Pumping Secrets

Breast Milk Expression

The Sense Memory Method of Breast Milk Expression - by Jenniffer Milone

How our senses form - and connect us to - our memories

Memories are made by using our five senses. Each time we hear, see, taste, smell, and touch, we are experiencing something that will be stored as a memory, or that generates a sense memory from a previous sensual experience. Those that are surprising, or that we consciously file away, are stored in our brains and can be accessed. With the Sense Memory Method of Breast Milk Expression, you are consciously making memories using as many senses as possible so that you can later recall them more quickly and powerfully. You see, each of your senses makes its very own connection to the same experience. So when you smell, see, and taste a fresh baked apple pie, you have tripled the bonds of memory you have for that experience. Or in other words, a memory recalled by more than one sense will be a more easily accessed memory.

The Sense Memory Method of Breast Milk Expression is simply enhancing the experiences you've shared with your baby - while employing other senses - to enhance the memories you want to recall when expressing your milk. So pay attention to all of your senses while breastfeeding, and allow them to work for you later while expressing.

The most successful way to begin creating your sense memories is to devise a breastfeeding routine. You'll practice your routine as often as possible, beginning when you bring baby home from the hospital, and continuing during your entire maternity leave when you're home with baby (and evenings and weekends).

Our lives are busy; you won't be able to follow your exact routine at every nursing session. That's OK. Try to make a conscious effort to follow the same breastfeeding routine as often "as you comfortably can". Each nursing session creates sensory associations that help you connect with your baby. You'll find that when you express your milk, your mind will return to these memories/senses.

When the time comes to express your milk, create a pumping routine to mimic that of your breastfeeding routine. Then... trust yourself. Allow the sense memories of your baby to flood your body and mind. Relax. Your body will respond!