You know how a watched pot never boils? Well, a watched bottle may not fill according to this pumping hack
Say what you will about the ups and downs of feeding infants, most moms will agree that one of the worst and hardest aspects of breastfeeding is when you have to pump. It often requires a lot of equipment, it’s noisy, it’s hard to do away from home, it takes forever, and let’s face it: you have a machine sucking your nipples. An added frustration? Sometimes it can be hard to get even a few ounces pumped, even when you know you have more to give.
There are plenty of pumping tips and tricks, but here’s one we hadn’t heard before, courtesy of the Milk and Motherhood Facebook page. Since it posted this weekend, the post has received 10,000 likes, 3,600 comments, and 8,000 shares.
The pumping hack is ridiculously simple: to stop stressing about how much milk you’re pumping, simply put a sock over the bottle and stop worrying about it. Worrying and stress can affect your ability to produce milk, and taking your mind off of the pump completely can help.
Johanna Sargeant, the author of the post and voice behind the Milk and Motherhood website is a Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) in Zurich, Switzerland. She thought of the hack while pumping for her own baby and trying to increase her supply.
“When I was told to pump after feeding to boost supply, I’d sit there and watch,” she wrote. “I’d double pump for twenty minutes after ever feed, and become more and more demoralised at the lack of milk in that bottle. I realised that, for my own mental health, I needed to stop watching! Easier said than done. Enter the baby sock.”
“Now I advise mamas to put a sock over their pumping bottle, and it has been getting incredible results. Some women are reporting often 2-3 times more milk when they remove themselves mentally from the result of their pumping session! We know that oxytocin release is inhibited by stress, and oxytocin release is required for letdowns, so if you find you are getting stressed while watching, try it!”
We love how perfectly a baby sock fits over small pumping bottles — and we bet that an adult sock would fit nicely over the larger-sized bottles, too. But that’s certainly not the only way you can cover your bottles. A nursing blanket, or any blanket at all, really, can be draped over the whole operation so you don’t have to wait to see each and every drop collect and fall.
Sargeant acknowledges that this goes against the more well-known advice to focus on your baby, and producing milk, while you pump.
“A lot of advice is to think of your baby, look at pics or videos of your baby,” she tells Scary Mommy. “That works for some mums, yes, but I have found that for many others it actually makes them very sad and can, for the same reasons as the sock’s necessity, actually inhibit letdown. So I tell mums that if those more ‘typical’ tips aren’t working for them, then don’t feel bad about playing Tetris on your phone for 20 minutes! And it seems quite handy that most sitcom episodes go for the exact duration of one perfect pumping session.”
She came up with the trick after realizing that her obsessiveness and anxiety about producing milk was probably not helping her cause.
“Personally, my chronic low supply with both of my children was incredibly difficult for me,” she tells us. “I pumped like crazy with my first, but the sadness and anxiety became so overwhelming that I simply had to find a way to try to trick my brain and to stop being so obsessive about my failure to produce. I’d been told to smell my baby’s hat, so I figured a sock was even cuter, so it would probably tick that ‘smell the baby’s hat’ box, and would also help to hide my lack of supply from my brain at that moment.”
Maybe the best part of finding this viral post is checking out the rest of Sargeant’s Facebook page and website, which is full of great advice for nursing moms, along with tons of fascinating information.
Even better? She also provides consultations over Skype if you don’t live in the vicinity of Zurich. We love her acceptance of different ways of feeding your baby, her acknowledgement that nursing is not always fun or easy, and her positive attitude and empathy.
“I chose to become an IBCLC in order to find ways to help women avoid what I had to go through,” she told us. “I began telling my mamas about the sock when they showed signs of very high stress and anxiety around their output — when they reminded me of myself. I started realizing that this sock tip was causing some of my mamas to produce 2-3 times more milk in one pumping session, and so it became the first (and the easiest!) pumping tip that I gave whenever mamas are trying to boost their supply.”
We almost can’t wait to get out those baby socks, cue up Netflix, and start pumping.