Mom and TikToker, Kat Stuckey (@imdatmom), garnered over 2.7M views when she uploaded her reaction to TikTok, and thousands of parents are flooding the comments to share their own similarly Pavlovian experiences.
In the video, Kat explains that she’s currently breastfeeding her one-month-old baby. And while breastfeeding, she always watches “One Tree Hill” on TV — something Kat says she’s done since “day one” with her infant.
But the day she filmed her now-viral TikTok, Kat did things a little differently: she decided to watch “One Tree Hill” on her own, just for fun, without breastfeeding her baby.
That’s when her body had a Pavlovian reaction: during the theme song of her favorite show, Kat’s let-down was triggered, and she began to leak — much to her shock!
Ivan Pavlov was a 19th-century physiologist best-known for his work in conditioned reflexes. In his research, Pavlov discovered that dogs who were conditioned to expect food at the sound of a bell would salivate unconsciously whenever a bell would ring, even if the food was not placed in front of them.
This same conditioning can be witnessed in a nursing mother. According to Kelly Bonyata, an international board-certified lactation consultant (IBCLC), milk let-down is a partially conditioned reflex — and it can be triggered by anything from a crying baby to a beloved TV show.
To train your body to develop this reflex, Kelly instructs: “Use a ‘let-down cue’ just before you nurse (for example, deep breathing or drinking a cup of tea). Your milk then lets down in response to baby nursing. Once you have established a conditioned reflex, you will begin to let-down in response to the let-down cue, without baby needing to nurse (or nurse as long).”
But it seems Kat isn’t the only mom to accidentally condition her let-down reflex!
‘Pavlov is laughing in his grave…’
Thousands of mothers weighed in with comments sharing their own surprising let-down triggers.
“It was the Law and Order SVU theme song for me,” one mom shared.
“Mine was Skyrim LOL,” another user wrote.
“I did the same thing with the show Medium,” commented another parent.
“It was the NCIS theme song for me,” shared another user.
“I read about this woman that turned on her boyfriend’s PS4 to watch Netflix while pumping, and then eventually the PS4 startup sound triggered her mams” one user wrote.
Others commented just to share a chuckle with Kat.
“You conditioned your letdown to a theme song, haha, that is gold,” laughed one user.
“You Pavlov’d yourself, my friend! Congratulations!” another user joked.
“Pavlov is laughing in his grave,” commented another user.
“Haha wait until you’re at Target, or something and that song comes on over the speakers,” joked another user.
Kat’s video, and the thousands of comments that followed, prove just how incredible the human body really is!
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