9 Things I Wish I'd Known About Power Pumping Way Before I Actually Started

Ad failed to load

As a mom with undersupply caused by insufficient glandular tissue, I was desperate to do anything to increase my supply. I took herbal supplements, an unsafe prescription medication, triple-fed (nurse, pump, supplement, repeat) my baby all day long, and used a supplemental nursing system to feed my daughter formula from a tube taped to my breasts. I wish I'd known about power pumping the first time around, though, because it is seriously awesome.

According to the Fed is Best Foundation, power pumping is when "a mother uses a breast pump to remove as much breast milk as she can in rapid (concentrated) intervals, in an attempt to stimulate her milk supply." After my son was born, I refused to lose time with my baby by pumping after every feeding, and I couldn't afford to buy supplements and drugs that didn't make a huge difference the first time around. So, as a result, I decided to give power pumping a try.

I didn't know much about power pumping, before I got started. I had to learn as I went, by trial and error. In the end, power pumping helped me to maximize milk production and go on to breastfeed my baby for eight months, something I was unable to do with my first baby and that was really important to me. Here are just a few things I wish I had known before I got started.

Ad failed to load

It's One Of The Only Things Proven To Increase Supply


According to Fed is Best Foundation, power pumping is the only safe tool that has been shown to be effective at increasing breast milk supply. I wish I had known that before I spent hundreds of dollars on herbal supplements, bought unsafe prescription drugs, and ate some pretty gross foods.

It Can Be Relaxing

Who would have thought that pumping would be relaxing. It turns out, when you get up to pump at 4:30 a.m. when everyone else, including baby is asleep, it can be super chill rather than stressful. Plus, I got caught up on Top Chef.

It Takes A Serious Time Commitment


There's a couple of different ways to do it, but I chose the 10 minutes on, 10 minutes off for an hour method, which meant finding an hour to pump, which is not always easy when you have a newborn. According to the Fed is Best Foundation, you can also split power pumping up into two sessions, if that's easier on your schedule.

Ad failed to load

It Can Be Stressful

The first couple of days I watched my milk flow, or to be more accurate, drip, like a hawk. I was so stressed about what was and was not coming out of my breasts.

The Best Time To Do It Is Early In The Morning

Courtesy of Steph Montgomery

According to Lanisoh, the best time to power pump may be in the morning, because that's when your prolactin level and milk supply tend to be highest. I also tried to do it after a feeding, so I got some warm fuzzy feelings from snuggling with baby first. I swear it helped, but if not, it certainly helped make it more enjoyable.

It Might Take A Few Days To See Results

Initially, I was a bit disappointed at how little milk I seemed to produce. In fact, I almost quit after a few days of mostly empty bottles, because pumping seriously sucks, but after a few more days I started to see a dramatic increase.

Ad failed to load

Heat And Massage Seriously Help


I started using heat packs and massaging my breasts while pumping, and it made a huge difference. I even got little heat packs that attached to the outside of my pump flanges (fancy), but a cloth bag of rice will do the trick.

It Helps To Use Lube

Seriously, use lube. I used a water-based lube or coconut oil in my flanges to make sure my nipples stayed happy and pain-free, during all of that pumping. It may sound odd, but trust me, it works.

You Might Not Have To Do It Forever


As a mom with undersupply, power pumping worked and helped me continue breastfeeding my son, which was amazing. However, after a few weeks I was ready to stop. I was scared that it would impact my supply, so I weaned slowly off the pump, going from daily power pumping to every other day, to every third day, and finally to once a week. When I didn't see a dramatic decrease in my supply, I stopped power pumping entirely.

Ad failed to load
Must Reads

15 Baby Names With Unique Nicknames, So Your Family Has Options

I love a good diminutive name, also known as a nickname. I believe I’m partial to them because of my own name, Abigale, but I go by Abi. And since they’re both uniquely spelled, everyone thinks my name is pronounced Ah-bee for some reason — but even …
By Abi Berwager Schreier

The Entire Family Can Enjoy These Movies & Shows Coming To Netflix In June

It's just one of those sad facts of life: every month, shows and movies vanish from Netflix, their varied excitements no longer at your fingertips. But luckily the streaming service is always prepared to fill that content void with lots of new things…
By Megan Walsh

The Reason Why Babies Smile At You Will Seriously Make You Smile

Whether you're currently the recipient of your own baby's sweet smiles or you just seem to be a magnet for baby grins in general, you might find yourself wondering why babies are always smiling at you. Sure, you could be a 'smile whisperer' but scien…
By Kate Miller

8 Ways Your Baby Is Trying To Say That, Yes, You Are Their Favorite

For a baby to show a preference for a specific person is not only normal, but an essential part of their development. Babies need to form strong attachments to their caregivers for their emotional, social, and physical wellbeing. Usually, but not alw…
By Kimmie Fink

10 Reasons Why I Won't Apologize For Giving My Toddler A Pacifier

My first child had no interest in a pacifier. I tried a couple times to get him to take one, but he always spat them out and gave me an incredulous, judgmental look. But my second? It was love at first suckle. And after a while, the incredulous, judg…
By Jamie Kenney

Being A Dog Parent Prepared Me For Having A Baby, Really

I’ve always wanted kids; I was never as sure about raising a puppy. Then I spent six months living with someone who brought home an eight-week-old golden retriever puppy, and I see no way to make it out of that experience claiming not to love dogs. I…
By Heather Caplan

20 Of The Most Popular Unisex Names Of All Time, That You'll Be Hearing More Of For Sure

You might think of unisex names as a fairly recent trend, but the truth is these versatile monikers have been commonly used throughout history (well, some more commonly than others). That's why the team over at recently compiled a list of t…
By Jacqueline Burt Cote

How To Have A Date Night With No Babysitter, Because It's Easier Than You Think

After having children, many couples feel that their love lives immediately go out the window, but it's so important to make your romantic life a priority so both you and your partner can be the best versions of yourselves you can be. As we all know, …
By Abi Berwager Schreier

9 Ways Baby No. 3 Made My Family Feel Complete

My husband and I decided to have another baby right after we got married and, well, we had no idea what we were getting into. I got pregnant right away, endured a high-risk pregnancy, and, before I knew it, my third baby had arrived. Together, we emb…
By Steph Montgomery

8 Stereotypes About New Dads That Are *Totally* True

Much like new mothers, new fathers have a lot on their plate. Parenting can be scary and complex, especially at first and regardless of your gender. People want to do right by their kids, after all. And since all new parents are a hot mess, dads are …
By Priscilla Blossom

8 Differences Between Being Pregnant In Your 20s Vs 30s, According To Science

Whether you're planning a pregnancy, or just thinking about your future family, it's typical to think about things like child-spacing, how many kids you want, and when to start trying to conceive. When making your pro/con list, you might also conside…
By Steph Montgomery

16 Moms Share Remedies For Their Most Intense Chocolate Cravings During Pregnancy

For better or worse, pregnancy is usually synonymous with odd cravings. Sure, there are the stereotypical combos like pickles and ice cream that plague gestating women the world over, but there are other mind-boggling combinations, too, including but…
By Candace Ganger

Putting Sunscreen On Your Kid Doesn't Have To Be A Fight — Here's How To Do It

I am almost translucent, so me and sunscreen are basically besties at this point. Even though my children are beautifully deep brown thanks to my husband's genetics, I still slather them like biscuits being buttered because I refuse to take risks wit…
By Cat Bowen

19 Moms Share The Way They Cured Their Pregnancy Comfort Food Cravings

I was obnoxiously sick during the first trimester with, "lucky" for me, both of my pregnancies. For the first three months I lived on saltines, lemonade, and fresh bread. Once I was able to eat, however, all I wanted was savory and sweet comfort food…
By Dina Leygerman

I Used To Judge Formula-Feeding Moms — Until I Became One

The other patrons in the hip Brooklyn restaurant probably couldn’t care less what I was feeding my baby, but I’ll always remember the shame I felt as I quickly mixed up his bottle of formula in front of them. I admitted to my childless friend that I …
By Katherine Martinelli

7 White Lies It’s Necessary To Tell To Keep Your Relationship Healthy

Telling lots of lies typically isn't associated with a healthy, strong, lasting relationship, and that's still certainly true, but not all lies are exactly the same. Though you've probably heard from someone at least once or twice that the lie they t…
By Lauren Schumacker

The Skinny Jeans That Saved Me Postpartum

Accepting my post-pregnancy body is hands-down one of the most difficult things I’ve ever done. It’s something that I still work on every single day. During my first pregnancy, I was 20 years old, so I managed to bounce back quickly. In fact, I dropp…
By Allison Cooper

7 Ways Your Baby Is Trying To Say They Feel Safe

In those first weeks of new motherhood, it can feel like you need an interpreter for your newborn. With their limited means of communication, figuring out what message your baby is trying to get across to you can be a challenge. With time, however, y…
By Kimmie Fink

Here's Why Dogs Are Obsessed With Babies' Poop, According To Science

Most family dogs seem to understand babies, and they're more than happy to make friends with the newest member of the pack. It's adorable... for the most part and until you go to change your little one's diaper. Suddenly, you're wondering why dogs ar…
By Lindsay E. Mack

6 Signs You're Meant To Have A Big Age Gap Between Kids

There's a five year age difference between my two children, to the day. Their age gap wasn't planned but, for a variety of reasons, works well for our family. And since I was so focused on having a second baby, I totally overlooked the signs that wou…
By Candace Ganger

My Dog Knew I Was Pregnant Before My Family Did

Growing up, I was 100 percent sure I'd be a mom one day. To a dog, that is. My baby plans came later. And once my husband and I were sure we wanted both a dog and a baby, we'd add to our joint dog-and-baby name list over Sunday brunch or on date nigh…
By Melissa Mills