Dear Lactation Consultant,
My husband recently purchased a massage package for me after delivering via c-section 3 weeks ago. I know that massage eliminates toxins in your body and I am concerned about whether the toxins will enter the breast milk while I'm nursing. Will this happen and will it be detrimental to the baby?
Massage is known to be relaxing and soothing, and I can't think of a better gift for a new mom. While some believe that massage eliminates and releases toxin, to my knowledge this is a theory rather than a proven scientific fact.
I am not aware of any evidence in the breastfeeding literature to suggest that massage would present any problems for a nursing mother or her infant. In fact, research suggests than anything that helps a breastfeeding mother relax naturally has a beneficial effect on milk supply as well as let-down.
Enjoy your massage -- you deserve it!
-- Anne, IBCLC
Dr. Kendall-Tackett is a health psychologist, International Board Certified Lactation Consultant, and Research Associate Professor of Psychology specializing in women's health at the Family Research Lab, University of New Hampshire. She is a Fellow of the American Psychological Association in both the Divisions of Health Psychology and Trauma Psychology. Dr. Kendall-Tackett is a La Leche League leader, chair of the New Hampshire Breastfeeding Taskforce, and the Area Coordinator of Leaders for La Leche League of Maine and New Hampshire.
Dr. Kendall-Tackett is author of more than 140 journal articles, book chapters and other publications, and author or editor of 15 books including The Hidden Feelings of Motherhood (2005, Hale Publications), Depression in New Mothers (2005, Haworth), and Breastfeeding Made Simple, co-authored with Nancy Mohrbacher (2005, New Harbinger). She is on the editorial boards of the journals Child Abuse and Neglect, Journal of Child Sexual Abuse and the Journal of Human Lactation, and regularly reviews for 27 other journals in the fields of trauma, women's health, interpersonal violence, depression, and child development. Dr. Kendall-Tackett is the "Ask a Lactation Consultant" columnist on Pregnancy.org and serves on the Board of Directors of Attachment Parenting International.
Dr. Kendall-Tackett received a Bachelor's and Master's degree in psychology from California State University, Chico, and a Ph.D. from Brandeis University in social and developmental psychology. She has won several awards including the Outstanding Research Study Award from the American Professional Society on the Abuse of Children, and was named 2003 Distinguished Alumna, College of Behavioral and Social Sciences, California State University, Chico.