One thing that often gets recommended to women that are trying to increase their milk supply is power pumping. One advantage of power pumping is that it doesn’t require trying any new supplements or medications, and anyone can do it. Here is everything you need to know to try it out.
What is power pumping? How can power pumping help me increase my milk supply?
Power pumping attempts to mimic cluster feeding, but with a breast pump.
When a nursing baby cluster feeds, he stays at the breast, nursing on and off and trying to get more milk. Often, this happens in the early evenings – both because that’s when babies start to tank up for a longer stretch of sleep and because breastfeeding mothers tend to have lower milk supply at that time. It also happens when babies have a growth spurt, and they need more milk than they normally do.
Because breast milk works as a supply and demand system – meaning that the more milk your body thinks your baby needs, the more it will make – the baby staying at the breast signals the body that there is more demand, which often leads to a higher milk supply.
Power pumping breast milk is just your pump staying at the breast and trying to get more milk, instead of your baby. Fortunately, your pump likely to be less fussy than a hungry baby.
How do I power pump to increase supply?
In order to power pump, you’ll want to sit down and pump on and off at an interval for about an hour. You can choose the interval that works for you – you can do 10 minutes pumping and 10 minutes resting, 12 minutes on and 8 off, 15 and 5, etc. The amount of time doesn’t have to be exact – cluster feeding babies don’t nurse for exactly 15 minutes, take a 5 minute break, etc. You just want to spend at least half the time pumping and some time resting.
That’s pretty much all you have to do!
One power pumping session replaces one of your pumping sessions from your normal schedule, so you can just pump at your usual time, but for longer than you normally would and at intervals.
How many times should I power pump breast milk in a day?
Once is great. If you want to do twice and you can manage it, that’s fine, but make sure that you don’t pump so much that you get burned out and miserable. You are worth more to your baby than a few extra ounces of breast milk.
How can I make power pumping easier?
Do something that you enjoy while you power pump! Pick a time when you can sit and relax a little bit (just, you know … with your breast pump). Watch a show you love, read a book, spend time looking at cat gifs, whatever makes you happy.
Make sure that you have a pumping station set up with everything you need, since you’ll be there awhile. Also, a hands-free bra is key – no one wants to spend an hour holding flanges up to their breasts.
If possible, don’t try to take care of a baby and power pump at the same time. I would try to save power pumping for when your baby is sleeping or you have help.
I’m not getting any more milk when I power pump than I do at my normal pumping sessions. What’s going on?
It takes a few days for your body’s supply to respond to the increased demand from your breast pump. Try to power pump for four days in a row (up to a week) before you decide it’s not working.
Good luck! If you’ve tried power pumping, please feel free to share your experience in the comments!References
- Madden, Kate, IBCLC. “Empty Evening Boobs.” https://balancedbreastfeeding.com/empty-evening-boobs/
- Mlynek, Alex. “How to survive your newborn’s cluster feeding.” https://www.todaysparent.com/baby/breastfeeding/how-to-survive-your-newborns-cluster-feeding/