What is Power Pumping, How To Do It, and More in This Informative Guide for Breast Pumping Moms and Moms to Be.
While we still don’t understand all of the secrets of breast milk, we do understand more than ever how healthy and powerful it is for our babies. As a result, more moms are choosing to pump their breast milk rather than supplement with formula. Whether you are pumping to build up a supply, to increase your output, or you’re exclusively pumping, there’s a good chance you are following a schedule. Schedules are built around the production of breast milk and you can creatively modify your pumping schedule to manage your breast milk supply. This is where power pumping comes in.
What is Power Pumping?
Power pumping is a means of simulating cluster feeding for moms who pump. Newborns and growing babies will periodically nurse more frequently to keep up with their growth and development needs, and this type of feeding is referred to as cluster feeding. Because power pumping mimics this style of feeding, it is sometimes referred to as cluster pumping.
When babies feed more frequently it sends a signal to the mother’s body that more breast milk needs to be produced. So power pumping is a method of pumping frequently, over a short period of time, to trick your body into thinking that your baby is feeding more, and therefore needs an increased supply of milk to keep up with baby’s needs.
Who Might Benefit from Power Pumping?
Moms who want to produce more milk to feed their babies can use power pumping as a means of increasing their supply of breast milk. For more reasons and information about decreased milk supply, check out Very Well Family’s Post.
- Sometimes a baby might come early and a mom’s supply is not yet established.
- Other times, moms might experience a drop in their supply due to stress, illness, diet, taking medication, getting your period or hormonal changes, latching issues, nipple confusion, and a variety of other reasons. Power pumping is a great way to increase your breast milk supply.
- Moms who are preparing to return to work or know they will be away from baby for an extended amount of time may want to build up a freezer stash of breast milk, in which case power pumping will help moms increase the amount of milk they are able to express per pumping session.
- And some moms may decide to exclusively pump. There are many benefits to exclusive pumping but one downside is that your baby will cluster feed at the bottle rather than the breast. Cluster feeding is a way of telling your body to produce more milk. For more about exclusive pumping and power pumping you can check out BeauGen Affiliate, Exclusive Pumping.
How to Power Pump:
In order to effectively cluster pump, you’ll need an hour to set aside, ideally for at least two consecutive days. Because you will be dedicating anywhere from one to three hours to power pumping, you’ll want to make sure you are comfortable. For some moms, having a pump that allows you to move around or work hands free can help you carve out an hour to dedicate to pumping. Other moms find that pumping during their favorite hour-long show can help them set aside the necessary time and make it more enjoyable, too.
It's also important to note that you should continue to follow your regular pumping and/or feeding routine on the days which you power pump. If you are not an exclusive pumper, and breastfeed your baby, plan your power hour when your baby is sleeping, not eating, or when they are away from you (with your partner, in childcare, etc.).
Pump for 20 minutes, then rest for 10 minutes. Pump for another ten minutes and then rest for ten minutes. Then repeat this last step again pumping for 10 minutes and resting for another 10 minutes respectively.
Alternatively, if you have your baby with you, and it’s time for him or her to eat, you can power pump on one side while nursing your baby on the other.
If you only have one flange, or a manual pump, or you hand express, start on one side and - rather than take a break, switch to the other breast.
Common Myths Associated with Power Pumping
If You Don’t Get a Lot of Milk, It Didn’t Work
Remember the point of this power hour (or longer) is stimulation, meaning you are tricking your body into creating more milk. It’s not about the output during your power pumping session, but in the future. Don’t expect immediate results and give your body time to adapt.
Results Will Be Seen in Two-Three Days
While many moms will see results in a short time period, for some moms it can take up to a week to see noticeable results.
Power Pumping Takes the Place of Your Pumping Routine
This one to three hour session will take the place of one of your regularly scheduled pumping sessions rather than the entire schedule. You should continue to pump and/or feed your baby as normal when incorporating this technique.
If I Power Pump, I Won’t Have Milk for My Baby
Your breasts are never totally empty. And, as soon as you begin to empty your breast, your body begins to make more milk. You will have more milk on hand (on breast?) by the time your baby needs to eat again.
I Should Stop Pumping if Nothing Is Coming Out
This is false. You should continue to pump even if no milk is being expressed. This is known as “dry pumping” and will help to stimulate your body to produce more milk.
Tips for Power Pumping from Team BeauGen
Have an Electric Pump
A double electric pump is highly recommended for power pumping. If you only have one flange and bottle, your session can take up to two hours. This is true for manual pumps and your hands might tire before you’ve finished cluster pumping.
Make Sure Your Pump Parts Are in Good Condition
Tubing, flanges, membranes, and duck bills that are worn out might not handle this extended pumping session well. Defective or worn pump parts will affect your suction, which will affect your output and the overall efficacy of this technique.
Get a Hands Free Bra
A hands free bra can really enable you to relax and let your body do its thing during this power hour. Generally most bras are compatible with most pumps. If you are using a hands-free pump like Elvie or Willow you might not need a pumping specific bra, or you might look for one they recommend specifically (as most pumping bras are designed with slits to accommodate flanges rather than the actual pump.
Get Cozy with Your Favorite Show, a Netflix Movie, Or a Good Book
Having something that you enjoy doing, like watching something on tv or a book to read, will help make the time fly by. Some moms also plan their pumping around their favorite TV program’s commercials. If you’re watching Netflix or other streaming programs, you can use your phone as a timer.
Join our VIP Program for a list of fun TV programming and movies that moms love.
Incorporate Gentle Massage
Moms who massage their breasts while pumping tend to see a higher or increased output. Simply by doing this you can increase the efficacy of your session.
Drink Plenty of Water and Have a Snack On Hand
Your body can only make more milk if it has the right supplies to do so. It’s important to stay hydrated and have something to eat when you are power pumping.
Power Pumping Is Often Combined with These Other Techniques:
Skin to Skin
A great way to bond with your baby for both you and your partner, skin to skin is literally what it sounds like. Either remove your shirt, or place the baby on your chest underneath your shirt or blanket, so that they are directly in contact with your skin. This bonding helps promote the production of breast milk.
A fancy name for products or ingredients that help to boost the creation of breast milk. There are many different breast milk boosting options for mothers, including: teas, drink mixes, vitamins, cookies, bars, and other yummy treats.
If you are able to, one free and readily available option to help boost your milk supply is the one nature created. Every time you empty your breast, you can stimulate the production of breast milk. Breastfeeding is a great way to supplement your pumping schedule.
H2: BeauGen Is Here to Pump You Up!
One of the downsides to pumping more frequently and more often is that it can lead to sore skin. Consider adding a BeauGen Breast Pump Cushion into your flange to reduce the friction and help protect your nipples. This simple, yet effective cushion may require you to size up your flange but it will feel like a dream compared to using a hard plastic flange.