What Is Power Pumping And Does It Increase Breast Milk Supply?

power pumping tips

You probably have heard about power pumping by now. Does it increase milk supply? How long does it take to increase supply?

Well, I’m here to give you all the fine details you need to know about power pumping to make it a success for you mommy!

If you have been following my blog, you probably know I had a tough time breastfeeding both of my boys. In addition, I also had to deal with low breast milk supply, until my sister told me about power pumping to increase milk supply. Boy! Wasn’t I glad?

If you are struggling with a sudden drop in breastmilk, you’ve come to the right place. Let me take through the basics of power pumping. Follow along…

What is Power Pumping?

The reason most moms will want to power pump is when they are concerned about low milk supply or a decreased milk supply.

Therefore, it’s normal for every mom to keep wondering whether the breastmilk they are producing is enough for their babies. I too had the same concerns.

When you pump out milk, you are able to see how much you are producing and this helps you assess whether it’s enough for your baby.

The concept behind power pumping can be related to cluster feeding a baby. During cluster feeding in babies, a mom will notice there are irregular, frequent feedings.

This is a sign that the baby is going through a growth spurt. During this period, the infant usually feeds often and for extended periods.

Power pumping works by cheating the body to produce more milk by copying cluster feeding. As you pump milk, the milk making hormone, prolactin is released. This helps in stimulating the nerve endings in your breast to produce more milk.

When a mom experiences a sudden dip in breast milk production, then power pumping may help one catch up.

power pumping tips

 

Why Power Pump?

  • You can do it anywhere, any time
  • No need for any supplements or medications
  • It helps you increase milk supply. This means that your baby will get enough breast milk when they want it.
  • Some babies do not latch well and expressing milk works better.

Power Pumping Essentials For Maximum Comfort

Before you begin your power pumping sessions, make sure you get everything right for maximum comfort and eventual success.

A good and strong double pump

A double pump will give better results during your power pumping sessions. However, this doesn’t mean a single pump doesn’t do the job right. It does, although it may feel like a struggle when you are starting out.
Spectra Baby USA - S2 Plus Premier Electric Breast Pump

Ensure the breast pump you are using is hospital grade and that all the parts are working properly. Where necessary, replace old parts. The flanges must be of the right size for your breasts.  The perfect size flange should:

  • Allow the nipple to freely move in the flange as you pump
  • Only a tiny part of the aerola should go into the tunnel
  • You should be able to completely drain the breasts. There shouldn’t be areas that are hard as this may indicate uneven milk removal which may cause clogged milk ducts or mastitis.
  • The nipple should not be painful after pumping
  • The nipple shouldn’t touch either sides
  • You should be comfortable as you pump.

I recommend the Spectra Baby USA – S2 Plus Premier Electric Breast Pump. Check out  our comparison of the spectra s1 vs s2. 

Hands free bra

Power pumping is time consuming. You want to use your hands to do something while you pump such as reading a book or binge-watching Netflix.
PumpEase Hands-Free Pumping Bra
Get this comfortable and adjustable PumpEase Hands-Free Pumping Bra. It works with all breast pump brands. This are practical for a nursing mom.

A nursey glider/rocker

Windsor Glider and ottoman

Sitting down for a few minutes hurts like crazy after you have been through a vaginal birth.

Honestly, it felt like a punishment for me to sit for the first few weeks. And my sofas where not helping me either!

I decided to get this comfortable nursery glider. And all I can say is that it was worth the investment.

Power pumping for an hour is no little feat. You need to be as comfortable as you possibly can.

 

 

 

Water, Water and more Water

When breastfeeding, coffee and sports drinks will not do you any good. Water should be your best bet. When you are well hydrated, your milk supply will be steady and enough for your little one.

 BodyArmor sports drink to boost milk supply

The only sport drink I would recommend for a breastfeeding mom is the Body Armor sports drink.  A lot of moms in my circle and in forums swear by it.

Just don’t drink too many of them in a day. One should be enough to avoid ingesting too many calories.

ALSO READ: Body Armor Drink For Breastfeeding: Does It Increase Milk Supply?

Have some nipple cream nearby

Organic Nipple Butter Breastfeeding Cream
Pumping for an hour is no joke! Grab this natural nipple cream to help you prevent sore nipples. You don’t have to wash this off before nursing the baby.

Something to remind you of your baby close-by 

Oh yes! Scrolling through your phone checking through your baby’s pictures or videos does a great job on your body. It triggers the production of oxytocin which helps with let-down.

When Is the Best Time to Power Pump?

What is the best time to power pump?

 

A lot of moms will wonder about the best time to start power pumping especially when they are still struggling with the basics.

First, you need to get one solid hour off your schedule for power pumping. The best time to incorporate that hour is immediately after you’ve breastfed your baby.

This doesn’t have to be a specific time each day. Simply work around your schedule.  If your baby is a good sleeper and can do an hour of sleep, that would be the perfect time.

Otherwise, try to have a relative or your partner help with the little one as you pump. Since you are just starting to power pump, the objective right now is NOT to get lots of milk. That is why I have suggested you start pumping after nursing the baby.

You want your body to signal the production of prolactin-the hormone responsible for making milk. This may take time, that’s why you need one-hour power pumping sessions.

This is one of the reasons I propose pumping AFTER the baby has nursed enough and not BEFORE.

Power Pumping Schedule

A power pumping schedule

Still wondering how to increase milk supply with power pumping? Here is how to cluster pump effectively for nursing moms to increase milk supply.

You can power pump from anywhere as long as you feel comfortable and there is privacy…So, working moms, you can DO THIS!

For a mom using a double pump

Here is how it works:

  • Pump for 20 minutes
  • Rest for 10 minutes
  • Pump for 10 Minutes
  • Rest for 10 minutes
  • Pump for 10 minutes

An alternative power pumping schedule

  • PUMP – 12 minutes
  • REST – 8 minutes
  • PUMP – 12 minutes
  • REST – 8 minutes
  • PUMP – 12 minutes
  • REST – 8 minutes

For a mom using a single pump

  • PUMP – 10 minutes – Right Breast
  • PUMP- 10 minutes – Left Breast
  • PUMP – 10 minutes – Right Breast
  • PUMP – 10 minutes – Left Breast
  • PUMP – 10 minutes – Right Breast
  • PUMP – 10 minutes – Left Breast

With a single breast pump, you realize there is no rest time. As mentioned earlier, a double breast pump makes the work a lot easier, but you can still use a single breast pump if that’s all you have.

How Long Does It Take To Increase Milk Supply with Power Pumping?

how long does it take to increase milk supply?

I’d say don’t be too hard on yourself! I pumped droplets on my first day of power pumping. I almost gave up because I had all this theory in my mind that I’d be a milk making machine immediately.

However, I started seeing a significant increase in my milk supply after 48 hours. Some moms have found their milk supply increases even on the first day.

While others will need to power pump for a week to start recording an increase in their breast milk supply.

I love numbers. They help me gauge whether what I am doing is successful. I would suggest you record the amount of breastmilk you express on your first day of power pumping and track the record for as long as you can.

This will help you establish whether it is working for you or not.

Tips To Help Increase Your Supply When Power Pumping

Start to power pump immediately after a nursing session. This will help you stimulate your milk supply more.

Even after you feel that you have completely emptied your breast, pump for another 3 minutes.

Before you start power pumping, apply a warm compress while gently massaging my boobs. A gentle massage on your breast’s aids with milk flow.

PS: I’ll let you on a little secret about breast massage. Although hand massage on the boobs is effective, it left me tired. I stumbled on this tiny boob massager and I swear it does its job perfectly. Totally worth it!
boob massager
Breast massage has so many benefits on your boobs such as clearing clogged milk ducts to relieve swollen and painful breasts.

You will of course get tired, therefore, ensure you have someone that is supportive.

Apart from exhaustion, you will also be so hungry! I recommend sipping on a lactation smoothie. A lactation smoothie is perfect as it contains galactagogues that aid in increasing milk production.

What more? This recipe is packed with healthy ingredients, so no extra calories. Your energy levels stay up and you increase your milk supply. It’s a win-win situation.

Make sure to rest in between your pumping sessions. It can be more than an hour because power pumping starts immediately after a nursing session.

If you realize your baby is not adding weight, consult your lactation consultant for more help on how to increase your milk supply.

Other Ways To Increase Your Milk Supply

Here are some more tricks to help you get more milk during your cluster pumping sessions and even beyond.

Eat Lactogenic Foods

Lactogenic diet

Lactogenic foods contain galactagogues a component that helps to increase breast milk. Adding such foods in your diet will give your milk supply a boost. Here are some foods that contain great lactogenic properties.

Green leafy vegetables

Foods such as spinach, broccoli, collard greens, stinging nettle, beet leaves and kale contain galactagogues that support lactation.

Furthermore, they are full of minerals and vitamins that are good for mom and baby as well.

Nuts

Almonds and cashew nuts are great for increasing milk supply. For optimal results, eat them raw.

Sesame seeds

These are packed with calcium and can be eaten whole as snacks or sprinkled in salads. If you love the outdoors, use sesame seeds in your trail mix.

Brown rice

Brown rice is a complex carb. Therefore, it will provide you with the much needed energy for breastfeeding as well as boost your milk supply.

Not only that, eating brown rice may increase serotine levels in your brain.

See Also: Lactogenic Foods To Increase Milk Supply

If you are nursing your little one, nurse more often

The more milk your baby suckles, the more it will be produced. The body will naturally increase production to meet the baby’s demand.

Does Power Pumping Work?

When done correctly, power pumping will increase your milk  production by at least 30% more.

Initially, you may get only a few drops and that’s pretty normal. Don’t stress over it. DON’T GIVE UP YET!

Your body will need time to adjust to power pumping. Within 3 days, you should start seeing an increase in the milk produced during your pumping sessions.

Frozen Breastmilk

(This is a picture of my breastmilk)

Your lactation consultant may recommend the use of a breast pump to increase milk supply if there is a dip in your breast milk or if the baby is not gaining weight.

Breast milk production works on the supply and demand principle. If the demand is high, the body will produce more milk to meet the demand.

When you power pump frequently, the result will be more breast milk. However, some moms will not see any increase in their milk production with just random pumping sessions.

If you have tried breast pumping and it’s not working for you, I’d suggest you try power pumping and see the results.

When To Stop Power Pumping

Most moms who do power pumping start with the sole aim of increasing their milk supply. Some want to do it for a given period of time, while others may want to extend the period.

For instance, a mom may be travelling or going back to work and wants to increase their breastmilk stash before they leave.

Power pumping comes in handy as it will help a mom get more breastmilk depending on how her body responds. So, when to stop power pumping is usually a personal choice.

What If Nothing Happens?

Our bodies are different and as moms, what works for me may not work for you. If you have tried power pumping consistently and your breastmilk has not increased, then its time to seek the services of a professional lactation consultant.

They will be able to best advice you on what to do. Sometimes, its something that can easily be solved.

READ ALSOpower pumping tips

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Medela breastmilk bottles with milk

 

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