Many breastfeeding and pumping women worry about their milk supply. You may run into a reason or need to increase your supply quickly. This can be done with power pumping to increase milk supply. Power pumping is basically taking one hour or two per day to spend pumping on and off. You will not do this instead of your regular pumping or nursing routine but in addition to it.
Power pumping simulates the experience we have when our baby goes through a growth spurt and cluster feeds. Emptying the breasts more frequently tells them to make more milk. When baby is having a growth spurt this naturally occurs and power pumping can have the same effect.
Reasons you may want to power pump
If you are exclusively pumping and you feel you are not pumping enough milk, power pumping may help to quickly increase your milk supply.
If you are breastfeeding and you feel the need to increase your milk supply. Maybe you think your baby needs more milk or maybe you would like to build up a stash.
If you are getting ready to go back to work it might be a good idea to have extra milk on hand for your child care. Breastfeeding will always do a better job of extracting milk than a pump so do not substitute normal breastfeeding sessions with the pump. It should be done in addition to breastfeeding if needed.
Even if you are doing a combination of pumping and breastfeeding but you still think you need to increase your supply. Basically any time you feel your milk supply is low or would like it to increase, power pumping can help to increase it more quickly than regular pumping alone.
There seems to be a few recommendations on the best way to go about this but the basic idea is to pump for ten minutes and then rest for ten minutes, repeatedly, for an hour or more. You will want to do this for a few days at least.
An example is to pick a time of day when you have an uninterrupted hour.
Try to relax and get comfortable. Keep your fluids up. Spend the first 15-20 minutes pumping, then take a ten minute break. Then pump for another ten minutes. Then take another ten minute break. Pump again for ten minutes. You will want to repeat this cycle for 60 minutes.
Once a day should be enough for a few days. You may not see much milk during the actual power pumping session but that's okay, it's all about the supply and demand and this is stimulating your breasts to make more milk.
Keep pumping and nursing your baby as frequently as you normally do the rest of the time.
A few tips to help
Make sure you use a double electric pump or rent a hospital grade pump. There is no way you want to try and power pump for an hour with a manual pump 🙂
If you have access to or can buy a hands free pumping bra it will really help. Holding up the breast flanges and collection cups for an hour can be tiresome.
Set yourself up with some distractions. Your phone, TV or a book will help pass the time. Try to find a way to monitor the 10 minutes easily. I just use the alarm or stopwatch app on my phone.
A comfortable pillow can help. If you already have a boppy set it around you and prop your pump on it. Sit back and relax for the next hour.
Power pumping is an easy way to increase your milk supply quickly. Take one hour a day to set aside for pumping and help your supply increase. Keep up your normal breastfeeding and pumping schedule as well the rest of the time.
Please let me know if you have any questions about power pumping!