Power pumping or cluster pumping is a breast pumping technique that mimics frequent feeding sessions with minimal breaks (cluster feeding). This may increase the milk letdown and stimulate breast milk production by emptying the breasts frequently.
Power pumping may boost the milk supply in some women, while some may require further assistance. You may seek help from a board-certified lactation consultant to have an individualized analysis.
Read this post to learn about the reasons, methods, tips, and tricks to enhance 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
- Sleep problems
- Chronic stress
- 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.
- The pumping time and the rest time can be changed based on your convenience and outcome. For instance, you may increase the pumping and resting time to 15 minutes each or reduce it to five minutes each, depending on the results of power pumping.
- 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. If you notice no favorable outcomes despite adequate power pumping, consult a board-certified lactation consultant.