Hello and welcome to this week's Motherhood Unfiltered blog post! This week we are switching things up and talking about a breastfeeding term that most of you have probably heard, but maybe wondered what the heck it was or if it truly helped. Today we are talking about power pumping, when to power pump, and sharing some tips. I know a lot of Mammas struggle with breastfeeding and pumping and we want you to know we are all in this together! Let's support all the hardworking Mammas out there because we know that no matter what stage of motherhood you are in, it's never easy!
What is Power Pumping?
Power pumping, sometimes called cluster pumping, is used by breastfeeding moms to increase their milk supply. The name comes from the term cluster feeding, because power pumping mimics cluster feeding. Cluster feeding is when a baby wants a lot of short feeds over a few hours. This is normal behavior for babies. They generally do it in the early evening when they are preparing to go a longer stretch without eating or because a women’s milk supply is often the lowest in the early evening. A women’s milk supply works by supply and demand, so the more you empty the breasts, the more the body will produce.
Power pumping is a great way to increase your supply because it doesn’t require you to take supplements or medications. It is only recommended for those who need to increase milk supply, because an oversupply can cause issues as well. Before power pumping, consider reasons why your supply is low or dropping.
- Do you have your menstrual cycle?
- Is your breast pump working correctly?
- Is your baby going through a growth spurt?
It’s always recommended to reach out to your Lactation Specialist to help you troubleshoot and ask for advice.
How Does Power Pumping Work?
To Power Pump, you should replace one of your normal pumping sessions with a “Power Pump” session. Often, it’s best to do this in the morning because that is usually when a woman’s milk supply is the highest. However, choose a time that works best for your schedule because you will need about an hour of time.
An example of a power pumping schedule is:
- Pump for 20 minutes, rest for 10 minutes
- Pump for 10 minutes, rest for 10 minutes
- Pump for 10 minutes
You can experiment and do what works best for you as far as how long you pump and how long you rest, but you should do this for an hour of time. You should also pump until you have a let down, at least for the first time. Continue to pump on your normal schedule throughout the rest of the day, generally following your baby’s eating schedule. Usually, you will see an increase in supply in 2-3 days.
Some tips for power pumping:
- Choose a time of day that works the best for you. Ideally when your baby is sleeping or someone is there to help care for them.
- Use a lactation massager to help increase flow.
- Use a hands free pumping bra. No one has the energy to sit and hold flanges to their breasts for an hour!
- Grab your favorite book or binge watch your favorite TV show.
- Have everything you need close by- your cell phone, a snack, water.