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Once you’ve made the commitment to breastfeed, one of the biggest frustrations you can face is a low milk supply. You desperately want to feed your baby and feel like a failure when you can’t. Because low supply often causes stress and frustration for both mom and baby, you need a solution that is easy, fast, and effective. Which is where power pumping can be a lifesaver.
You’re in the right place if you’re wondering how power pumping can help you to increase your milk supply or if you want ideas to make power pumping easier for you! Keep reading for the tips I used to quadruple my milk supply in just a few days!
Who Should Power Pump?
Power pumping is designed to mimic cluster feeding, which is your baby’s natural way of telling your body to increase its milk supply.
Moms who don’t have low milk supply challenges shouldn’t power pump. There’s no need to and it can actually cause oversupply, which has its own set of challenges.
Likewise, if your baby is a champ at nursing and enjoys being put to the breast often, don’t worry about power pumping. Instead, nurse as often as possible for a few days and let your baby help naturally increase your supply. This is a great time for a nursing vacation!
However, if you have low milk supply and your baby has difficulty latching, becomes frustrated while nursing, or doesn’t want to nurse frequently throughout the day, you may want to power pump. Likewise, if you are working or away from your baby, power pumping can help overcome low supply issues.
How Do I Power Pump?
Remember that the ultimate goal of power pumping is to mimic cluster feeding. You want to empty the breast as many times as possible in the shortest amount of time in order to signal your body to start making more milk ASAP.
I struggled with low supply for months and had to supplement over 50 percent of my baby’s diet with formula. But after following these three easy steps, my supply quadrupled and we were finally able to nurse successfully, plus build a freezer stash of over 100 ounces!
Set Time Aside Everyday
Commit to power pumping one hour a day for three or more consecutive days. This tells your body that your baby is still hungry and you need to make more food.
Most women either power pump first thing in the morning (when your supply is the highest) or right before going to bed (when your baby might go a little longer before nursing again.
The Pumping Pattern
Follow this pattern:
Pump – 20 minutes
Rest – 10 minutes
Pump 10 minutes
Rest – 10 minutes
Pump – 10 minutes.
Continue to nurse or pump every 2-3 hours. For the remainder of the day, make sure to squeeze in nursing/pumping sessions every 2-3 hours for at least 15-20 minutes around the clock. If you are really committed to increasing your supply, it is vital that you don’t skip any of these sessions, even overnight.
That’s all that you have to do! By sticking to these three simple steps, you signal your body to make more milk and can dramatically increase your supply.
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Tips to Make Power Pumping Easier
Just because the concept is simple, doesn’t mean that it’s easy to fit power pumping into your schedule. Although it’s one of the best ways to fix low milk supply, it’s often a pain to commit to for several days in a row.
Here are the tips that I use every time my supply dips and I add power pumping back into my routine for a few days:
Get comfortable and relax
Spending an hour pumping is a big time investment. Gather all of your supplies, some water, and snacks. Then turn on the TV, grab a good book, or peruse your phone to relax a little and help the time pass more quickly.
Prep your baby beforehand
It can be very stressful to fit in power pumping while you are at home caring for your baby. To make it go much smoother, try waiting until your baby is napping or when she’s playing. I loved putting my baby in his Boppy pillow so I could give him a bottle or play with him while I was pumping.
Invest in a nursing bra
This is a must-have to make power pumping easier. With a nursing bra, you free up your hands so you can actually do something while you are pumping instead of being completely tethered to your pump, counting down the minutes until you were done.
Optimize your pump settings
It’s important to use a hospital-grade pump AND learn how to use the settings to get the most out of your power pumping. I highly recommend bringing your pump to a lactation consultant before you start power pumping. They check to make sure everything fits right and can teach you how to use the stimulation and expression phases correctly. This helps to maximize how much milk you express, which will make your power pumping sessions much more efficient.
Be patient and diligent!
It takes your body a few days to adjust. Do a minimum of three days of power pumping with extra pumping/nursing sessions every 2-3 hours around the clock. Your body might need up to a week to adjust, so don’t quit before you give it enough time to boost your supply.
Give it a Try!
Now that you know a little more about power pumping, I encourage you to try it out if you’re struggling with low supply! I hope it will work as well for you as it has for me! Leave a comment below if you’ve tried power pumping.