If you’re a breastfeeding mom struggling with your milk supply, then you might want to look into power pumping as one of the many ways and methods you can consider. But what is power pumping? How do you do it? What do you need? Why do other moms do it? And can it actually help increase your milk supply? Today, we’ve put together some basic info on power pumping that might just prove useful to anyone who’s wanted to try it. So keep scrolling because we’re answering all of your basic Power Pumping 101 questions!
Power pumping (also known as cluster pumping) is basically the scheduling of frequent, back-to-back pumping sessions designed to stimulate the body to create more milk. Essentially, power pumping tries to mimic a child who is cluster feeding. Babies who cluster feed will usually feed more often and for longer periods of time. The objective of power pumping is to empty your breasts by rapidly pumping in set on-off schedules to trick your body into thinking that it needs to produce more milk.
Helen Anderson, a Chief Lactation Officer says, “If you want to boost your milk supply fast, power pumping can help by creating an artificial high demand for breast milk. By increasing the number of times you pump, you give your body the message to increase milk production. This happens naturally every time your baby goes through a growth spurt when frequent feedings signal your body to increase production.”
There are many variations to the scheduled on-off pumping sessions you can do, but the most popular one is the 20-10-10 method. Generally, this method works like this:
For power pumping to work, you should be able to carve out at least one hour everyday to dedicate solely to pumping. Power pumping once a day should suffice, as power pumping twice might be too stressful and hard on your body. Some research shows that breast milk volume is highest in the morning and slowly dwindles at night. While it would be best to power pump in the morning, if your schedule doesn’t permit it, that’s okay too. Keep in mind that power pumping should NOT take the place of the feeding sessions with your baby. It is not a replacement for your feeding sessions, but rather something else you can do to enhance your milk supply within your already established routine.
For power pumping purposes, a double electric breast pump is the most ideal. Single pumps are fine too, but keep in mind, that if you do choose to use a single breast bump, you will be removing the rest period because you’ll be switching between breasts to pump. If you use a single pump, this is what your power pumping schedule will look like:
However, before you get started on power pumping, make sure that your pump and all its parts are in good working condition. A lot of moms experience difficulty pumping, thinking that there’s something wrong with their milk supply, when in fact, it’s actually the breast pump that is getting worn out. Breastfeeding advocate, Genevieve Howland, says, “If your pump is older than a year, consider replacing it. Also consider replacing pump parts—the valves, membranes, and tubing—which should be replaced every 3-6 months. It may seem like a hassle, but it’s a cheap and easy fix that may mean the difference between 1 ounce and 2 ounces (totally worth it!).”
While most if not all breastfeeding moms power pump with the idea to increase their milk supply, it really does depend on each individual. Some moms see results as early as the next 48 hours, while other moms have to keep power pumping for several weeks before they see results. Whatever the case, before you start power pumping make sure that lack of breast milk supply is indeed a problem before you power pump. It’s always safest to consult a professional before committing to power pumping, as the opposite thing could happen and you could end up with an oversupply of breast milk instead.
- Boyata, Kelly. “I’m Not Pumping Enough Milk. What Can I Do?” Kelly Mom. Last updated January 15, 2018.
- Breastfeeding Problems. “Power Pumping.” Breastfeeding Problems. Date accessed October 6, 2018.
- Howland, Genevieve. “Can Power Pumping Save Your Milk Supply? Find Out Now.” Mama Natural. Last updated September 25, 2018.
- Mira, Karen. “Power Pumping: An Alternative Way to Increase Milk Supply.” The Asian Parent Singapore. Date accessed October 6, 2018.
- Pelly, Julia. “What is Power Pumping?” Everyday Family. Date accessed October 6, 2018.