Research-backed

What Is Power Pumping And How To Do It To Increase Milk Supply?

Image: Shutterstock

IN THIS ARTICLE

Power pumping, also called cluster pumping, is a breast pumping technique that mimics cluster feeding. This includes more frequent pumping sessions with minimal breaks. Frequent emptying of the breasts can boost milk supply by stimulating breast milk production and milk letdown in some women. However, many women may require additional assistance to enhance their milk supply. You may seek individualized recommendations from a lactation consultant after assessment.

Read on to know the reasons, tips, and methods to improve milk supply through power pumping.

Reasons To Try Power Pumping

Power pumping is an effective way to boost milk production in lactating women. However, before trying power pumping, consult a lactation consultant to understand the reasons for a low milk supply.

The following factors may cause a drop in breast milk supply in some women.

  • Low frequency of breastfeeding and pumping since the supply is directly related to the demand
  • Hormonal changes
  • Certain illnesses
  • Dehydration
  • Sleep problems
  • Chronic stress
  • Diet
  • Medications
  • Natural variations in supply

You may consider these factors while looking for changes in your milk supply. Modifying the cause may boost the milk supply in most women. In addition to it, you may try power pumping to enhance the supply.

How To Perform Power Pumping?

You may keep the following points in mind for efficient power pumping (1).

  • Choose a relaxed and comfortable place where you may sit for an hour without interruption to power pumping.
  • Morning hours could be ideal since a higher milk supply is seen in most women during this time than evening However, you may choose the timing at your convenience.
  • A double electric breast pump with a hands-free nursing bra may increase your comfort while pumping breast milk. Holding a flange to the breast could be tiring for most women.
  • Pumping after or during nursing sessions is recommended for breastfeeding You may pump for ten minutes, followed by a ten-minute break after each pumping session. Follow the intermittent pumping and breaks for an hour.
  • You may follow the regular pumping and feeding routine for the rest of the day.

How Frequently Should You Pump?

Some women may do power pumping twice a day, while a few find it sufficient to do once daily. You may do it according to your convenience and results. Several power pumping sessions may be tiring, while some women may find shorter yet frequent power pumping sessions more appropriate. Therefore, you may choose the method which is most suitable for your body.

Does Power Pumping Work?

Power pumping empties the breasts, stimulating prolactin hormone secretion, which increases breast milk production (2). However, the outcomes of power pumping may vary in each woman depending on individual factors.

Power pumping may be more effective in some cases. For instance, research says that pumping at a regular interval could effectively sustain milk supply in mothers with preemies since premature babies may not feed as frequently as full-term infants.

Even mothers with full-term babies may continue to perform power pumping for two to three days to see any improvement in the milk supply. Some women may need four to seven days to have positive results. You may adjust the pumping sessions according to your milk supply. If you do not notice any changes, seek help from a lactation consultant.

Ways To Make Pumping More Comfortable

It is essential to be relaxed to enhance the milk supply. The following tips may help you feel more comfortable and improve the outcomes of power pumping.

  • Listen to soothing music
  • Never replace a breastfeeding session with power pumping
  • Change sides than taking a break in case you are using a hand pump or hand expression
  • Nurse your baby from one breast while pumping from another
  • Use double electric power pump with hands-free bra
  • Keep drinking water
  • Use nipple creams to avoid sore nipples but not while pumping or feeding the baby

Other Ways To Increase Supply

You may also try the following ways to increase the breast milk supply in addition to power pumping (2).

  • Stay well-hydrated
  • Consume a healthy, well-balanced diet
  • Nurse your baby frequently if you are breastfeeding
  • Breastfeed from both the breasts
  • Stimulate lactation with gentle breast massage and breast compression
  • Maintain a healthy lifestyle by exercising and avoiding unhealthy habits
  • Stay calm and relaxed
  • Avoid having any medications without consulting a doctor

Power pumping is a convenient way of increasing the breast milk supply since it may not always be possible to feed the baby frequently to increase the milk supply. You may experiment with various pumping and resting durations during power pumping. Remember to respect the limits of your body and not overdo it. Consult a board-certified lactation consultant for better results.

References:

MomJunction's articles are written after analyzing the research works of expert authors and institutions. Our references consist of resources established by authorities in their respective fields. You can learn more about the authenticity of the information we present in our editorial policy.
The following two tabs change content below.

Dr. Surabhi Sangwai

(MBBS, DCH, IBCLC)
Dr.Surabhi Sangwai is a pediatrician and an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC, USA) based in Nagpur, India. She is an authorized lactation counselor on the panel of BPNI and a member of several prestigious organizations like IAP, HMBAI, ILCA, BPNI Maharashtra, and ALPI. She has experience of more than seven years in handling key responsibilities at specialty clinics like... more

Dr Bisny T. Joseph

Dr. Bisny T. Joseph is a Georgian Board-certified physician. She has completed her professional graduate degree as a medical doctor from Tbilisi State Medical University, Georgia. She has 3+ years of experience in various sectors of medical affairs as a physician, medical reviewer, medical writer, health coach, and Q&A expert. Her interest in digital medical education and patient education made... more