When I used to exclusively pump, there were some days I felt as if I wasn’t producing enough milk. Levels of production of milk can depend on your diet, as well as, your hormones. I was always worrying that I wasn’t making enough for my baby and was afraid of “running out” milk. Especially, when I was at work. So occasionally on the weekends when I know I will be home all day, I would “Power Pump”.
“Power pumping” is a technique that can be helpful to increase milk supply. It mimics “cluster feeding”, which is when a baby is constantly on and off the breast, trying to get more milk. It’s not proven to work for all, but through my experience it did. Just like breastfeeding, the more frequent you nurse, your body will tell you to make more milk, therefore, the more frequent you pump it will also tell your body to produce more milk. Basically, just like a “supply and demand” principle. However, the frequency of pumping depends on a mom’s schedule. Some moms pump part-time or full-time, but in order to increase supply it will take dedication and will require moms to work extra hard. According to KellyMom, “No pump can remove milk from the breast as well as an effectively nursing baby, so pumping does not maintain milk supply as well as a nursing baby. Because of this, the greater the percentage of baby’s nourishment provided by pumping (rather than direct breastfeeding), the greater the possibility that mom may have to work harder to maintain supply.”
How to “Power Pump”:
– Setup and hook-up your pump as you would do for a normal pumping session.
-Pump for 10-20 minutes.
-Rest for 10 minutes.
-Pump again for another 10 minutes.
-Rest again for 10 minutes.
-Pump 10 minutes.
-Rest 10 minutes.
-Do this for an hour once per day.
Don’t feel discouraged if you don’t see results right away. The amount of milk can still be low, but the purpose of power pumping is to stimulate your breasts and encourage your body to produce more milk. It can take up to a week to really see results. I had to do this when I was taking antibiotics for when I had mastitis 😦 The antibiotics really lowered my supply, so after work,and when my son was asleep, I would take the hour out of my day to “power pump”. You can also do this on your lunch break too!
This is also a great technique to do if you’re planning to return to work and start a supply of milk in the freezer. Along with power pumping, I was taking fenugreek and drinking plenty of water. To make power pumping less tedious, bring along a magazine or a book to read, or put on a movie to watch. This is a great way to keep you occupied while you’re power pumping! However, I would highly recommend to use this hour of time to meditate and relax. Listen to soothing music, and just focus on your body creating more milk.
Please check out my post on Nursing & Pumping Essentials.
I did not get the opportunity to rent a hospital grade pump, but I did use the Medela Pump In Style Advanced, and it’s a really great pump. I definitely recommend this pump.
For more information about power pumping please talk to your lactation consultant or physician. Have any of you mamas tried power pumping before? If so, what are some tips you can share to other moms?
Pumping at KellyMom
Low Milk Supply at MOBI
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