Did you know there is a more natural way to boost your milk supply without taking supplements? Power pumping increases your supply by simulating the cluster feeding that a baby does during a growth spurt. The increased stimulation and removal of milk from the breasts in short bursts over an hour helps trick your body into thinking that the baby has grown and to produce more.
Power pumping can help increase your supply when it dips or if you need to build a freezer stash. Some moms power pump when their supply drops a bit during ovulation or menstruation. Other times, power pumping can help maintain supply: when baby starts sleeping through the night, has a growth spurt, or starts eating solids.
It is critical, however, to remember that the amount of milk removed during pumping is not indicative of the actual amount of milk you are producing. Many moms have an abundant milk supply that allows their baby to gain weight and thrive, yet can’t pump any milk out. Thriving and weight gain is the main measure of an adequate milk supply. Other things that don’t indicate the level of milk production are breast heaviness/fullness/softness, evening fussiness and cluster feeding, and not feeling a letdown. Not all pumps work equally for all breasts and your pumping technique can greatly influence the amount pumped out. Another thing to remember is that milk volumes rise and fall naturally over time, even from day to day. A warning that excessive pumping can lead to complications like engorgement. Power pumping should be done very conservatively. Always consult a qualified healthcare professional before making changes to your breastfeeding routine.
Before power pumping, find a comfortable place to sit where you can have all your pumping equipment and a water bottle. Make sure you’re using a pump flange that fits your breast type correctly and has adequate suction. Choose a good time, like when your baby is napping or after bedtime. You can take a warm shower or use a warm compress on your breasts. Massage your breasts in a circular motion, starting under the arm pit and work your way towards the areola. Make sure the pump is applied to the breast snugly enough to suction, but not too firmly that you’re cutting off the flow of the milk. After starting the pump, set a timer for 20 minutes and massage your breasts in a circular motion towards the areola. This is called active pumping. When the timer stops, rest for 10 minutes. Pump for 10 minutes while massaging and rest for 10 more minutes. Pump and massage for a final 10 minutes. After you stop pumping, do not analyze or criticize the amount of milk you’ve collected. The point of power pumping is breast stimulation and increase your milk supply, not pump a large amount of milk.
Power pumping can be done once or twice a day for two or three days until your milk supply increases. Consult your local Mama Coach to determine the right amount for you.