The Secret to Making More Milk : Power Pumping!
What is power pumping?
The way power pumping works is by "tricking" your body into producing more milk by rapidly emptying the breasts. This is what babies do when they are cluster feeding, which is when baby is on and off the breast often that it tells your body to increase supply to meet their demands/needs.
Power pumping is not supposed to replace your normal pumping sessions. It's a strategy to improve milk supply within an already established pumping routine. You shouldn't power pump everyday. You shouldn't power pump every week.
How to power pump:
To power pump, you want to find an hour in the day that you can pump uninterrupted. I also recommend getting a pumping bra to go hands free. A double electric "hospital grade" pump like a Spectra, Medela, etc. would be most helpful for this strategy. Yes, it requires you to sit down when you use one of those pumps, but that's why you would find a time of day which you could do this. Maybe when you watch your favorite 1 hour show, during a meal, or reading a book, even playing a game or browsing social media or internet on your phone. You get a free pass to do these things so take it!
Wireless, hands free pumps like MomCozy, Elvie, Willow, etc. are not necessarily the best for this as they don't work as well as the pumps listed above. However, if this is all you have or what will actually make you do it, then by all means use it. Your results may not be as great but it will be something which is better than nothing.
When to do it:
You do want to do your best to find time to do this is in the morning, because that is when most people have the most milk of the day. I usually recommend that you try this on a weekend because you can do it more realistically in the morning because the mornings are slower, easier, less hectic and you usually will have some type of support to help with the baby or other children.
Within that hour, use this pumping pattern to increase milk supply:
Pump for 20 minutes, rest for 10 minutes
Pump for 10 minutes, rest for 10 minutes
Pump for 10 minutes
Throughout the rest of the day, pump the normal length of time when you would typically pump.
Who is power pumping for?
Anyone who is concerned they have low milk supply, but ideally you should check with a lactation consultant, like me, to find out if you even need to do this. Many people think they have low supply because either:
They don't see a lot coming out of the pump - this is usually due to wrong size flanges
Baby is eating too often - this is usually a growth spurt
Uneven amounts when pumping - this is common; we don't produce same amount each side
They think 2 - 4oz isn't enough; this is actually the most common amount to pump; more could indicate oversupply if there isn't more than one baby
How often to power pump:
You typically only need to power pump for 2-3 days before you start to see a result. Then you can return to your normal pumping routine. Do this anytime you feel like you need a little boost. Sometimes supply dips happen for various reasons.
I'd highly recommend checking in with an IBCLC to get to the root of your supply issue and if power pumping is the best option for you, or if maybe it's something else.
You are amazing!
Most people are already making enough milk for their baby's needs. Social media can skew your opinion of this when you see overproducers with full bottles, bags and pitchers of milk. That just isn't normal or realistic, and you do not need to try and achieve that unless you have a desire to donate to the milk bank!
Take pictures of your power pumping results daily to see if it's trending up. If you are happy with results, feel free to send me a picture for sharing for inspiration for other parents. I would love to post here on my blog or social media with your permission.
You can be the real inspiration others need!