Do you have a hard time producing enough milk for your baby? If so, you’re not alone. Many new mothers struggle with low milk supply and don’t know how to increase it. There are many things that can lead to a low breast milk supply- from breastfeeding too infrequently or pumping less than needed. If your supply is low or inconsistent, it might be time to power pump! Read on to learn more about this easy and effective method of increasing breastmilk production.
Can power pumping increase your milk supply?
Some women can increase milk production by power pumping. The idea is to pump more frequently for a time at a certain time of day so that your body will automatically respond to the added demands at work. Power pumping sessions are recommended only by a woman who need to produce more milk if you have a drop or your baby is going through a growth spurt.
Low supply can happen when one returns to work and many women stop breastfeeding as often. Certain foods like fenugreek or oatmeal or flaxseed can increase milk supply very quickly. It can differ from body to body how long you need to do these pumping sessions. Some mothers can have great results with single 1-hour sessions after a few days, other mothers may need to pump for 1 hour at a time twice a day for up to a week.
What is power pumping?
If a nursing baby cluster feeds he is breastfeeding often, and continues nursing, trying to get more milk. Power pumping attempts to replicate cluster feeding with a breast pump.
It is also common when there is a growing period of babies needing more milk. The more milk your body thinks your baby needs the more it will up milk production and cause you to boost your breast milk supply.
A baby who stays on the breast signals the body that there’s greater demand this often results in increased milk supply at the same time.
Increasing the efficiency of your breast pump
One power pumping session a day can really make the difference if you have a good quality pump. A double electric breast pump can be much more efficient than a single breast pump so you can pump both sides at one time.
A note about power pumping
Milk consumption tends to decrease when the baby starts to sleep for longer stretches during the night or starts consuming solids. Other factors such as menstruation changes in a woman can change your supply.
Remember, your milk supply can vary from day to day and throughout the day. Women notice less milk even when babies want to cluster feed.
It is normal to have less milk in the evening and cluster feeding allows your baby to stock up on more milk for the first stretch of sleep at night.
Why do women power pump?
Mamas usually resort to power pumping when their supply drops dramatically or they want to build a freezer stash before they return to work.
To increase your supply in any given time you are recommended to nurse on-demand with your baby. There are some factors that may make nursing on demand even unsuitable. For some women, the pump is the one thing that provides total control over when and how long to nurse. That said it should be noted that power pumping is not for everyone.
Women that do not need an increasing supply should avoid power pumping. Doing that could lead to an oversupply. They should instead stick to their regular pumping routine.
How does power pumping work?
You are causing a higher demand in breast milk production by pumping for at least an hour every day to up the milk output.
You should expect to see extra milk in about four to seven days. If not, continue power pumping until you do or for up to two weeks.
If the first round of power pumping does not produce results then some women choose to try it again after seeing a lactation consultant. You can also try adding foods like oatmeal lactation cookies to your diet to help boost your supply.
How do I know if power pumping is working?
You will notice when you get 1-2 extra ounces a day. The best possible method of measuring is logging every session. Once you’re happy with how much milk you begin producing, start to lengthen the duration of each nursing session. If you are exclusively pumping, lengthen the time with fewer sessions.
So if you are doing two sessions, make it one with a longer amount of time. The most effective way is to pump slightly longer in each session and to perform breast compression during each session.
What kind of breast pump do you need?
A double electric pump will be the most efficient. Have your pump parts inspected and replace any parts if needed. It’s possible to run a pump with one breast pump while you nurse on the other side though it doesn’t have as much efficiency.
Test the Medela In Style Advanced Breast Pump or the Lansinoh Smart pump. Spectra S1 and S2 are also great options.
When to power pump
Pumping sessions should be at least an hour. You can break it up into smaller sections of 15 minutes if you need a shorter session time.
You will want to do this in your downtime or when the baby is sleeping so that the extra milk production does not disturb them too much. It’s best to power pump in the evening when your baby is asleep.
You can do this once or twice a day for an entire hour. However much of an increase that you need or whatever works best for your schedule.
Power pumping schedule
- You will want to pump for a full 20 minutes like a regular pumping session or until you remove milk from your breast and there is no longer a letdown.
- Then you will have a rest period of 10 minutes.
- Pump for another 10 minutes.
- Rest for another 10 minutes.
- Pump one last time for another 10 minutes.
These times don’t have to be exact but try to keep this as a guideline.
If you are not double pumping but only using one side at a time, do this for each side.
How often should I be power pumping?
This is usually needed once each day for one hour. If you are feeling irritation from the extra pumping, try using nipple cream or coconut oil after you are finished to soothe the affected area.
You must remember to take care of yourself and avoid burning out. Stress can also negatively affect the amount of liquid gold you produce and your mental health is more important than making milk.
What are typical power pumping results?
It takes a few days for your body to adjust to the demand but you should see an ounce or more. The results will vary from person to person.
How can I make power pumping easier?
- Try to do something fun while you pump. Choose this time for relaxing and or concentrating on something for you.
- A pump station is necessary if you do not already have one. This is an area where all your supplies that are needed are within arms reach.
- Do not attempt taking care of babies and giving your power pump at the same time.
- Using a hands free bra is important – no one wants to hold the flange on their breast or breasts for one hour.
Why do others need to power pump?
If you have to drop a feeding or pumping session for work commitments you could need to power pump at a different time of the day.
Can I power pump with a manual pump?
To use a manual pump you could pump each side for twelve minutes and then switch back and forth for 8 minutes. Instead of taking the 10-minute rest when you pump both sides, each side is getting rest when you are pumping one side. If your hand gets tired you may also have a few minutes of rest in between.
How often should I power pump?
It should be once a day! If you want to do double and you can handle it, it’s okay. Do not pump yourself so many times and your life seems miserable and exhausting. At the end of the day, it’s all about quality time with your baby.
Power pumping is a tactic that many breastfeeding mothers use to help increase their milk. It can be done once or twice daily for an hour each session and should produce an ounce or more per power pump cycle.
How to make pumping more comfortable
Tell me the best way that people can manage their pumping time in one sitting? There are several things you can do to make it easier.
You can listen to music, watch TV or something else. Try not to do anything too physically exhausting because this will tire you out even more so than usual.
If your hand gets tired with a manual pump use only one side at a time. Then switch back to the other side.
If you are feeling too tired don’t be afraid to take a break during your pumping time! Just remember that it is important to keep up with this schedule so try not to skip any sessions.
Power pumping is a great way to increase milk production for breastfeeding mothers. It may be necessary if you want to maintain your supply and don’t have time to pump during the day or after your baby’s bedtime. The best times for power pumping are in the morning when the baby goes down for a nap and at night after they go to sleep.
Power pumping can also help boost your milk production when you need it most such as while on vacation with limited access to breastfeeding. If these tips sound like something that would work for you or someone in your life please share!