What is Power Pumping? Ways to Increase Breast Milk Supply

Power pumping. A phrase I love to hate. I had a hard time breastfeeding, I talk about it here and here if you are interested in more on my feeding tips and experience. 

Power pumping was a thing for me – a real thing – a lot of the time. So what is power pumping? It is interval training for your boobs. You pump on and off for intervals of time for about an hour once or twice a day. More than that and you’ll probably begin hating life a little bit so don’t overdo it. 

How do I begin power pumping? You ask. Well, it’s easy! Ha. Just find an hour of time to sit down at your pump at intervals that work well for you. Easy right? With a new born – not so much – but do your best, mama. 

A recommendation of a power pumping schedule: 20 minutes on, 10 minutes off, 15 minutes on, 10 minutes off, 10 minutes on, 10 minutes off. Then repeat. It doesn’t have to be precise and you can adjust it as you see fit. After all – power pumping is like trying to replicate cluster feedings and your baby is precise and exact with timing when they cluster feed anyway. Just make sure to do it long enough that your body understands it has a supply and demand problem – your demanding more supply! As the theory goes, baby staying on the breast tells your body that there is a higher demand, which is suppose to lead to an increase in milk supply. Same idea. 

If your power pumping (or just, regular pumping) and nothing is coming – don’t give up. Keep going. Keep telling your body that it needs to produce, produce, produe. Your goal is another letdown, but if you can’t get there, keep telling your body that’s the goal team

Power pumping isn’t often fruitful that day, ugh. Of course. How could things be so “easy”. It usually takes a few days for your milk production to increase and your body to understand the demand at hand. Some say pumping today is for milk tomorrow (or the next day, or the day after that…). Try to pump for at least a couple days in a row, even a week if you can get there, before reassessing the situation. Everyone’s results from power pumping will vary person to person – try not to compare your outcome to other mamas. 

Remember, breast milk is great, amazing, wonderful – but mom and baby’s happiness is most important. 

For more on products and practices for increased milk supply, visit my recommendations here.  For pumping at work, visit my post here.

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