Although mother nature had made it a point to have babies and breasts work on the principle of supply and demand, many breastfeeding moms still worry about their milk supply. Some mummies however despite their best efforts, experience issues with low supply. Period when babies is experiencing growth spurt will certainly add-on to the stress to most mummies worrying about their supply.
Pumping often does help with the increase of milk supply as they stimulate the brain to “produce more milk” however, despite regular pumping session, many mummies make not see results as quickly as they had hoped. There is another way of pumping that might help this group of mummies – Power Pumping.
What is Power Pumping
Power pumping is basically mimicking the frequent feeding of a baby experiencing a growth spurt. The longer and more vigorous suckling motion during these times helps trigger the release of prolactin from the pituitary gland which will then translate it into “baby needs more milk, please produce more!” message to the brain. Power pumping which are also sometimes called cluster pumping is a routine of pumping in a series of 10 minute sessions – 10 minutes pumping, 10 minutes off – over the course of 1 hour, 1-3 sessions each day.
Using this routine alone or in combination with other measures to increase supply – latching/pumping more often, use of galactagogues etc may slowly build up milk supply over time. Many mummies may find that the milk they collect at first to be very little during these sessions but their supply catches up with the baby’s demand after some time. So, how much milk you collect is not so much of an importance during such sessions.
You may not see much milk during the actual power pumping routine but that’s okay, it’s all about the supply and demand and this is stimulating your breasts to make more milk. This routine not meant to replace your normal pumping routine; rather, it’s designed to enhance your milk supply within an established routine. For example if your normal pumping routine is at 12 pm and 3pm, you can add a power pumping routine at around 1.30pm.
When can I see result
Some mummies see results as soon as the next 48 hours while others take as long as a week to see the increase in supply. Do not be dishearten if yours takes a little longer. Perseverance and determination is the key to a successful breastfeeding journey.
Tips on Power Pumping
Pumping can be very stressful and boring but the good news is that Power Pumping can be done anytime ( I love to do my routine when my baby is sleeping) . By now all mummies who are pumping and latching will know that the main key to make the session better is to ensure that you are as comfortable as possible.
Here are some tips that could help you through these routines.
- Using a breast pump – hand expressing / manual pump is a no go as this requires 1 hour of constant pumping. Do use an electric pump as they are generally more effective, especially where the pump is designed to mimic the suction of a baby. if you can, buy a hands free pumping bra or bra clip it will really help too.
- Keep a stopwatch / set alarm in your phone – to keep track of the time
- Have a cup of water nearby – Key of producing milk is drinking water isn’t it?
- Make yourself very comfortable – sit at your favourite sofa/ couch as you will be in the same position for quite some time
- Set yourself up with some entertainment. – My favourite method is pumping when I’m watching korean drama. I pump when the show is on and rest when commercial is on. But a book or simply using your phone might do the trick too.
- Latch one one side pump on the other – Research shows that the best way to boost supply is to nurse at the breast often.
Pumping During Night Feeds
Another frequent questions that mummies ask is if they should pump during the night feeds.
As prolactin levels are at the highest during night and pumping routine at night-time will help push prolactin level up, pumping around the clock is certainly good if you can do it. But another key to higher milk production is getting enough rest. Getting adequate sleep is important to your overall health and well-being.
So, the trick is to be flexible in balancing the two. Sleep at every opportunity in the daytime, and if it is time to pump but you have a chance to take a nap and really need it, choose the nap instead of pumping.
If at all possible, try to plan for at least one pumping session in the middle of the night. If you don’t plan a night-time session but you do happen to awaken in the middle of the night, use that opportunity. If nothing else, the sedating effects of oxytocin being released while pumping will probably help you get back to sleep when you are done.