage anytime she wants. But there’s no need to worry because she’s just next to the best massage therapist (who won’t charge her a cent!) – her husband!
These simple massages won’t need a pro. All hands-on husbands will ever need is to master how they’re done!
Oxytocin or the “happy hormone,” helps the breast milk flow. It’s one of the two hormones needed for lactation. The oxytocin massage helps the release of breast milk through focusing on a specific part of the spine, which can stimulate the production of oxytocin in the body and stop the production of cortisol, the “stress hormone”!
For this massage, Mom should be comfortably seated facing a wall or table, using a pillow to support the front of the body.
1. Move your thumbs in a circular motion from neck to spine. Do this for 1 minute.
2. Use the same movement from the base of the skull across the shoulder blades.
3. Gently massage the back using your thumb in a circular motion along the entire spine, from top to bottom. Repeat from the bottom up.
4. Use your fist to massage the entire back with gentle pressure. Do this until mom feels more relaxed.
5. Lastly, sweep the entire back with a warm, comfortable touch.
For this massage, Mom should be seated in an upright sitting posture.
1. Squeeze shoulder blades together as if trying to squeeze a pencil between them.
2. Hold for 5 seconds and let Mom relax.
3. Repeat 10 times and perform 3-4 times a day.
For this massage, mom can be sitting or standing, or may be straight from breastfeeding!
1. Form your hand into a C, and put light to moderate pressure along the front and back sides of the forearm, between the wrist and elbow.
2. Repeat until mom’s forearm feels relieved.
For this massage, mom should be seated in an upright sitting posture.
1. Let Mom look 45 degrees to the left and tilt her head backwards.
2. Assist her to tilt her head in different angles.
3. Use your hand to help the neck pull back a little bit.
4. Form a fist and press lightly on the other side of the tilted part of the neck from top to bottom.
5. Repeat on the other side.
With all the aches and pains that come with breastfeeding, it can be a tough nut to crack, but with the support of husbands to breastfeeding moms, it can be a memorable and enjoyable journey they can take on as a family.
- Oxytocin Massage: A Simple Yet Effective Way to Help With Breastfeeding
- Breastfeeding Positions to Reduce Pain
- Dr. Sara Reardon, Mommy Wrist and Hand Pain Postpartum, May 2023
- Heather Wibbels, LMT, Self-Massage for Nursing Mothers and New Moms