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Power Pumping to Increase Milk Supply

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.

powerpumping

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 🙂 ameda hospital 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.

Conclusion

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!

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Holly

Friday 17th of September 2021

I have a single pump. I’m going to try power pumping. It says take an hour to power pump. How long should I pump on one breast then switch to the other?

Jen Brenan

Monday 20th of September 2021

Hi Holly,

Since you want to do one breast at a time, you could try alternating between breasts for the hour, instead of pausing just move to the other breast. Or maybe try 30 minutes per side. I am guessing you don't want to spend two hours power pumping so you can modify as needed. When it comes to pumping and breastfeeding it is all about supply and demand so give an hour total a try total and if it does not feel like enough, add more. Hope that makes sense and good luck!

Sophie

Monday 13th of April 2020

Hi Jen, great article! I've had my little boy 2 weeks ago and from the beginning it was just a nightmare, I didn't have colostrum, my nipples are very small and flat and I have to use nipple shields (which I hate but at least he can latch on to them) and my milk never really "came in", just a few drops here and there, I have slightly tubular breasts and very little breast tissue, so my concern is that I can't produce enough milk, no matter what I do...

Just finished my first power pumping session a few minutes ago, aditionally I'm taking fenugreek, eating lots of oatmeal, nuts/seeds and drinking lots of water. Still, he needs about 60-80ml of formula every meal to be full (not talking about calm and satisfied, but not looking to nurse any longer). Can I power pump twice a day or is that too much? Sophie

Jen Brenan

Monday 13th of April 2020

Hi Sophie,

Sorry it has been so rough. I had trouble with my first baby and getting my milk to come in too. At the time I was also using a nipple shield and pumping after every feeding to try and bring my milk up. Eventually it did work for me. As far as power pumping, you can do it twice a day but I have seen recommendations that say not to if it will cause you to get burned out or tired from pumping so much. You need to do what works for you. If you are up for it though it should not hurt. Good luck!

Sarah K

Monday 5th of November 2018

If I pump normally every 3 hours and want to power pump, do I just replace a session? That is what I have been doing and I do it a few times a day here and there. It doesn't seem to helping increase my milk. Am I doing it wrong? I need extra milk for while I'm at work and I exclusively pump as my daughter doesn't get enough when nursing. She is very stubborn and won't take a bottle to finish off and now doesn't want to even nurse. I really need to have a stock incase of emergency. What do I do?

jenbrenan

Monday 5th of November 2018

Hi, Typically breastfeeding will always give your baby more milk than pumping will produce. You say she doesn't get enough while nursing but how do you know this? The only way to tell that your baby is not getting enough is if she is not gaining weight or having enough wet and poopy diapers. If you do want to exclusively pump long term it will take more work and effort than doing it in combination with nursing. I would continue to try and breastfeed too if you can. As far as building a stash you can either replace a pumping session to power pump or add another one in. Usually morning will produce the most milk for pumping. You can try power pumping for an hour with 20 min of pumping, then 10 min rest, 10 min pump, 10 min rest and continue that for the whole time frame. The more you pump and breastfeed the more milk you will produce. It is all about supply and demand. So even if it doesn't seem to be working right away it will over time. Good luck!!

Nadhirah

Tuesday 18th of October 2016

Hi,

The 60 mins power pump is for both breasts if you are double pumping. How about single pump? Do we need 60 mins for each breast, or alternate breast during the 60 mins?

Jen

Tuesday 18th of October 2016

You could definitely try just alternating breasts during the 60 minutes and that may be enough. The 60 minutes is just a guideline but you can do whatever you need to stimulate your supply. Also, check out more ways to do it here from my friend/blogger Rina, Good luck!

rina

Thursday 29th of September 2016

Hi Jen, you have a great info about power pumping here. I recently found that power pumping does not necessarily pump 10-rest 10-pump 10-rest 10, pump 10-rest 10 mins in an hour. I was surprised at first, but after digging more info, actually power pumping (or some people call it as 'cluster pumping) can be scheduled around your daily routine, which is great for busy moms like us. I wrote more about this in my recent power pumping article (link on my name above). Feel free to check it out and I hope this will help your readers, too.

Jen

Thursday 29th of September 2016

Hi Rina, Thanks so much for this info. I will definitely check it out and encourage my readers too also! Hope you are doing well.