May 13 , 2021
Breast Massage can really aid moms in their breastfeeding and pumping journeys. Not only does it contribute to alleviating clogged ducts and some of the discomfort that comes with breast engorgement, it helps establish your milk supply by better emptying the breasts and increasing pumping output.
Despite the many benefits of breast massage, the reality is that most moms don't have the time or energy to use their hands every single pumping session. That's why we created the Lilu Massage Bra. The automated massage that our bra provides is a great reliever for moms with wrist of thumb pain. For example, if you have a condition like "mommy thumb" or find that massage by hand aggravates your arthritis.
Whether you’re an exclusive pumper or not, here are some best practices for using the Lilu Massage Bra to optimize your time and milk production.
How the Lilu massage bra works
Let’s break this down. There are two massage cushions that live in the pockets of the Lilu Massage Bra, one for each breast. These cushions fill with air to mimic the hand motions recommended by lactation experts to stimulate the milk ducts around the breasts and help you express more milk while pumping. It’s a gentle massage that works its way around the breast in slow cycles.
There are two massage levels, High and Low, so you can adjust for your comfort. The cushions are powered by a rechargeable controller that sits in the bra’s center pocket, and nestles in between the breasts, providing a bit of extra vibration and stimulation, as well as support for the massage cushions.
The massage is gentle, effective, and helps you get more milk, hands-free. Many moms report also having faster or more letdowns during a pumping session with Lilu.
Why it’s helpful
When a baby nurses, they use their tongue, lips, face, and body to suck and compress the breasts to stimulate milk flow. Pumps only use suction, which can make them significantly inefficient in comparison to a baby nursing. That's also why it’s very common for a pump session to take a bit longer than a healthy (undistracted) baby breastfeeding. For this reason, lactation experts suggest using breast massage to help stimulate milk flow while pumping.
In short, by mimicking massage and breast compression motions recommended by lactation experts, the Lilu Massage Bra gives you the proven benefits of breast massage, hands-free.
You can learn more about the Lilu Massage Bra below.
Lilu Massage Bra
Best practices for exclusive pumpers
The main challenge of exclusively pumping is the amount of time and energy it requires. To say it’s a big commitment is a bit of an understatement. Here are a few tips to help you get the most out of each pumping session.
Find a pump that is compatible with the Lilu Massage Bra
The Lilu Massage Bra is compatible with most electric pumps, with standard milk bottles. For example, it’s compatible with all models of Spectra, including S1 and S2™ and all models of Medela, including Pump in Style, Freestyle, Swing, Sonata™.
If you have any of the following brands, the Lilu Massage works with them, too: Lansinoh™, Ameda™, Avent™, Motif Luna™, Hygeia™, Baby Buddha™. Unfortunately, our bra is not yet compatible with these brands: Willow™, Elvie™, Freemie™ or Pumpin Pal™ Flanges.
It may take a few tries to find the breast pump that works best for you and your body, so hang in there, momma!
Find well-fitting flanges
A flange (or breast shield) is the part of the breast pump that positions directly over the nipple and forms a vacuum seal over the areola, drawing your nipple into the tunnel for milk extraction. When you’re pumping, the flange is what secures over the breast for suction and release.
When it’s time to choose a breast pump, you’re going to want to pay extra attention to how the flange feels and fits on your nipple. Any soreness or visible marks (cuts, redness, etc.) usually means that you need a different flange size.
As one Lilu mom points out, pumping with ill-fitting flanges can be really damaging to the body. If it’s painful to pump and if you're suffering, you may unintentionally be doing damage to your tissue. Her advice is to do whatever it takes to fix it. There is no need to suffer. When you are at your best, you can give the best for you, your family, and your baby.
Optimize your time
Most exclusive pumpers need about 120 minutes (or two hours) of pumping per day and that’s not including the time it takes to bottle feed your baby the milk or to clean up after. Research shows that breast massage while breastfeeding can result in 50% more milk per session, so you’re already saving time right there.
Our bra takes care of the heavy lifting, so you can go hands-free. For many moms using the Lilu Massage Bra, they’re able to pump twice the amount of milk in half the time. In most cases, you’ll be able to add to your stash in the freezer. Having a stash of breastmilk is a great option for moms who travel regularly for work and/or who would like to wean themselves off by a certain date.
Create pumping stations
Try to have equipment for each station so you won’t have to carry equipment from room to room. Of course, if this is not financially feasible, consider investing in a pump bag that offers many compartments so that you can stay well organized. That said, remember that most health insurances cover one pump per baby. So second-time moms can get a new one even when their pump from their first baby still works perfectly.
Keep in mind that bigger and heavier pumps are more difficult to carry around (many Lilu moms really like Spectra), while smaller pumps are easier to take with you to work or just carry with you when you are out and about (think Medela Flex or Baby Buddha).
Best practices for breastfeeding moms
Many of the same rules apply for moms who alternate between breastfeeding and pumping, plus a few more:
- Stay hydrated! Whether you or pumping or breastfeeding, your body needs more water than normal
- Eat more calories in a day. Along with drinking more water, your body needs more fuel to actually make milk. It’s suggested that you consume an additional 400-500 calories per day when breastfeeding.
- Get into a comfortable position. Making sure your back and tailbone are supported is key when breastfeeding your little one.
- Relax. The more relaxed you are, the more oxytocin you produce, the more milk you make!