Nipple stimulation has been shown to increase milk production in some women. Some researchers believe that the stimulation of the nipples during breastfeeding causes the release of prolactin, a hormone that is responsible for milk production. Others believe that the increased blood flow to the breasts caused by nipple stimulation causes more milk to be produced.
Whether or not nipple stimulation actually increases milk production is still up for debate, but some lactation consultants recommend nipple stimulation for new mothers and it seems to be a popular method of increasing breast milk supply and encouraging letdown. If you are struggling with not having enough milk, there is certainly no harm in trying it.
Let’s take a deep dive:
What is nipple stimulation?
Nipple stimulation is a term used to describe various techniques that are used on your nipples to stimulate them. It is the process of manually stimulating the nipples in order to increase breast milk supply. This can be done through breastfeeding, manually, or using a breast pump.
The Spectra pump has a ‘letdown massage’ mode that allows you to do gentle nipple massage for as long as you want. Read my full review.
Nipple stimulation can be performed by directly touching, rubbing, or pulling on the nipples themselves, as well as using an object such as a feather or vibrator to tease and stimulate them. You could even enlist the help of your partner to stimulate your nipples!
Use nipple stimulation along with other methods, such as pumping or drinking lactation tea, to increase your milk supply.
What happens during nipple stimulation?
In the early days post-delivery, nipple stimulation can actually cause uterine cramps which can be uncomfortable. This is due to the release of oxytocin, which helps your uterus to contract.
Whether or not nipple stimulation can increase breast milk supply, it definitely helps with milk let down. If you are stressed while breastfeeding, sometimes that can affect letdown. One way to help this along is to stimulate your nipples before a breastfeeding sessions.
There is also some research showing that nipple stimulation can increase prolactin secretion, resulting in higher breast milk production.
Nipple stimulation is generally not harmful at all to try out. The only caveat is that if you are breastfeeding while pregnant, nipple stimulation might trigger uterine contractions and preterm labor.
Does nipple stimulation increase breast milk supply?
There is a lot of debate surrounding the topic of nipple stimulation and breast milk supply. Some people swear by it, while others claim that it doesn’t work at all. So, what’s the truth?
Some methods of stimulation, such as using a breast pump or stimulating your own nipples before nursing, can help to prepare your body for nursing and increase milk production. If you find that your milk supply is low or not enough, then nipple stimulation and/or breast pumps may be a good solution for you.
Further reading: How I pumped more milk with my Spectra by accident
Does nipple stimulation affect breastfeeding?
Some mothers find that nipple stimulation (rubbing, pinching, or pulling) during breastfeeding provides extra stimulation that helps them to produce more milk. Others find the opposite to be true and experience decreased milk production.
Many experts don’t believe that nipple stimulation has any real impact on breastfeeding, but there is still much debate over this topic. Some mothers find it helpful, while others find it unnecessary and annoying.
I think it’s worth trying if you are having let down and milk supply issues. However, if you find that it doesn’t help or makes things worse, stop immediately.
To wrap up
Whether or not nipple stimulation increases milk supply is up for debate. However, it definitely aids in let-down.
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