Power pumping is an efficient technique to boost your breast milk supply. It enhances milk production, specifically in nursing mothers. Power pumping works by quickly taking accumulated milk off the breast, thus inspiring the organs to start producing again. Some mothers will empty their breast milk into an insulated cooler or allow their babies to suck them up.
While power pumping has numerous advantages, some questions arise as to whether it can produce more milk and the best time to power pump. So, can power pumping help you increase your breast milk supply? Keep reading to find out!
What is Power Pumping?
Power pumping is like tricking your body into producing more milk rapidly while constantly creating room for reproduction. The process looks like cluster feeding, but it’s different. Here is how it works: your brain receives a message whenever your infant suckles. The brain pings the hormones oxytocin and prolactin to be released.
Prolactin stirs the alveoli to produce milk, while oxytocin triggers the muscles to squeeze the milk out of the alveoli via the milk ducts. The process is repeated automatically when your baby suckles and empties the alveoli.
To power pump, your infant must suckle your breast occasionally to keep the cycle rotating. Most mothers use this technique to fill their babies so they don’t get hungry in uncomfortable places. However, it doesn’t change the normal pumping cycle of a nursing mother.
So, how can it help you increase your milk supply?
Emptying the breast constantly triggers the body to produce more milk speedily, thus increasing your milk supply. For instance, a regular pumping session could produce 54-234 mL of milk. But power pumping can produce up to 300ml.
The process is easy and mostly referred to as cluster pumping. When your baby gets hungry more quickly, you can try power pumping to produce as much quantity as possible to satisfy the baby.
You should find 1hr in the day to breast pump without interruptions. The best time to power-pump is in the morning because women’s breast milk naturally supplies the highest at that moment.
How to power pump and what to keep in mind before you start
Since this technique involves regular suckling, you will likely experience breast engorgement, fungal infections, plugged milk ducts, and mastitis. So, before you try it, keep these in mind:
- Power pumping can drain a lot from you to increase your milk supply. Thus, you must provide yourself with nutritious treats and water as well.
- Your breast could be exposed to mastitis or plugged ducts due to constant suckling. Consider taking a break for up to 2 hours before continuing the process.
- The initial milk production in the alveoli can take three days up to weeks. So, you must be patient with the process.
- Don’t pump for 1 hour non-stop unless you want to damage the hormones. You can split the process by minutes.
With these in mind, here’s how to power pump for an effective milk supply increment:
- Find a secluded environment for your privacy.
- Attach the device as instructed by the manual (whether manual or automatic).
- Don’t pump non-stop for 1 hour. Instead, do it at an interval you’d prefer.
- You can breast pump for 25 minutes, take a break, start another session for like 15 minutes, and rest. You can perform the last pump for 5mins.
- Also, rest for at least 10 minutes after one power pumping session.
After this, you can continue with your regular nursing routine. Start another power pumping session after some hours (best in the evening) if necessary. But to be on the safe side, power pumping once a day is better to avoid any discomforts or ailments.
Your result for increased milk supply begins in 3 to 4 days of consistent pumping. But some people start seeing results in 5 to 7 days. Once the supply is up to your satisfaction, you can stop the pumping session till when needed again.
Is there a best time of day to try power pumping?
The morning is the best time to power pump because the milk supply tends to be higher at this time than in the evening. Nevertheless, you can do it at any time that suits you.
Remember that comfort and a relaxed body can determine the result of this process. So make sure you’re relaxed and comfortable, and pump uninterrupted.
How often and for how long should I power pump?
To avoid discomfort or developing any concerns on your breasts, pump at least 50mins at smaller intervals per session. Depending on your purpose for milk supply, you can do it 2 or 3 times a day. However, don’t pump for 50 minutes or 1 hour non-stop.
Tips for Effective Power Pumping Sessions
Here are some helpful tips for getting effective results from your power-pumping sessions:
Equip with food and water
Drink plenty of water beforehand, and always take some sips throughout the pumping process. Eat a balanced diet. Nutritious meals are precisely what breastfeeding mums need. Eat well before and after the power-pumping session.
Wear breastfeeding-friendly dresses
Wear a hands-free bra. You must relax your body, so the process is successful. Don’t wear too tight bras, which can slow down milk flow. Don’t wear dresses that zip up at the back. You may need to remove it completely to power the pump.
Get a support
Sometimes, being disturbed by your new baby can disrupt the milk supply process. You can get a part-time assistant to look after your kid while you pump. Since the process works with the brain, you don’t need distractions.
Provide hand support
Encourage milk flow with your hands by mildly massaging the breast. You can apply a warm compress for 5-10mins on your breast or take a hot bath before the session.
Check your pump
Make sure your pump flanges fit correctly. You might feel uncomfortable during the power pumping session if your pump is too big or small. Consider swapping it with the right one. Visit any lactation consultant near you if you still don’t feel good.
Don’t be too hard on yourself
Don’t push yourself if you feel tired and can’t pump for one day. Rest and relax, and let your body pump on its normal routine.