Power pumping can be an effective way to boost low milk supply. Use power pumping to increase your supply with these power pumping tips and how tos, so you can keep breastfeeding your baby.
Many woman struggle with low milk supply sometime throughout their breastfeeding journey. I know I did. Low milk supply was at the top of my breastfeeding woes. I was constantly worried about my baby getting enough breastmilk and being able to provide adequate nutrition for my newborn.
Breast milk is largely based on a supply and demand basis. The more milk your baby needs, the more breast milk your body will (usually) produce. But within that supply and demand structure, there are so many other variables.
For example, many women have an oversupply of milk (which comes with plenty of its own challenges), while other new moms struggle with low milk supply and worry that their baby isn’t getting enough milk.
Enter power pumping, an effective way to boost your milk supply so you can keep breastfeeding your baby.
Low milk supply is a common reason why women quit breastfeeding. If you are struggling with producing enough milk and want to continue to breastfeed, then try these power pumping techniques to catapult your milk supply.
This post is written by Andrea Tran RN, BSN, MA, IBCLC from Breastfeeding Confidential. Andrea is a lactation consultant and has more than 25 years of experience helping new moms feed their babies.
If you are a breastfeeding mama hoping to increase your milk supply, then power pumping might be the trick you need.
Power pumping is a great way to naturally increase your milk supply. And all you need to power pump is a pump and some time.
What is Power Pumping?
Power pumping is a strategy used for a breastfeeding mom to increase her milk supply. With power pumping, you pump breast milk frequently for a certain period of time. Power pumping has the same effect on milk production as when a baby cluster feeds.
Most women will make breast milk on a supply and demand basis. This is what power pumping is based on. Pumping sends a signal to the brain to make more milk. Increased breast stimulation will result in increased milk production.
Breast stimulation results in a surge of the hormone prolactin. Prolactin is the hormone that tells your breasts to make milk. The surge in prolactin occurs when a baby suckles at the breast or when a mom uses a breast pump.
Why Power Pump?
There are many different reasons a mom would want to try to increase her milk supply through power pumping. Some of the reasons for power pumping include:
- Delay of breast milk coming in
- Low milk supply
- Milk supply has dropped due to an illness:
- Mastitis can often cause a decrease in milk supply
- When mom gets sick her supply might drop
- When baby gets sick they may feed less frequently or less effectively causing supply to drop
- Baby has a growth spurt
- Baby starts sleeping for longer stretches at night and mom’s supply drops
The good news is that power pumping can be an extremely effective way for breastfeeding mom’s to increase their milk supply.
Does Power Pumping Increase Milk Supply?
Power pumping can result in an increased milk supply for most women. Higher levels of prolactin usually result in more milk being produced.
It is important to remember that milk production is based on several factors. There will be some women who will not see any effect on their milk supply from power pumping. Some women have very low levels of prolactin and may not respond to the increased stimulation. Some women do not have enough glandular tissue in their breasts to make adequate amounts of milk.
How to Power Pump
There are three different ways a mom can power pump.
1. Power-hour pumping: Pump for ten minutes, rest for ten minutes. Repeat this cycle three times.
Here’s an example of what that might look like:
8:00–8:10 am Pump
8:10–8:20 am Rest
8:20–8:30 am Pump
8:30–8:40: am Rest
8:40–8:50 am Pump
8:50–9:00 am Rest
2. Quick and Short Pumping: Watch a TV show and pump during the commercials. I like this one because you don’t have to watch the clock. (Plus it gives you an excuse to catch up on your favorite shows!)
3. Intervals: Pump for fifteen minutes once an hour for three or four consecutive hours. This method is not as common but it can still produce good power pumping results.
Best Times to Power Pump
A mama who is exclusively pumping can power pump whenever she has the time.
A mom who is breastfeeding will want to make sure that she does not cut into her baby’s next meal. It will be best to time the power pumping sessions right after a feeding.
Power pumping at night can be especially effective because prolactin levels are normally higher in the middle of the night.
You can mix it up and use all three power pumping methods at different times. Or, use the one that you find most effective.
How Long Does It Take for Power Pumping to Work?
It usually takes 24 to 48 hours for a woman’s body to respond to the message to make more milk.
Consistency will make a difference in power pumping results. The mom who does it every day will see better results than the mom who only power pumps randomly.
How often power pumping is performed during a 24-hour period will also have an impact on her body’s response. A mom who power pumps once a day will not see as much of a difference as the mama who does it three times a day.
Power Pumping Hacks
Let’s be real, moms are busy people! It can be hard to sit down for an hour once a day, let alone several times a day. Working moms often find it challenging to get in the minimum number of pumpings that they need. Follow these hacks to make it easier to squeeze in more power pumping sessions.
- Use a hands-free pump like the Willow or Freemie to allow you to pump while you do something else. This can be really helpful for the working mom or the mom who is constantly on the go.
- Have more than one pumping kit. This increases the chance that you will have clean pump parts if you unexpectedly have the opportunity to pump more than once in a day.
- Be flexible. You do not have to use an electric or battery-powered pump for this to be effective. Power pumping with a manual pump will also tell your body to make more milk.
Get more pumping tips here and always reach out to your lactation consultant if you are worried about your milk supply. Good luck power pumping mama!
Andrea Tran is an RN and lactation consultant (IBCLC) who has been helping moms and babies breastfeed for over 25 years. She writes about all things breastfeeding at Breastfeeding Confidential and has an affordable ebook to help moms breastfeed through the first year!