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How a baby sock can help pumping moms increase their milk production

BREAST PUMP
Pavel Ilyukhin | Shutterstock
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Sometimes it’s the little tricks that actually yield the best results!

When you’re breastfeeding, there’s no way to quantify how much milk your baby is getting. All you need to know is that your baby is gaining the right amount of weight, and you don’t have to worry. Even if you could see how many ounces he was drinking, breastmilk differs in fat and protein content during different times in the feed. It wouldn’t help you much to know how much he was getting.

When you’re pumping, though, you have to worry about these things. Pumping is a numbers game. You have to know how many ounces you will need every day. You need to make enough ahead of time, and store it, and thaw it, and use it on time. You need to keep your pump sterile, and make sure your milk production keeps up with the baby’s needs. Logistically, there’s a lot going on, and when you add the feelings of guilt and worry that so many moms feel, it’s a lot of stress and pressure.

This is where the baby sock comes in. On her business’ Facebook page, Lactation Consultant Johanna Sergeant writes: 

Are you someone who sits and watches the trickle of milk, if any, that comes when pumping? Do you get stressed or sad about your output?

When I was told to pump after feeding to boost supply, I’d sit there and watch. I’d double pump for twenty minutes after ever feed, and become more and more demoralized at the lack of milk in that bottle. I realized 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!

The post was shared over 9,000 times, and the comments were telling. Women remembered how worried they were, watching how slowly the bottle was filling. Then, they’d get absorbed in a project, or distracted by a phone call, and suddenly the bottle would be full. Fuller than usual, to their surprise. The baby sock just makes sure that no matter how tempted you are to look, you keep your attention elsewhere.

Stress isn’t always a factor in a mom’s milk production, but if that’s the source of the problem, this trick might be just enough to take the pressure off. Sargeant reminds moms that “in order for you to have let-down — the point where milk comes out of your breast — you need to have a release of oxytocin.” But oxytocin and stress are enemies, she says. “They can’t coexist. If you’re anxious, you’re not going to make much milk.”

If stress is what’s interfering with your supply, you can also encourage oxytocin production by skin-to-skin contact with your baby (if possible), by looking at a picture of the baby, or bringing something of theirs, like a blanket or piece of clothing, along when you pump.

Read more: The breastfeeding mom’s drinking game

Read more: Why breastfeeding in public is modest

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