So many moms are desperate for anything that can make their lives a little easier. So, when mother of two Ashley Newton discovered a way to shave a few minutes off the time it takes her to pump — and reduce spills along the way — she decided to share her hack on TikTok.
Newton, who lives in Texas with her 3-year-old and 1-year-old, posted a video showing her lining a bottle with a breast milk storage bag. Then, she screws on the pump flange and pumps milk directly into the bag. The result? Fewer bottles to wash and less chance of spilling that liquid gold.
Newton captioned the video “Work smarter not harder mamas.” She was happy to share her trick, but she was blown away when the video garnered more than 1.6 million views.
“It’s a struggle — pumping, nursing and keeping up your supply,” Newton told Good Morning America. “I said, ‘Let me share this. There’s got to be someone who can benefit from this little tip.’”
Newton admitted that she probably wasn’t the first person to think of this, but she was glad that other moms could benefit from the hack. Newton, who is on social media @unlicensedtomom, wants to show the reality of new motherhood, in a way that’s decidedly not Instagram-perfect.
“My goal is to normalize the ugly and messy parts of parenting,” she said. “Pretty feeds are great … but they’re not always real. Comparing can tear you down. It’s been really rewarding in that way.”
Newton talks about the mental health impacts of new motherhood, encouraging her viewers to “check in on your mom friends.” She also speaks about the challenges of raising her three-year-old, who is autistic.
“She is more than a spectrum,” Newton wrote in a recent post. “Raising a child of autism has been nothing short of overwhelming, but it is also a gift. I am so blessed to get a glance into the beautiful mind of my daughter, and I can only imagine how beautiful the world is through her lens.”
Some people online did point out that touching a bag with your fingers can make it so that the breast milk storage isn’t sterile. Newton said that she gets around that by washing her hands before setting up her pumping station — after all, washing hands is much easier than washing bottles, and something you should be doing before you pump anyway.
Throughout her challenges, from pumping to raising a pandemic baby, Newton is focused on keeping it real, and helping her audience do the same.
“You get to choose,” she wrote in a recent post. “You’ve always had that power. You can and will get through it. Even if you’re smiling through the tears and laughing through the pain. Reach out to a loved one. A friend. If you feel you have no one, please reach out to me. Let it out, and let’s move forward. You got this.”
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