What Is Power Pumping?

Breastfeeding mothers think a lot about their supply. In the beginning they may be trying to regulate their supply, when they head back to work they might try to boost their supply, and later, once they're ready to be done nursing, they begin to think about decreasing their supply. If you’re a mom who’s currently trying to increase your milk supply you’ve probably heard the phrase power pumping.

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Image via Flickr/ Aaron

So, what is power pumping and how does it work? Power pumping is a method by which moms can increase their milk supply though a scheduling of back-to-back pumping that’s designed to stimulate their bodies to make more milk.

Before you start power pumping you should consider whether you really need to increase your supply. Many moms have a desire to increase their supply because they worry baby isn’t getting enough to eat. If your baby is gaining the proper amount of weight and is wetting the appropriate number of diapers, they’re likely getting enough to eat even if they nurse frequently or fuss after eating. Often frequent nursing is the norm for young babies or babies who are sick, teething, or in a growth spurt and post-nursing fussing may be caused by sleepiness, acid reflux, or general colic. If your baby truly isn’t getting enough to eat (a lactation consultant can help you make this determination) or you’d like to build a freezer stash for when you head back to work or go out of town, power pumping may be for you.

To power pump effectively you should choose a time you normally pump (or nurse) and, instead of pumping or nursing as normal, pump for 20 minutes, rest for 10 minutes, pump for 10 minutes, rest for 10 minutes and pump for a final 10 minutes. Pumping in this fashion mimics a cluster feeding baby and tells your body to make more milk. When you power pump for two or three days in a row your body will often boost the amount of milk that you make at that time of day. Power pumping can be effective, but it’s often exhausting! Be sure to drink enough water, eat enough calories, and rest as you need. If you’re still in search of ways to boost your supply, check in with your OBGYN or a lactation consultant. Good luck!

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What Is Power Pumping?

Julia Pelly has a master's degree in public health and works full time in the field of positive youth development. Julia loves hiking after work, swimming during the summer and taking long, cuddly afternoon naps with her two sons on the weekends. She is writing a memoir on pregnancy, motherhood, and sisterhood and lives in North Carolina, with her husband and two young boys. ... More

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