What Is a Lactation Massager? Here’s Everything You Need to Know (& Our Top Picks)
Maybe you’re pregnant and planning ahead, or perhaps you’re currently trying to grin and bear the pain of a clogged milk duct while a baby (or breast pump) is mercilessly sucking on your boob. Whatever the case may be, the thought has crossed your mind: What is a lactation massager—and is it right for me? Without further ado, here’s a roundup of the best lactation massagers, plus everything you need to know about why so many nursing mamas swear by this nifty tool.
WHAT IS A LACTATION MASSAGER?
Special pillows, nursing pads, breast pumps that look like torture devices from Medieval times—yep, your breastfeeding journey has introduced you to a whole new world. And now you can add one more weird product to the ever-growing list…so what is a lactation massager anyway? Glad you asked. This handheld device is designed to, well, massage your breast in order to get your liquid gold flowing efficiently and painlessly.
HOW DOES A LACTATION MASSAGER WORK?Most lactation massagers function like any other massager (including that toy you keep tucked away in the top drawer) in that they rely on good vibrations, and sometimes heat, to stimulate and loosen up the targeted area, which in this case is your breast. As a result, your time spent pumping and breastfeeding will get a serious boost (but more on that later).
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF A LACTATION MASSAGER?
Truth be told, a lactation massager doesn’t do anything you can’t accomplish with your own hand. That said, your hands are pretty full these days, which is why a palm-sized gadget you can stuff in your bra might be the most convenient way to butter up your boob and get your babe fed—particularly if you’re a pumping mother whose body isn’t responding to the aforementioned torture device with the same gusto it would your bundle of joy. Indeed, lactation massage in general—be it with a handy tool or just your hands—is thought to help stimulate the let-down reflex that’s responsible for the release of breast milk. It’s also a go-to remedy for certain breastfeeding woes, like uncomfortably engorged breasts and clogged milk ducts that, if left untreated, can turn into mastitis (i.e., every nursing mother’s worst nightmare). In other words, lactation massage can maximize your output whilst minimizing the risk of a) unpleasant complications and b) the time you spend attached to a pump. Now that you know the basics, let’s take a look at the best lactation massagers money can buy.
BEST LACTATION MASSAGERS AT A GLANCE:
- Best Lactation Massager Overall: HAUTURE Warming Lactation Massager
- Best No-Heat Lactation Massager: LaVie Lactation Massager
- Best Lactation Massager for Clogged Ducts: Frida Mom 2-in-1 Lactation Massager
- Best Warming Lactation Massager: LaVie 2-in-1 Warming Lactation Massager
- Best Compact Warming Lactation Massager: Grownsy Warming Lactation Massager
- Best Manual Lactation Massager: LaVie Manual Lactation Massage Roller
- Quietest Lactation Massager: Lumama Lactation Massager
- Best Waterproof Lactation Massager: AL’OFA Lactation Massager
- Most Discreet Lactation Massager: Haakaa Lactation Massager Shell
- Most Splurge-Worthy Lactation Massager: MomCozy Warming and Vibration Lactation Massager
- Five vibration settings
- Two continual warming settings (low and high)
- Short battery life
“I’m prone to clogs and I’m in love with this massager,” says one of the many nursing mothers who say that this baby resolves clogged ducts like nobody’s business. It also boasts five different vibration modes, an adjustable heat function and a smooth food-grade silicone exterior so you can empty your breast without unnecessary discomfort. That said, this one doesn’t have a long run-time, so you’d be wise to charge it when it’s not in use and make hay when the sun shines.
- Multiple vibration modes
- No warming mode
- Looks like a vibrator
Maybe you can’t take the heat, or perhaps you’re investing in a massager that you can use in conjunction with another heat source—either way, if you don’t require a warming mode, this number from LaVie should do the trick. Enthusiastic reviewers report that the multiple vibration modes on this miracle worker provide instant relief when you’re engorged and take pumping to a whole new level (i.e., less time spent awkwardly locked in the office bathroom). Best of all, it’s waterproof, which is one more reason to pencil in a long, hot shower when you’ve got a clogged duct. (Just don’t leave it on the bathroom sink for your FIL to see, lest he get the wrong impression.)
- Designed with two different sides to target clogged ducts
- Adjustable vibration modes
- Warming function
- Quality control issues: Some customers report charging defects
All the products on our list are designed to loosen up clogs, but the unique design of this massager from Frida Mom gives it an edge on the competition in the clogged duct department. This puppy has a looped end to pull out blocked milk, a targeted tip to break up stubborn clogs and a curved side ‘scoop’ to fully empty the breast. It’s also safe to bring into the shower and small enough to slip into any bag when you’re on-the-go.
- Includes two soft massage pads
- Multiple (3) vibration modes
- Multiple (4) heat settings
- Takes five minutes to heat up
This tool—an improvement on LaVie’s tremendously popular entry level lactation massager—packs a punch (in a good way) with two powerful heated massage pads. Yep, you get one for each boob, so there’s no need for turn taking. Best of all, happy customers praise the product for its efficacy at triggering letdown, decreasing pain associated with vasospasms and maximizing output.
- Compact size
- Powerful; strong vibration
- Two heat modes
- Long battery life
- Somewhat loud
- Only two vibration modes
Unlike some of the other options on the list that need to be held during use, the small size and ergonomic design of the Grownsy lactation massager makes it easy to slip in your bra while breastfeeding or pumping. Don’t be fooled by its size, though—reviewers unanimously agree that this sleek little number is “small but mighty” and makes a significant difference in the amount of milk removed from the breast during pumping sessions. This option also gets high praise for how quickly it heats up (i.e., “almost instantly”) and how long the battery lasts. In other words, it checks all the boxes.
- Multiple modes of use
- Scooped handle to encourage milk flow
This manual massager from LaVie features a textured, medical-grade silicone roller to stimulate milk production and flow, as well as a scooped handle to ensure every last drop is removed from the breast. Needless to say, this tool isn’t for those who are looking for a truly hands-free massage. Still, it makes the job a lot easier and the scores of glowing five-star reviews confirm that it performs just as well as any electric massager and is both comfortable and easy to use before, during or after nursing and pumping. Best of all, if you go with this budget-friendly option, you’ll never have to worry about charging it between uses.
- Low-intensity vibrations
- No heating mode
For those who spend a lot of time pumping or nursing in public places, a lactation massager you can hear from a mile away isn’t ideal. Good news: This vibration-only lactation massager from Lumama is, by all accounts, whisper-quiet. It’s worth noting, however, that this comes at a cost—namely, lower intensity vibrations—so if you’re looking for a super powerful lactation massager, this might not be the one for you. Still, customers say that it’s strong enough to effectively loosen clogged ducts (there’s a pointed end for that purpose) and speed up the process of emptying the breast. Bonus: The size and shape of this lactation massager makes it easy to slip into a bra, so it’s discreet in more ways than one.
- Seven vibration modes
- Silky silicone exterior and comfortable design
- Only medium-intensity vibrations
Fans of the AL’OFA lactation massager swoon over the silky-smooth feel of its liquid silicone surface and its soft, slightly curved shape—two features that provide for an extra comfortable massage experience. (Psst: More than one reviewer reports that it feels quite nice down below, too.) It also boasts seven different vibration settings, so users can experiment to find a pattern and intensity that suits their personal preference, and is said to be relatively quiet and completely waterproof as well. That said, this massager isn’t quite as powerful as some others on the market, which may or may not be a problem depending on your needs.
- Seven vibration modes
- Discreet design
- No heated mode
You wouldn’t want to leave most lactation massagers lying around for company to see, which is unfortunate, since nursing mothers are putting them to use multiple times a day. The Haaka lactation massager, however, boasts a clever shell design that’s innocent looking enough to leave out on your coffee table or office desk. (According to one reviewer, you can even hand it to your baby as a teething toy without anyone giving you the side-eye.) Another benefit of the unique shape is that it conforms nicely to the breast for stimulating a large area (while making you feel like a pretty mermaid) and can be used on its edges for a targeted clogged duct massage. Finally, this baby boasts seven vibration modes, albeit no heated mode, so it won’t make you feel warm and fuzzy.
- Six vibration and three heat modes
- Customizable settings
- Strong and effective vibrating power
The price is steep, but happy customers say the MomCozy lactation massager is worth every penny—namely because the vibrations are “strong and effective” enough to soften engorged breasts, increase milk flow and reduce pain from clogged ducts and pumping. Indeed, this puppy is lauded as a game-changer by pumping and nursing mamas who love the variety of vibration and heat options on offer, the impressive battery life and overall performance of the product.