The first time I broke out my breast pump, I expected my milk to flow like coffee from a K-cup. So I was shocked when I looked down and both bottles were practically empty. I snapped a photo and shared it on Instagram, where everybody seemed to have a solution. “Eat oatmeal!” “Have you tried fenugreek tea?” “Drink water until your insides are drowning!” But for me, nothing seemed to work.
One evening, my husband suggested I read a book or watch TV. “You’re just sitting there watching what comes out,” he said. “Maybe if you relax and think about something else, you’ll get more.” I proceeded to burst into tears. “It’s no use!” I cried. “I have bad boobs."
But it turns out Dave was onto something. Lactation consultant Johanna Sargeant advises her clients to slip a baby sock over their pumping bottles so that they can’t see the milk collecting in them. The result: up to three times more liquid gold per pumping session. The logic behind Sargeant’s trick is simple.
“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,” Sargeant told TODAY Parents. According to Sargeant, oxytocin and stress are enemies. “They can’t coexist,” the Australia native explained. “If you’re anxious, you’re not going to make much milk.”
Sargeant recently reported the hack on her Milk and Motherhood Facebook page, where it has been shared more than 8,000 times. “Wish I had known about the sock when I was nursing,” wrote one mom. Added another: “Just tried this and works!”
It worked for Sargeant too. “When I was told to pump after feeding to boost supply, I’d sit there and watch,” she revealed on Facebook. “I’d double pump for twenty minutes after every 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 then done. Enter the baby sock.”
Sargeant also recommends massaging and compressing your breasts when you pump. “It has been repeatedly proven to boost milk output,” she told TODAY Parents. “But remember, it’s never one size fits all with pumping.”