Power Pumping

power pumping Tutorial

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power pump

boost your milk supply: A guide to power pumping

Are you worried about your milk supply?
Nikki Mather at The Baby Element Clinic discuss power pumping as an option to boost milk supply.

Breastfeeding is a beautiful and natural way to nourish your baby, but sometimes, milk supply can become a concern. The good news is, your body has an incredible ability to increase production – and you have the power to help it along! This blog post dives into a technique called power pumping, which can be a helpful tool for boosting your breastmilk supply.

What is power pumping?

Imagine your milk supply as a restaurant. The more frequently we ask the Waiter to deliver milk, the more the kitchen gets the message to produce more milk as demand is higher. Power pumping mimics this principle by simulating a cluster feeding session, where your baby feeds frequently in short bursts, at regular intervals. Here’s a breakdown of how power pumping mimics cluster feeding:

  • Short Pumping Intervals: Swap one of your usual pumping sessions for a power pumping session, involving shorter pump sessions with rest breaks in between all condensed into 1 hour. This tricks your body into thinking your baby is feeding more often, prompting it to increase milk production.
  • Limited & Intense Duration: While the total session might take an hour, the actual pumping time is limited within each interval to a total of 40 minutes. This focused approach helps stimulate milk production without a gentle break in between.

why power pumping can be useful

There are several reasons why a Lactation Consultant might recommend power pumping:

    • Low Milk Supply: If you’re experiencing low milk supply, power pumping can be a helpful tool to get your production back on track. This can be due to various reasons, such as separation from your baby, birth complications, medical issues, latching difficulties, infrequent feeding schedules, tongue tie, you are exclusively pumping, or may have insufficient glandular tissue (hypoplasia)
    • Increased Milk Needs: Perhaps you’re planning a trip away from your baby, or returning to work and want to build a stash of stored milk. Power pumping can help you temporarily increase or maintain your supply for such situations.

how to power pump

Now you have read the concept and potential benefits of power pumping, let’s get down to the practical steps:

  • Gather Your Supplies: You’ll need a double electric pump in good working order. Ensure the flanges fit properly – a snug but comfortable fit is key for optimal milk expression. Grab some snacks and water, and sit in a relaxing environment with music, a podcast or your favourite series on the TV.
  • Plan for an Hour: While the actual pumping time is broken down into intervals, aim to dedicate a full hour for the power pumping session
  • Multiple Sessions: You can incorporate 1-3 power pumping sessions into your day, with at least an hour between sessions. However, prioritize feeding your baby directly whenever possible and don’t power pump if baby is due a feed in the next 90 minutes. 

Realistic Expectations: It can take anywhere from 4 days to 4 weeks to see a noticeable increase in your milk supply with power pumping. Be patient and celebrate every drop! Once you reach your desired supply level, you can gradually decrease the number of power pumping sessions or stop altogether if your baby is effectively emptying your breasts. Speak to a Lactation Consultant for a tailored plan for you. 


  • The Power Pumping Rhythm: 

Pump for 20 Minutes: Start by pumping for 20 minutes on the highest comfortable suction level.
Rest for 10 Minutes: Take a 10-minute break to relax and allow your body to replenish its milk supply.
Pump for 10 Minutes: Return to pumping for another 10 minutes.
Rest for 10 Minutes: Take another 10-minute break.
Pump for 10 Minutes: Finish with a final 10-minute pumping session.


Important Considerations Before Power Pumping

  • Consultation: It’s crucial to consult with a qualified feeding specialist, such as an IBCLC (International Board Certified Lactation Consultant) or Breastfeeding Counsellor to determine if power pumping is the right approach for you. They can assess your individual situation and guide you through the process effectively.
  • Low Supply Isn’t Always the Issue: Sometimes, anxiety about milk supply can stem from normal newborn behaviour.
    Wet nappies & frequent stools (minimum 2 per day) are a good indicator of adequate intake.
    Always consult a GP, Health Visitor, Midwife or Lactation Consultant if you have concerns about your baby’s weight gain or hydration.
  • Power Pumping Isn’t a Magic Bullet: While power pumping can be effective, it doesn’t work for everyone. Some mothers may not see a significant increase, while others might find it uncomfortable to pump for the duration.
    There are other strategies to try first, and power pumping should be used as a supplement, not a replacement for support. There are many factors for low supply, so investigation into why your supply has not jumped up initially is a good idea to get the most out of your pumping sessions. 

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