Written by Aparna Hari
After childbirth, your life will change completely. It will never be a calm and peaceful night’s sleep for at least about a year. As you will have to sit and hold your baby every 2/3 hours to breastfeed no matter how tired you feel. Breastfeeding is the most vital job you will have to do immediately after your childbirth. And this will not be an easy task. But the problem heightens when there is a lack of supply of breastmilk. This is where power pumping needs to come into play
When faced with a lack of breastmilk supply, you will have to feed your baby more than 12 times a day to fill their tummies properly. The flow of breast milk normally increases as you nurse your baby regularly. But if the baby shows reluctance to do the effort of sucking milk or if you are a working mother who cannot breastfeed frequently then the milk flow will drop. In such a situation to meet up the need, you can do power pumping. Using a power pump, you can both stimulate your breasts to make more milk and use the pumped milk for later at the same time. Here is what you must know about power pumping.
In This Article
Power pumping is the process of initiating more milk production by artificially stimulating the breasts. In power pumping, a pumping mechanism is used to pump your breastmilk in a bottle. It creates the same mechanism in your body when you cluster feed (frequently feeding the baby with fewer time gaps).
In power pumping, by creating frequent suction at your areola part you send the message to your body that more milk production is required. Your body in response will release more prolactin and oxytocin to produce and release more milk.
Mothers need to consider power pumping as it is time-saving, effortless and effective. If you feel that your milk supply is not up to the mark and your baby remains hungry after feeding, then you must try it.
A lot of factors can impact your milk flow. Stress, illness, eating habits, etc. Working mothers do not get much time to breastfeed. Sometimes the baby faces difficulty getting a proper latch. Also, if you top-feed your baby or use formula milk frequently then your baby will gradually show reluctance to have breastmilk. As a result, your milk flow will naturally slow down. Thus, to boost your milk supply again you can try power pumping.
Power pumping is absolutely safe as long as you follow a few precautions. Do not use this technique if you have enough milk supply that is sufficient to feed your baby. Remember not to over-pump as this can lead to overproduction of milk. Too much of milk production can cause you to experience conditions such as heavy and full breasts, infections, and conditions such as mastitis. Also, be careful with the suction power when you are working with an electric pump. Using excessive suction power to pump out milk can cause problems and also lead to breast tissue damage.
Power pumping essentially mimics the process of cluster feeding. Let’s say your baby is cluster feeding, meaning that they seem to be hungry all the time and demanding milk with more frequency than normal. In this case, the brain gets a signal that the baby needs more milk. The body produces more hormones which will allow the production of more milk to meet the baby’s increased milk requirements.
Similarly, through power pumping, you are stimulating your breasts to produce more milk which sends a signal to the brain, resulting in increased hormone production which will result in an increased breast milk supply.
[Read : Cluster Feeding In Babies]
To power pump breast milk and get an effective result, follow these steps:
1. Wash and clean the flanges and bottles of the pump.
2. Take the cleaned flanges of the pump and put your nipples at the center of each flange.
3. Switch on the pump at a slow speed so that it can mimic the suction motion of the baby
4. Now follow your preferable pumping schedule. Here is some pumping schedule you can try:
Try this one-hour session one or two times per day. Another power pump session that you can follow is:
This is a 25-minute session. So, you will have to repeat it 4 to 5 times daily to get a good result.
You can pick the schedule suitable for you and spend at least one hour daily on power pumping. For better results, you can spend one more hour repeating the same schedule anytime you prefer. The frequency of power pumping depends on your body’s response to it. For some mothers one-hour sessions for a few days give excellent results, for some, it can take 2-hour sessions for a week or two to increase the milk flow.
For power pumping, electronic power pumps are more efficient than manual ones. With dual electric automatic power pumping set up, you can sit and boost your milk production while having some snacks or watching T.V. You can also try manual pumps as they are cheaper than electric ones, but they will make your hands tired soon and take more time too.
Also, while choosing breast pumps go for your trusted brand which uses BPA-free non-toxic plastic.
[Read : How to Choose the Right Breast Pump For Your Baby?]
Pumping breast milk is a tricky process. A wrong method or constant tries can make your breasts and nipples sore. As a result, you may feel pain while breastfeeding your baby. Don’t worry. Here are some tips for you to make your pumping sessions comfortable.
[Read : How Much Water To Drink When Breastfeeding?]
The advantages of power pumping are:
The disadvantages of power pumping are:
You need to stop power pumping when you get the required milk flow. You can feel that your baby is getting enough milk with little effort. Your baby is satisfied after each breastfeeding session. Then you can stop power pumping and focus entirely on breastfeeding.
So, power pumping is an effective way to increase breast milk for your baby. It is a very good solution when you have a premature baby, or a baby with a cleft palate and poor latch. But if your baby is cluster feeding and you are having a good supply of breastmilk then there is no need for power pumping for you. Power pumping then can cause an overflow of breast milk. Always consult with your doctor before trying anything new.
Yes, pumping helps to clear milk ducts. If your baby has a poor latch and does not drain out entire breastmilk, then clogged ducts occur. To clear ducts, you can also apply a heating pad or a warm cloth.
Though you can try power pumping anytime you prefer, the best time is the morning, as your milk supply will be more in the morning than in the evening.
Yes, to get effective results you can try pumping every 2 hours for the initial two to 3 days. After this, you can shift to pumping once or twice a day.
Yes, you must follow your pumping schedule even if milk does not come out. The constant stimulation will eventually make your body work more for milk production and the condition will resolve next time.
Pumping too much can harm your breasts. It can cause much more milk production than needed. As a result, blocked milk ducts, engorgement, and mastitis can occur.
Read Also: Exclusive Pumping – Breastfeeding Without Nursing
Her experience in impactful writing combined with her background in Home Sciences makes Aparna the perfect candidate for content writing in the pregnancy and parenting niche.Read more.
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