Oketani breast massage in Japan
Breastfeeding in Japan, Daikanyama area, Interview with mothers in Tokyo, Oketani breast massage

Oketani Method of Breast Massage

Today my friend and I went to the Oketani Breast Management Clinic in Daikanyama, Tokyo. I had experienced blocked milk ducts after my baby was born, so was interested in the massage to make sure my milk was flowing well and to have a general breastfeeding checkup. It was a very positive experience. Here is some information about the consultation and massage, as well as the benefits that I noticed after the massage.

For information on the Oketani method and a list of clinics, see the Oketani Method of Breast Management website.

Daikanyama Clinic details:

Midwife: Ms. Mayumi Futakuchi
Address: 305 Dokken Daikanyama Heights, 7-8 Daikanyama, Shibuya-ku
PH: 03-6416-1518
Website: www.daikanyama-oketani.com
Blog: www.oketani.exblog.jp
Opening hours: 9am-4pm
Closed on Thursdays, Sundays and public holidays.
Cost: First time – 5000yen, subsequent visits – 3500yen

Making a reservation:

  • Reservations for first time need to be made by phone in Japanese. After that, you can make reservation by phone or online through the Daikanyama Oketani website.
  • Information required to make reservation – your name, phone number, your baby’s date of birth.

Consultation details:

  • You will be asked to feed your baby before coming, so baby is not hungry while you are having massage. After massage, the midwife will observe you breastfeeding your baby to give you advice, so try to time it so that your baby will be hungry enough to feed after the massage.
  • First consultation will take about 1.5 hours per person. This involves:
    • 30 min questionnaire and explanation about the Oketani method of breastfeeding management
      • If you don’t speak Japanese, it is good to have a Japanese-speaking friend go with you for the first consultation to help you answer the questionnaire. If this is not possible, the midwife Mayumi-san can help you fill in the form using her electronic dictionary. Some of the questions include – any complications at birth, how many times do you breastfeed each day, are you exclusively breastfeeding or do you also use formula milk, have you had any breast surgery, etc.
      • Oketani method explanation included the following points:
        • Recommended to breastfeed baby at least 8 times a day (at least every 3 hours) to maintain milk supply
        • Eat healthy balanced diet
        • Drink plenty of water/fluids
    • 30 min breast massage
      • The massage is very relaxing and soothing. There is no pain or discomfort at all. Warm towels are placed on your chest, and then each breast is massaged. I couldn’t see the massage clearly as I was lying on my back, but it looked like the midwife was massaging around each breast with her fingers and gently pushing the milk out of each milk duct and checking the flow. She was so fast and skillful, it was quite amazing!
      • Note: you may notice your milk spraying out during the massage. Mine sprayed out quite alot.
    • 30 min breastfeeding advice
      • After the massage, you will be asked to breastfeed your baby, so the midwife can observe your breastfeeding technique and give advice, such as:
        • Different positions and holding techniques to drain both sides of the breast
        • How to encourage your baby to open his/her mouth wide when latching on to get a good mouthful of breast
What to bring:
  • Boshi Techo (Mother and Child Health Handbook) – the midwife will take notes from your book regarding the health of you and your baby.
  • 2 towels (30 x 80cm) to cover your chest and stomach during the massage
  • Plastic bag (as towels may get wet from milk)

How often do mothers go to have a massage?:

  • It was explained that there are 3 scenarios:
    • Once a week – if want to increase breast milk production
    • Once a month – if just want a regular maintenance massage and check baby’s progress
    • Only when a problem arises – some mothers may be too busy to have a regular massage, so may only go to the clinic if a problem arises with their breastfeeding
Key improvements that I noticed after the massage:
  • Entire breast became softer
  • Aureola and nipple became more elastic, making it easier for my baby to suckle
  • Improved flow of milk
  • My whole body feels relaxed!
Happy mums and babies after the massage.
Bed for breast massage. If baby is unsettled or wants to stay with you, baby can lie beside you on the bed.
Lounge area with chairs and pillows for breastfeeding, and futons on floor for baby.
This photo shows the entrance to the room and toys on the left for children to play with.
The clinic is located in the Dokken Daikanyama Heights apartment block.
Questionnaire and consultation at the beginning.
Items to bring – 2 towels, plastic bag (as towels may get wet from milk), and your Mother and Child Health Handbook (Boshi Techo).
You will receive the breastfeeding handbook and Oketani method towel.
Business card of the Daikanyama clinic. Open every day except Thursdays and Sundays. For the first consultation, need to make reservation by phone in Japanese. After that can make reservation by phone or online through the Daikanyama Oketani website.
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3 thoughts on “Oketani Method of Breast Massage

  1. Jacinthe Gouin says:

    How about breastfeeding in public? We will be visiting Japan in a month and I was wondering what was the mentality about breastfeeding in this country? Can you breastfeed in a park, in a restaurant or a train? What do Japanese women do? Do they use swaddles to cover or do they only breastfeed in nursing rooms? This will definitely impact the way we spend our days! Thank you very much! 🙂 Jacinthe from Québec, Canada

    1. Kate says:

      Hi Jacinta! Thanks for your message. Breastfeeding is okay in Japan if you use a nursing cover, or if you cover your baby with your top or scarf. Most Japanese mothers use nursing covers. It is okay to breastfeed anywhere – parks, restaurants, trains. I even breastfed my baby in the bank today as she was hungry! Kate xx

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