Have you ever massaged a lemon to soften it up and make it more juicy before you cut it open? This trick works for your breasts as well!
Psychological methods can be very effective in helping your milk let down. When a baby starts to nurse, mom’s oxytocin level rises, causing milk to let down. When you can’t be with your baby, using your senses helps your brain send the same signals and release that oxytocin (aka the “love hormone”) to get your milk flowing.
Here are a few ways to engage your senses while pumping:
👕 Bring your baby’s outfit from the previous day and smell it while breathing deeply and thinking of her/him.
📷 Look at pictures or watch videos of your baby.
👂 Listen to a recording of your baby crying or cooing.
❎ Don’t watch the pump! Like watching water boil or paint dry, it can feel like forever when you’re staring at it.
🤳 If distraction works better for you, watch something else and pay no attention to what you’re doing until your time is up.
If you are still having problems, consider making an appointment for a one-on-one consultation. Circumstances vary, and our breastfeeding specialists can provide personalized help for your individual situation.
3. Relax & Reduce Stress
Moms are multitaskers, either by nature or necessity! While multitasking is a valuable skill, it can derail your pumping efforts. In order to maximize your milk production and pumping output, you need to be relaxed and in the moment, and as free of stress as possible. Cortisol (the stress hormone) interferes with oxytocin release, which is responsible for your milk ejection reflex. See the potential problem here?
>> Some common reasons stress causes a reduction in output and overall milk supply: <<
🤹♀ juggling multiple tasks
🪑 sitting uncomfortably
🔊 pumping in a loud or distracting environment
>> What can you do to reduce these stressors and let that oxytocin flow? <<
🌬 take some slow, deep breaths
🙇♀ separate your thoughts from work
🧘♀ do a few minutes of guided meditation before you start
💦 think positive thoughts and visualize your milk releasing
It is not realistic for most moms to eliminate all the stressors from your pumping situation. Just do your best, and try to make those 10-20 minutes your own. At least, take a couple minutes at the beginning to calm yourself and get the process started. If you aren’t provided a private, comfortable place to pump at work, please read about the Break Time For Nursing Mothers Act to see if your employer is in violation of this law.