Recapturing the art of therapeutic breast massage during breastfeeding

J Hum Lact. 2013 Aug;29(3):328-31. doi: 10.1177/0890334413475527. Epub 2013 Mar 4.


Milk expression is a normal part of breastfeeding, but in developed countries in particular, the focus tends to center on mechanical expression. In Russia, there is a long tradition of hands-on techniques that continues in the present day and includes mothers turning to providers trained in hand expression and breast massage techniques to resolve breastfeeding complications including engorgement, plugged ducts, and mastitis. As observed over the course of several trips to Russia, Russian clinicians routinely combine hand expression with breast massage for the treatment of milk stasis, engorgement, and plugged ducts. A better understanding of these hands-on techniques to assist in resolution of complications may provide additional treatment options for the lactation community.

Keywords: Russia; breast massage; breastfeeding; engorgement; manual expression; mastitis; plugged duct.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Breast Feeding / methods*
  • Breast Milk Expression / methods*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lactation Disorders / therapy*
  • Massage / methods*
  • Mastitis / therapy*
  • Russia