If you're worried you may have a low milk supply, you've probably heard about a strategy called "power pumping" that is supposed to increase your milk supply in a short amount of time. Although the concept sounds too good to be true, many moms swear they notice an increase after only a few sessions. If you think power pumping might be for you, you'll need a few power pumping hacks to make your sessions more manageable and productive.
Power pumping isn't for everyone, but if you need to up your supply and you're willing to stick with it for a while, it's certainly worth a shot. According to Lansinoh, the best way to boost your supply is to breastfeed often. For some women, that isn't possible because their baby just isn't into the thought of eating constantly, so power pumping is a great alternative. The strategy is meant to mimic the way a baby cluster feeds (nurses often in a short period of time,) thereby triggering your body to produce more milk.
To practice power pumping, all you need is your pump and an entire hour to yourself. In that hour, you'll pump for 20 minutes and then rest for 10, repeating the process until your hour is up. You can even double up, and have two power pumping sessions in a day.
Whether you're concerned that your baby isn't getting enough milk, or your simply want to increase your supply to build up a stock pile, power pumping is an evidence backed method that, with dedication, should yield results.
1. Break Up Your Hour
Although power pumping for an entire hour is the most common recommendation, Fed Is Best suggested you break up your hour into two half hour pumping sessions if the entire hour doesn't work with your schedule. Pump for 10 minutes, rest for 10, then pump for 10 more minutes — repeating this process twice per day should have the same effect as pumping for one hour long session. Doing what works best for you and your routine is important.
2. Find Something To Pass The Time
In their comprehensive guide to power pumping, Living With Low Supply suggested moms view power pumping as their "me time." As unglamorous as it sounds, power pumping doesn't have to be a bother. Use the time to catch up on a favorite TV show, or read your favorite book. You might grow to enjoy the sessions.
3. Set A Timer
If keeping track of time isn't your strong suit, be sure to set a timer for each of your sessions. If it helps, you can have two timers: one for each individual 10 to 20 minute session and one for your overall hour.
4. Bring A Baby Photo
If you struggle with a lackluster letdown while pumping, use the next best thing to your baby and bring in a photo or video of them with you to pump. When you look at, or even think about, your baby, the "love hormone" oxytocin is released which, according to Baby Center, is responsible for your letdown reflex.
5. Keep A "Pumping Journal"
Although Living With Low Supply is quick to point out that the actual amount you pump isn't important at first (it's more about frequency and stimulating your milk making hormones, than the actual amount you remove,) keeping track can be helpful. Even if it's just on a single sheet of paper or in the notes section of your phone, writing down how much and when you pumped each day will help keep you on track.
6. Pump Immediately After A Feeding Or During Naptime
Finding the best timing for your power pumping sessions can be tricky. Living With Low Supply suggested pumping while your baby is sleeping. You can also schedule your power pumping sessions immediately after a feeding, while your baby is happy. The quick removal of more milk will only trigger your body to produce more.
7. Go Hands-Free
Having to sit completely still while holding two pump flanges to your breasts for an entire hour will get old really quickly. Instead, invest in a good hands-free pumping bra, like the Bravado hands-free nursing pumping bra ($30).