Children grow faster when they are babies than at any other age. According to the Mayo Clinic, your baby may double their birth weight by the time they’re about five months old. That’s a lot of growing, which means they need plenty of nutrients.
To ensure they get everything they need, babies go through what is called cluster feeding phases, where they feed more frequently over a short period of time. When this happens, pumping moms need to match this feeding schedule by increasing their breast milk supply.
Power pumping, also known as cluster pumping, mimics your baby’s natural feeding cycle with a breast pump. Our bodies produce breast milk on a supply-and-demand basis and when you empty your breasts more frequently, your body works to produce more milk. Power pumping is a way of doing this with a breast pump rather than through breastfeeding.
We can encourage our bodies to increase milk production through diet and nutritional supplements called galactagogues. While these are natural and safe, they can sometimes have an adverse effect for moms.These supplements may help to increase your milk supply but not to the extent that power or cluster pumping can.
How Do You Power Pump?
First, pick a convenient time where you can devote an hour to pumping over the course of a few days. This allows your body to really reap the benefits of this pumping schedule. Make sure your pump is in good working condition, or charged if you use a cordless pump. Find a comfortable spot where you can relax and pump. Having water and a snack on hand helps as well.
Over the course of one hour, you’ll pump for a number of minutes, and then take a break for a number of minutes. Having something to watch, read, or do can not only help pass the time but also pace your pumping.
Follow this schedule for a power pumping hour:
Pump for 20 Minutes
Rest for 10 Minutes
Pump for 10 Minutes
Rest for 10 Minutes
Pump for 10 Minutes
Sometimes moms watch an episode of their favorite show and use the commercial breaks to time their pumping and resting phases. Other moms set timers on their phone so they can zone out and enjoy whatever it is they’re doing.
Can Massage Help with Power Pumping?
You bet your bra it can. Massage can be a powerful and healthy tool for expressing breastmilk. Gentle compression in the form of massage helps to stimulate your letdown, increasing milk flow and encouraging your body to express more milk.
The Lilu Massage Bra lets you go hands-free while you pump. Hold your baby, read a book or catch up on a craft, all while reaping the benefits of gentle breast massage.
Other Reasons a Mom Can Power Pump
Mimicking a cluster feeding baby isn’t the only perk of this pumping power hour. New moms needing to establish their milk supply are often instructed to power pump. Some moms might experience a decrease in their milk supply and can use this hour-long method of pumping to help reestablish that supply.
A decrease in milk supply can be due to illness, medications, changes in your body or a number of other reasons. There are some breastfeeding moms who can benefit from this proven routine if their baby becomes nipple confused or has trouble latching.
Building a freezer supply is another solid reason to try power pumping.. These handy little bricks of milk are great in case of an emergency, to use in supplement feedings, or to incorporate into baby food (especially if you’re making your own).
You can also use net feeders and frozen chunks of breastmilk to make popsicles for teething babies. Some moms build this store for future use, like milk baths to treat eczema.
Power pumping can also help moms who have stopped breastfeeding to re-lactate. For moms with babies in the NICU, power pumping is encouraged because it allows them to get a four-hour long stretch of sleep before having to pump every two hours again starting the next morning.
How Many Times a Day Should You Power Pump?
Like most aspects of pumping, this depends upon you and your body. Some moms find it okay to do it once a day, while others find that they need two sessions per day.
What If I Don’t See a Result After Two Days?
Some moms report that it can take them up to four to seven days to see the results. If you are not seeing results after two days, we recommend that you consult a lactation specialist to determine whether you should continue this schedule for a longer amount of time.
Does Power Pumping Affect the Rest of Your Pumping Schedule?
It does not. Go through the rest of your day (before and after cluster pumping) as normal. Be sure you don’t miss a regularly scheduled pumping session.
Is There Anything Else I Should Do to Prepare for Power Pumping?
Drink plenty of water and get enough to eat. You are essentially asking your body to make more milk. In order to make more milk, your body needs more water and nutrition to do so.
For common myths and even more tips visit BeauGen’s Blog.
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BeauGen was founded after a first-time mom realized just how much pain and discomfort was involved with the commitment to breastfeed. There were so few existing solutions in the baby industry that addressed the difficulties of pumping, despite a surprisingly high number of moms who shared stories of painful, uncomfortable breast pumping.
The amazing moms we spoke to inspired us to take matters into our own hands and design a product by moms, for moms. Our first product, the breast pump cushion, was developed to bring a new, truly comfortable breast pumping experience to moms, and it has received overwhelmingly positive responses ever since our launch in 2015.