Breast is best
Massage is a wonderful way for mums to nurture themselves during pregnancy, to soothe and comfort the body as it grows and changes shape.
Pregnancy expert Suzanne Yates explains:
“Massaging the breasts for the last two weeks before birth will help maintain the breast tissues in tip-top condition, encouraging the health of the skin and the underlying supporting structures of the breast. Massage promotes circulation in the tissue, which in turn stimulates milk production. This is our best preparation for breastfeeding, to avoid some of the hurdles that mums may encounter when starting to nurse a new baby, such as blocked milk ducts. Even if you are not breastfeeding, breast massage can still feel great”.
Weleda’s maternity range includes a certified-natural Nursing Oil which is delicately scented with a barely-there fragrance from pure essential oils, including warming sweet fennel, caraway and relaxing marjoram – a traditional choice to support healthy lactation and stimulate free milk flow.
Regular breast massages have a generally positive effect on the whole breastfeeding process. Use the product from the 38th week of pregnancy, and once you start breastfeeding use it between feeds, just for five minutes or so, two or three times a day (ideally half an hour before each feed). It is more comfortable and altogether more pampering to use an oil for this kind of massage, and promotes a general sense of wellbeing and relaxation for mums, which may well help with the ‘let down’ reflex when the time comes to breastfeed.
Use light circular movements on the front and to the side of each breast. It is really for mums to decide what feels most natural and comfortable for them and their particular shape.
“Massage supports your lymphatic system. The main lymph nodes, which drain the breasts, are in your armpits, so you can include the underarm area in your breast massage routine. Work from the nipple to your armpit with massage strokes that are very light. You are only moving the skin, as the lymph vessels are just below it and you just want to gently encourage the flow. It is very different from massaging muscles. Instead of rubbing, use fluid ‘watery’ stroking movements.”
“If you are breastfeeding your newborn, you can continue to massage postnatally but avoid oil on the nipple area because your baby may not latch on so confidently if the skin is oily and slippery”.
Massage also helps promote body confidence, as women become more familiar with their changing shape. It can sometimes be daunting to grow from a small neat cup size to a wonderfully rounded figure in the later stages of pregnancy. Literally ‘getting in touch’ with your growing form and feeling completely at home in this ‘new you’ can be extremely helpful.
Weleda Nursing Oil is NATRUE-certified genuinely natural and is free from mineral oils, synthetic ingredients or artificial additives of any kind. It is made with sweet almond oil, cold-pressed from organic crops grown in Spanish orchards stretching over 100,000 acres of Valencian countryside. Almond is valued for its gentle, soothing properties and is the ideal base for a quickly-absorbed light oil that won’t leave you feeling sticky.