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Ten Out of Tens: Can using a TENS machine successfully stimulate your milk supply when breastfeeding?

Ten Out of Tens: Can using a TENS machine successfully stimulate your milk supply when breastfeeding?

Ten Out of Tens

Many of us will have come across a Tens machine either as something used during labour to counter-balance contraction pain, or as a way to soothe muscular pain, period or pelvic pain, or sports injury pain.

TENS, which stands for Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation, is a battery-operated device that sends electrical impulses to pads attached to your body. These impulses may help to reduce the pain signals going to our brains and thereby reduce the amount of pain we are experiencing.

TENS machines can also increase our endorphin levels. Endorphins are our body’s neurotransmitters that decrease feelings of discomfort and increase our sense of well-being and pleasure.


So, how might a TENS machine be used to support your breastfeeding journey?

There have been a handful of studies (references below) that have shown that a high-intensity TENS machine can help to reduce post-partum uterine pain during breastfeeding after giving birth (within 24 hours).

But in the longer term, research is limited as to whether it is clinically proven to help with increased milk production.

The logic behind the idea is certainly simple; our milk production is stimulated by our baby feeding. This can be replicated by using a breast pump, or by manual stimulation.

By using a TENS machine around your nipple area, the concept is that the nerve stimulation around the breasts will also work to encourage your brain to release prolactin, which, in turn, stimulates your breasts to increase milk production.

It should be noted here that TENS machines on the breast should be used with caution and never used if you have a pacemaker fitted, or without discussing it with a medical practitioner.

This brilliant article explains why in more detail;

Many TENS units are now producing pads that have been designed to work specifically on the breast and include settings that will work better for this purpose.

One of the fantastic things about a TENS machine is that it is small and quite discreet. It can be worn underneath your clothing, allowing you to have it on for a prolonged time if you are away from your baby, or unable to pump.

TENS machines are also relatively inexpensive, and we recommend the following products for use in labour which you can BUY NOW from Libra Baby:


Tens Machine for Lactation 

We are curious here at Libra Baby to hear from anyone who has used a TENS to help with milk production or feeding. Please drop us an email to


Additional references, with thanks:

Olsén MF, Elden H, Janson ED, et al. A comparison of high- versus low-intensity, high-frequency transcutaneous electric nerve stimulation for painful postpartum uterine contractions. Acta Obstet Gynecol Scand. 2007;86:310–4. [PubMed]

de Sousa L, Gomes-Sponholz FA, Nakano AM. Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation for the relief of post-partum uterine contraction pain during breastfeeding: A randomized clinical trial. J Obstet Gynaecol Res. 2014;40:1317–23. [PubMed]


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