Power Pumping - Is It Safe & Tips to Increase Breastmilk Supply

Power Pumping – How Does It Help in Increasing Milk Supply?

Medically Reviewed By
Dr. Shruti Kainth (Gynecologist/Obstetrician)
View more Gynecologist/Obstetrician Our Panel of Experts

Most breastfeeding moms are required to feed their babies consistently. The constant feeding usually keeps the breast stimulated to produce large quantities of milk. However, not all babies need continuous feeding. Also, not all lactating moms have a high supply of breast milk. In such cases, power pumping can become an alternate way to upsurge the milk production.

What is Power Pumping?

Breast pump power pumping (also called cluster pumping) is an effective means usually employed by breastfeeding moms to improve their low supply of breast milk. It tries to mimic a baby’s tendency to cluster feed, wherein he clings to the breast, suckling on and off in an attempt to get more milk, which is likely to send a message to the body that more milk is required, resulting in a boost in production.

Power pumping uses a breast pump to empty the breast with rapid pumping, which helps in creating increased artificial demand. It is a way to trick the nursing mom’s body into assuming that it is required to yield more milk. The frequent pumping may signal the body to escalate the milk production.

Is Power Pumping Safe?

Most breastfeeding moms can do it easily and safely at their convenience. It does not involve taking any special medications or supplements. However, nursing moms who have no breast milk supply complications should not attempt power-pumping, as it can lead to oversupply problems.

Why Should Breastfeeding Mothers Prefer Power Pumping?

The ideal way to heighten breast milk production may be naturally through nursing on demand of a baby. But sometimes, certain factors like a baby facing issues with latching or feeling disinterested in constant breastfeeding may negatively impact nursing on demand, causing a dip in the milk supply. A breastfeeding mom may not be available to feed her baby regularly due to health reasons or job compulsions. Also, during growth spurts, a baby may require more milk than usual. In such instances, cluster pumping to increase milk supply may be a feasible option. Power pumping aims at heightening the milk supply by repetitively pumping the breast. The continual draining of the breasts may gesture the body to generate more milk using half the time.

How to Choose a Breast Pump for Power Pumping

A dual electric pump may make a good choice for power pumping. A solo breast pump can also do the needful but may not be as efficient as a dual electric pump timewise. A single pump can use double the time to do the required job, due to which a nursing mom may have to disregard the rest period. Also, it may be wise to choose a double pump as it can offer a stronger stimulation which is likely to facilitate more milk supply. Studies indicate that the hormone prolactin which plays a significant role in making milk may get substantially elevated when nursing moms double pump.

Automated breast pump

How and When to Power Pump Breast Milk

Some key points to take note of are:

  • For power pumping a breast, the nursing mom may want to first sit down in a comfortable position.
  • She can pump non-stop for 20 minutes, take rest for 10 minutes and pump once more for 10 minutes, Rest again for 10 minutes and finally pump for 10 minutes one more time before stopping.
  • You can choose any cluster pumping schedule to increase supply, which you deem suitable like 10 minutes of pumping with 10 minutes of rest or 12 minutes on with 8 minutes off.
  • The total amount of time spent on power pumping need not be precise and can vary.
  • For favourable results, a breastfeeding mom may like to commit a minimum one hour of power pumping each day.
  • She can also do it for up to two times in a day to extract maximum benefit out of it or until the milk supply is adequate to cater to the baby’s nursing demands.
  • Breast power pumping can be done anytime as per the mother’s convenience.
  • A relaxed state of mind normally helps. Stress, anxiety, panic can adversely affect breast milk production.
  • It is also highly effective when it corresponds with a healthy diet and plenty of rest. Therefore a good time for power pumping can be when a nursing mom is relaxing after a nourishing meal or the baby is sleeping or occupied elsewhere.
  • Research suggests that milk volume is naturally higher in the morning. It tends to reduce slowly through the day. Hence, power pumping session done in the morning may foster better results.

When Can You Stop Power Pumping?

Every nursing mom’s body can be different. Some lactating moms can experience improved results in a few days (two to three days), while others may require to indulge in power pumping for a longer duration of time (for a week or more) to have increased supply. So how long one may continue power pumping generally depends on the way their body typically responds.

Tips to Make Power Pumping Easier

Here are some useful tips which may make power pumping easier.

  • Allow yourself the pleasure of doing something you enjoy while you power pump, like listening to soothing music, watching your favourite show or reading a book. A happy you will bring out the best results.
  • Set up a pumping station which has everything that you may need during a pumping session, as you will be at it for a while.
  • Choose an agreeable and comfortable spot like your bedroom or a cosy couch where you can relax completely.
  • Wearing a hands-free bra can be a convenient option for pumping sessions.
  • Try and power pump when your baby is taking his nap. In case he is awake, make sure you have help around. Managing a baby and power pumping together at the same time may not be a good idea.
  • You may like to double pump for quicker results instead of using single pumping. It also saves you a lot of time.
  • It is necessary to keep an eye on your power pumping time and schedule to avoid overdoing it.
  • Keep lots of water handy for staying properly hydrated is vital for maintaining milk supply.
  • You can also utilise the time to eat a healthy snack like some fruit, dry fruits or even chocolate.
  • Try and avoid unnecessary anxiety or stress, as excessive stress can interfere with the production of oxytocin which is mainly responsible for the let-down reflex or the free flow of milk from the breast.
  • In case of chafing or cracking of the skin around the nipples, applying coconut oil or a safe nipple cream may prove beneficial.
  • Viewing the time devoted to power-pumping as a chance to wind down instead of another task may help you to stay positive and upbeat about the whole thing.

Power pumping can be helpful in stimulating milk supply. However, it is not advisable to skip feeding your baby to power pump. A baby nursing at the breast is any day a better choice for generating milk than a breast pump. In any case, it is always sensible to consult your doctor before resorting to power pumping. It is quite possible that you already have enough breast milk for your baby but may not know it.

Also Read: Decrease in Breastmilk Supply – Reasons & Issues

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