There’s growing buzz around the concept of “power pumping.” If you are a breastfeeding mom who is regularly using a double electric breast pump, it’s worth understanding what it is so you can decide if it fits into your life.
The idea behind power pumping is to trick your body into producing more milk by rapidly emptying the breasts. It replicates what babies do when they are “cluster feeding” which is when baby is on and off the breast often so as to signal to your body to increase supply. It’s not meant to replace your normal pumping routine; rather, it’s designed to enhance your milk supply within an established routine.
To power pump, find an hour in the day that you can pump uninterrupted. (Do your best to find time in the morning because that’s when many women’s milk supplies are at their highest.) Within that hour, use this pumping pattern:
1. Pump for 20 minutes, rest for 10 minutes
2. Pump for 10 minutes, rest for 10 minutes
3. Pump for 10 minutes.
Throughout the rest of the day, pump the normal length of time when you would typically pump, ideally replicating baby’s feeding schedule if you are apart or the usual times that you would be pumping (for example, pump for 15 minutes every 3 hours).
So why would you power pump? It’s an option for pumping women who are concerned about milk supply and want to give their supply a boost.* Before you try this, make sure you actually have a supply issue. Many moms are concerned they have low supply although they’re actually producing a normal and healthy amount of breast milk. Check in with a local IBCLC to see if supply is a real issue of yours and if power pumping is the best option for you.
You typically only need to power pump for 2-3 days before you see a result. Then you can return to your normal pumping routine until you feel like it needs another little kick start.
*Research shows that the BEST way to boost supply is to nurse at the breast often. We know this isn't an option for every mom, but opt for breastfeeding over pumping whenever possible.