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.