Power pumping can be the best option for you if you are a mom struggling with breastfeeding. This can lead to a greater milk letdown and an increase in milk production. Power pumping, also called cluster pumping, is an effective way to boost breast milk production. The technique involves simulating a baby’s cluster feeding sessions, characterized by frequent and short nursing periods.
Additionally, even if you power pump, your baby will still have access to milk while breastfeeding. The breast is never fully empty, and the baby’s suckling will stimulate milk production as needed.
Take a look at our guide to setting up a pumping schedule, and if you are a first-time mom and looking for power-pumping tips, read on!
What Is Power Pumping to Increase Breast Milk?
Increasing milk supply can be achieved by simulating a baby’s cluster feeding pattern through a power pumping or power pumping boot camp. This technique involves expressing milk in short, consecutive sessions, similar to how a baby would nurse during cluster feeding.
This mimics the frequent demand signal to the female’s body, increasing milk production. Many mothers find this a helpful strategy in increasing their milk production. A power-pumping session replaces usual breastfeeding.
Why Should You Power Pump
Exclusively pumping mothers benefit from this technique to maintain a steady milk supply for their babies. This technique involves mimicking a baby’s cluster-feeding pattern by expressing milk in short, consecutive sessions to signal the body to produce more milk.
Power pumping can be particularly useful during certain times, such as the beginning of the baby’s life, growth spurts, or when you have to miss a feeding or pumping session due to other commitments.
How to Power Pump
Power pumping is a simple process that involves pumping milk in several short, consecutive sessions, similar to how a baby would nurse during cluster feeding.
The recommended pattern is:
- 20 minutes of pumping,
- followed by a 10-minute break,
- then another 10 minutes pumping,
- followed by another 10-minute break,
- and finally, another 10 minutes of pumping
taking you to a total of one hour.
However, it is essential to note that breastfeeding is not always exact, and power pumping doesn’t have to be either. While following the timing guidelines, listening to your body and its inclinations is essential.
It’s essential to keep going even if you’re following the sample power pumping schedule and no milk is coming. This is a very important step in sending a signal to your body to produce more milk. The process of power pumping may take several days or even a week before you see a significant increase in your breast milk supply.
This is normal as every woman’s body reacts differently, and giving your body a chance to respond to the process is essential. Power pumping does not replace regular pumping or nursing but rather supplements it.
Additionally, even if you power pump, your baby will still have access to milk during breastfeeding as the breast is never fully empty, and your baby’s suckling will stimulate milk production as needed.
Factors such as anxiety, illness, medication, dehydration, menstrual cycle, or changes in the baby’s routine may play a role. By being aware of these causes, you can take necessary actions to prevent them from happening. Power pumping can be an effective way to increase your milk supply when these factors arise.
Note: if you’re looking at combining formula and breast milk, take a look at our guide to combination feeding schedules.
Best Tips for Power Pumping
Increase Pumping Frequency
As a general rule, mothers should aim to pump every 3 hours. However, mothers should use the power pump for 15 minutes every two hours to increase milk production further. It is essential to remember that pumping for more than thirty minutes may not provide additional benefits. Your nipples, on the other hand, will feel the pain.
During this hour, mothers can pump for 10 minutes, take a 10-minute break and repeat this pattern for one hour.
Stay Hydrated and Take Care of Yourself
To support and maintain your breast milk supply, it is essential to ensure adequate sleep, maintain proper hydration by drinking enough fluids, and consume healthy food. The most critical factor is maintaining a well-balanced diet that provides the necessary nutrients for both mother and baby.
It’s also important to note that no shortcuts can significantly boost milk production. Moreover, herbal supplements are not always feasible. Therefore, be careful of products that promise better milk production overnight.
Go For Skin-To-Skin
Skin-to-skin contact is a simple yet powerful technique involving holding a baby close to a mother’s or father’s bare chest. Both the baby and the mother can reap numerous benefits from this method.
One of the main advantages of skin-to-skin contact is that it helps to maintain the baby’s body heat. It also slows the baby’s heart rate and breathing, calming and making the baby feel more comfortable. This close physical contact also promotes bonding between the baby and the parents and can benefit the baby’s overall well-being.
Additionally, such contact can also be beneficial for mothers as it can help improve milk supply. This is because close physical contact stimulates the release of hormones responsible for milk production.
Therefore, spending time with your baby on your chest can create a bonding experience and support the breastfeeding journey.
Set up a Comfortable Pumping Spot
Creating a comfortable and relaxing environment for pumping is crucial for the success of the process. To achieve this, you can discover a peaceful, private place to set up your pumping machine in an organized manner.
Ensure all the necessary supplies are within reach. Having a snack and a bottle of water nearby can also be handy. When you are comfortable, it helps to reduce stress, which ultimately promotes milk production.
It’s essential to be aware that milk supply can fluctuate naturally throughout the day. This is normal. However, if there’s a considerable drop in milk production without any valid explanation, it’s beneficial to schedule a lactation consultation.
A lactation consultant can help to identify the cause of the issue and provide additional tips and strategies to support milk supply.
Get Your Pump Station Ready
To ensure a successful and efficient pumping experience, preparing your pump station for power pumping is crucial. Ensure that your pumping equipment is in good working order by cleaning, assembling correctly, and checking all parts, such as breast shields, tubing, and flanges.
Find a comfortable and private place to pump, where you can lay out your equipment and supplies, including bottles, caps, a snack, and a bottle of water. A picture of your baby nearby can also be comforting and help you relax during one power-pumping session.
Choose a place where you can minimize distractions so you can focus on pumping and optimize the process. Ensure that your pump is fully charged or plugged in so you don’t run out of power in the middle of your power-pumping session.
Power pumping is most effective when done at specific times during the day, so note the times that work best for you and stick to a consistent schedule. This will help you predict when your milk production is at its peak and optimize the power pumping sessions.
To ensure maximum comfort during your power pumping session, wear clothes that are easy to open and close, so you can easily access your breasts while pumping. Power pumping can take time, so be mentally prepared for the commitment. Try to relax and think positively, as this can help increase milk flow.
Keep track of your progress by logging your pumping sessions, including time, duration, and the amount of milk you pump. This can help you see if your power pumping efforts are paying off and make adjustments as needed. This way, you can evaluate your progress and make necessary changes to optimize your power pumping routine.
Keep Realistic Expectations
Using power pumping as a technique can take several days to several weeks to see a significant increase in milk supply. Sticking to a power pumping schedule instead of prolonged pumping sessions is advisable.
It’s crucial to remember that pumping non-stop for an hour is not beneficial and can cause damage to the breasts. Even though you may only see a few drops initially, it doesn’t indicate that power pumping is not working, so be patient and don’t get discouraged.
When you reach your desired milk supply, you can either stop power pumping or switch to regular pumping sessions. If your baby can empty your breasts and maintain the supply fully, you can stop pumping altogether.
It’s important to remember that power pumping may not suit every mother, some may not respond, and some may find it uncomfortable.
Remember that power pumping is just one of the tools that can be used to increase milk supply, but it’s not necessary for most and may not work for all mothers. It’s essential to try different methods and find what works best for you and your baby.
How Often to Power Pump
Power pumping is an effective technique for mothers to increase their milk supply as often as needed, desired, and possible. When a baby’s demand exceeds the supply, power pumping can help catch up.
Even if the supply meets the baby’s appetite, mothers can use power pumping to create extra milk to store later. Exclusive pumpers may need to power pump more frequently as their supply tends to fluctuate more often.
In this case, they may choose to power pump once a week to prevent any issues from arising. The key is to ensure that the breasts are emptied. If mothers feel this is not happening, they may try power-pumping for longer than an hour or twice a day to empty the breasts.
Remember that mental well-being is the most important thing, and finding a frequency mothers can handle without feeling overwhelmed is essential.
Best Power Pumps for Breast Feeding
We’ve written a full guide to choosing a power pump that explains the differences between types of pump (electric, manual, portable, etc) and brands and models. It’s a great introduction to help you choose the right model. We’ve also written guides to travel with your breast pump and hands free breast pumps.
To help as a recap, here’s a summary of the top five electric power pumps:
1. S1 Plus Electric Breast Milk Pump
Recognized as one of the best electric breast pumps on the market, the S1 Plus Electric Breast Milk Pump offers numerous features. This compact, quiet hospital-grade breast pump provides powerful suction and has received numerous positive feedbacks from past users.
You can customize and optimize the pumping experience through digital controls by adjusting speed and suction. The closed system design keeps the milk separate from the pump parts, ensuring better hygiene and performance.
Thanks to the three-hour runtime of the rechargeable battery, you can pump wherever you need to. The timer and nightlight are useful features, especially for those who pump at odd hours.
2. Willow Wearable Double Electric Breast Pump
The Willow pump, with all necessary components, including the motor, allows you to insert the machine into your bra and continue your day while pumping.
The pump, designed to be quiet and undetectable, facilitates comfortable and convenient pumping. The bags for the pump also come at an additional cost and cannot be transferred or resealed. However, some users have reported that they do not achieve the same results as they would with traditional pumps.
3. Motif Luna Double Electric Breast Pump
Motif, a newer brand in the breast pumping market, has quickly earned recognition for its double electric pump, the Luna.
The Luna pump is engineered to produce more milk in a shorter time than the well-known Spectra pump. The Luna’s features, such as its sleek design, hospital-grade suction power, quiet motor, and rechargeable battery life of over two hours, appeal to pumping mothers.
Additionally, The Luna offers a variety of settings for both massage and expression modes, a built-in nightlight, and an easy-to-read backlit LCD screen.
4. Spectra S2-Plus Breast Pump
With the Spectra S2, mothers who are concerned that a portion of their lactation nanoparticles will enter the rotor or other sections of the device that aren’t regularly cleansed can exhale with peace.
Being a closed loop, it guarantees that the breast milk will only remain in the appropriate areas of the pump. As a result, there is no chance of mold or germs contaminating your milk supply without your notice.
This will be a significant bonus for mothers worried about the safety of the milk they provide to their children. While some mothers are unconcerned by a noisier pump at business, others prefer to nurse in solitude. Let’s be honest.
There are a lot of childish individuals around nowadays, and in the office, remarks about nursing from colleagues can still make some women feel a little uncomfortable in various situations.
Those ladies might find it easier to pump breastmilk at work thanks to the S2’s silent motor. Additionally, rubbing your chest is a terrific technique to activate your brain’s release mode, which tells you when it’s time for the milk to keep pouring.
5. Lansinoh Smartpump 2.0 Double Electric
The Lansinoh is the best option for mothers who frequently need to extract breastmilk. It is comfortable to use, has two different-sized nozzles, and has variable power and pressure settings. It can be powered by batteries or the mains.
The pump may be connected to your smartphone via a convenient Bluetooth app, allowing you to schedule when to milk and nurse. It doesn’t include cells, which you will need to use to benefit from its mobility.
When Should I Start Pumping?
Many new mothers believe they should not start pumping milk right after delivery, but this is not true. You can begin pumping at any time. Keep in mind that milk production may be low in the early days, and the milk produced, called colostrum, is thicker and more challenging to pump than milk produced later.
This may cause disappointment. However, as time passes, milk production will increase and become easier to pump.
If you’re frequently breastfeeding and your baby is latching well, you may not need to pump. After 2-3 weeks, the milk supply should be well-established, and some women start pumping to store milk for later use.
However, the situation is different if your baby is in the NICU and breastfeeding is impossible. In these cases, we advise you to start pumping within six hours of birth and to pump 8-12 times a day to establish a milk supply for your NICU infant. More breast milk is particularly beneficial in the NICU. If pumping is challenging or impossible, consider using donor breast milk.
Pumping typically takes 15-20 minutes per session. As milk production increases, pumping time may decrease. For mothers who are exclusively pumping, we recommend pumping eight times daily, every 3 hours.
There’s been an increasing demand for breast pumps – partly due to the rise of breastfeeding mothers but also because many insurance companies are covering the cost – and as a result, manufacturers are now developing more efficient, discreet and technologically sophisticated pumps.
This change is long overdue as the technology behind breast pumps has remained relatively unchanged since their introduction in the mid-1900s.
So, if you’re a mom struggling with breastfeeding issues, try out power pumping as a way to help you build up a stash of milk to freeze and use to help your busy schedule. Happy feeding!