If you're trying to increase your milk supply power pumping may be right for you!
Disclaimer: Do you truly have a low supply issue? It's best to speak with a lactation consultant before power pumping. They can talk you through any supply concerns and give you a better idea if you actually need to increase your supply. In most cases, moms are making plenty of milk for their little ones and they are simply worried about a *perceived* low milk supply.
Research tells us that the best way to boost your milk supply is to breastfeed your baby... often. Power pumping does just that! Power pumping is an attempt to mimic your baby cluster feeding (basically telling your body to make more milk!)
While the results vary from one mom to the next, it has a relatively high rate of being successful if done consistently.
Dr. Fiona Jardine conducted a study of over 1,700 pumping parents and found that 82% saw an increase in their milk production. We also did a poll in our instagram stories earlier this year and over 1,000 moms saw an increase in their milk supply while power pumping.
Power pumping is simple.
All you need is a breast pump and some time.
Before you start, make sure all your pump parts are in working order and that you are using the correct flange size. Most lactation consultants can size you, but you could also use this free sizing print out to make sure you are using the right size. Wearing a wrong size flange may cause a low milk output.
The advised pattern shown all across the internet is: 20 minutes pumping, 10 minutes rest, 10 minutes pumping, 10 minutes rest, 10 minutes pumping — for a total of 60 minutes. But those times don't have to be exact as long as you're pumping back to back.
Here are a few examples:
Pump for 5 minutes - Rest for 10 minutes - Pump for 15 minutes - Rest for 10 minutes = until you reach 60 minutes total.
Pump for 20 minutes - Rest for 10 minutes - Pump for 15 minutes - Rest for 5 minutes = until you reach 60 minutes total.
Pump for 10 minutes - Rest for 15 minutes - Pump for 5 minutes - Rest for 10 minutes = until you reach 60 minutes total.
Don't get discouraged if you start to see no milk coming out. This continued stimulation of the breasts will signal to your body that more milk is needed.
How often should I power pump? Once a day is fine.
When should I power pump? Anytime you can dedicate some time to pump. Keep in mind that your milk volume is typically greater in the morning and falls gradually throughout the day and into the evening. If possible, power pump before your baby wakes up or during their morning nap. If not, don't stress out too much about it, whenever YOU have time works!
Can I power pump if I have a good supply? It's not recommended to power pump if you don't have any supply issues. Doing so can cause an oversupply, which is NOT fun at all! It's also not recommended to power pump if your baby is going through cluster feeding. The cluster feeding works the same way and will increase your supply by itself.
Now the good stuff… RESULTS!
Most moms are able to see results in as little as 3-4 days, others may need a week or so of consistency to see a significant increase. Some mother's bodies are more receptive to pumping, so they will see more success from power pumping than others. The only way to find out if it works for you is to give it a try for a few days and see if there is any change in your milk supply.