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Power Pumping 101: Tips, Techniques and Schedules

If you’re concerned about your milk production, power pumping could be beneficial. Increasing your breast milk supply through power pumping is often recommended and relatively simple to incorporate into your pumping routine. In this guide, we will dive into all the essential information for incorporating this technique in your breastfeeding journey.

woman pumping with a breast pump

Many breastfeeding moms question their milk supply from time to time.

While it’s important to work with a lactation consultant to determine the cause of milk supply issues, there are some techniques you can try – such as power pumping.

The technique of power pumping has proven effective in stimulating increased breast milk production for numerous moms.

This article aims to shed light on power pumping, elucidating its efficacy, methodology, and potential benefits. Furthermore, we’ll provide valuable insights into creating an optimal power pumping schedule that aligns with your goal of improving your breast milk supply.

Hi! 👋 I’m Katie, an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant I have helped thousands of moms worldwide navigate their breastfeeding journey since 2015. I can’t wait to help you! Consider checking out my 1:1 lactation support services or enrolling in one of our online breastfeeding courses today!

What is Power Pumping?

The concept of power pumping revolves around mimicking the pattern of cluster feeding. This practice encourages the body to initiate higher levels of breast milk production.

Increasing breast stimulation serves as a key catalyst for augmenting milk supply, and power pumping provides a structured approach to achieving this.

It’s important to note that the objective of power pumping isn’t necessarily to produce large amounts of milk immediately. Instead, power pumping functions by triggering the release of prolactin, a hormone vital for milk production. It also tells the body that more milk is being removed, so more milk is needed.

While immediate results aren’t typical, this technique sets in motion a process that often leads to visible outcomes within a few days.

You may also enjoy – How to Increase Milk Supply Fast

The Parallel of Cluster Feeding

Cluster feeding entails shorter, more frequent nursing sessions for breastfed babies. During cluster feeding, babies nurse intermittently, signaling to the body an increased demand for milk. This heightened frequency of breastfeeding prompts the body to ramp up milk production.

Power pumping is strategically designed to emulate cluster feeding, signaling to the body the need for higher milk output.

Guidelines for Power Pumping

To get started on power pumping…

  • You will want to find a time when you can sit and pump off and on for an hour.
  • You will then pump in intervals. Pumping for a certain amount of time and then resting and then pumping again. You can choose which pumping interval works best for you.
  • Be sure to use massage and compressions on your breast before and after pumping.

I strongly recommend booking a lactation consult with me virtually or at another IBCLC to make sure power pumping is the right choice for you!

Power Pumping Intervals and Schedule

Here is a suggested schedule for power pumping:

  • Pump for 20 minutes
  • Rest for 10 minutes
  • Pump for 10 minutes
  • Rest for 10 minutes
  • Pump for 10 minutes

After your power pumping session, you are done as this can replace a regular pump session. You can simply pump or nurse the next time you need to.

Power Pumping Alternative

It can be hard to sit down and power pump for an hour. If you find yourself in this situation, here is an alternative that many have found success with:

  1. Choose a 3-4 hour block of time
  2. Every hour, on the hour pump for 10 minutes
  3. Do this for that 3-4 hour block of time

How to Power Pump

Here are some tips on powr pumping:

  • If possible, use a double breast pump
  • You should get into a comfortable position and have something to entertain you – it can get a bit long! Watch your favorite show or read a book to help the time pass.
  • You will pump just as your normally would, though you don’t have to worry as much about the output as the stimulation, so you can skip the letdown mode if you want. Play around with the settings and make sure you are using settings that are comfortable enough to use off and on for an hour.
  • Then, just follow the schedule above (or find one that works well for you) and do it for an hour.

Best Pump for Power Pumping

You can really use whatever pump you have – including a manual pump (I wouldn’t recommend a suction pump like the Haakaa, though. It’s not really designed for those purposes).

My top picks are:

Power Pumping FAQ

How often should you power pump?

Generally speaking, you should only power pump once a day. You don’t want to get burnt out or start to resent the process.

Consider power pumping once a day for 3-5 days in a row and then reevaluate how it is going and if you are starting to see results.

What’s the best time of day to power pump?

It is really up to you and your schedule and what works best. First of all, you will want to decide on the time of day when you can sit and devote time to it. Most women may do it in the evening after they have put their baby down to bed. But it is entirely up to you and what your schedule is like.

Can I pump with both breasts simultaneously?

Yes, you can pump using both breasts at the same time. This is actually our preferred method if you can manage it!

How can I make power pumping more enjoyable?

If you are going to be pumping for an hour straight you will want to make sure you are somewhere comfortable. Whether that is sitting in a chair or on your bed- make sure you are content.

Before beginning gather anything you may need. Have a large glass or mug of water close by and any snacks that you might want. Then sit back, relax- if you can and watch TV, listen to a podcast, scroll on your phone or read a book! There is nothing wrong with taking this time for yourself.

I highly recommend using a hands-free pumping bra (my favorite is from Kindred Bravely – use the code 20TBM for 20% off).

How much milk should I get while power pumping?

A lot of people worry because they aren’t getting tons and tons of milk while power pumping. Try and separate getting lots of milk from the process. While yes, it’s totally fine and great if you are able to pump milk that entire time, not everyone can or will.

I hope that this will be helpful in teaching you more about power pumping. Be sure to let me know in the comments what your experience has been with power pumping.

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