Need help to get your milk flowing? Diana Goh, TCM Physician from Madam Partum shows us simple breast massage techniques to increase your milk flow.
Starting from one side of your breast, identify your blocked areas: Raise your left arm in the air and examine your left breast with your right hand, search around for knots, hard areas and blocked ducts. Do the same for the other side.
Step 1: The lymph gland is the hard area you feel on your armpit. Start by ‘pumping’ your lymph gland in your left or right armpit for around 5 to 10 times by applying pressure to the area, and releasing it.
You can use 2 to 4 fingers to press, as long as you feel the pressure. You will feel a little sore, but it means you are pressing it at the right spot.
Step 2a and 2b: Start by massaging in circular motions from outside of your left breast to the inside of the left breast clockwise 5 to 10 times and anti-clockwise 5 – 10 times.
Step 2c: Apply pressure on the 4 meridian points, which is about 2 inches above, below, left and right tip of the areola. Do this for about 5 to 10 times.
Step 3a: Hold your breast with your left hand, apply some pressure upwards and use your right palm to stroke downwards from the top of the breast.
Step 3b: Use your thumb to create more pressure by pushing downwards to push the milk into the ducts.
Step 4a: Cup the breast with both palms and move upwards and downwards for 3 to 4 times.
Step 4b: Squeeze the tip of your areola in all angles with index finger and thumb a few times until your milk drips. If using your index and thumb does not work, use your five fingers to do an outward pull motion.
Note: Do all the above steps on one side of your breast first, before proceeding to the other side.
Q: What causes blocked ducts?
Diana says: It could be the wrong way of latching, causing your breastmilk to be not able to drained completely. Infrequent or skipping your feedings results in sending wrong signals to the body to stop milk production. Wearing a tight nursing bra or sleeping in a certain position can cause your ducts to be compressed or damaged too. Feeling stressed? Fatigue and stress may lower your body’s production of oxytocin, the hormone that helps in the milk production. Not having enough fluids can also cause your milk to be too thick, causing blockage in the ducts.
Q. How can I prevent blocked ducts?
Diana says: Consider changing your breastfeeding positions. Include moist hot compress for before and after breastfeeding, and have regular breastfeeding routines. Eat well and have plenty of fluids. Although this can be quite hard with a newborn, try to rest as much as possible.
Q: What soups can I drink to help with my milk flow?
Diana recommends: Green Papaya Prolactin Soup cooked with Fish or Pig Trotters, which can be purchased at any Madam Partum outlets.
This article was contributed by Goh Shi Yu Diana, TCM Physician from Madam Partum