The American Academy Of Pediatrics, or AAP has provided us with all the facts about how breastfeeding is important for a baby and in what ways it protects the baby against ear infections, respiratory tract infections, and urinary tract infections and lowers the chance of childhood obesity.
Learning about the benefits of breastfeeding might influence you as well to breastfeed the little one you recently had. While going through the benefits, it feels almost magical. But when you consider nursing practically, it might not seem magical and might not appeal to you. In fact, when the supply drops, it might create a fuss in your mind.
It happens often that babies find it difficult to latch on and sometimes even refuse a breast. If you fall into the category where you are facing a drop in supply like other mothers at a point, it could make nursing and pumping difficult and sometimes impossible.
A sudden drop in your milk supply can end the breastfeeding days, but it does not have to be so. Some women say that have overcome this situation with the help of power pumping.
What Is Power Pumping?
Power pumping is the process of pumping that replicates cluster feeding. It’s like when your baby feeds in small and frequent intervals, telling you that your body needs to produce some more of it. Similar to these rapid short feedings, power pumping expresses the breast milk in various short and back-to-back sessions.
Milk production is mostly about supply and demand. The more you nurse your baby or pump milk, the more it produces. This is a strategy mothers use to increase the production of milk for their babies.
What Could Be The Reasons Behind Choosing Power Pumping?
This strategy of power pumping, which is like cluster feeding, sends your milk factory a signal that it needs to produce more milk for the baby. If you notice there is a sudden decrease in your production or want to increase the production, power pumping dedicatedly for a few days can do the trick.
Power pumping can help you in almost all situations and boost the supply when you feel there is a dip in the supply or when it is not producing enough. This includes:
- The milk supply is not fast.
- If you want to maintain an adequate supply during the time when you are not nursing much or like you used to do. It could be because the baby is sick, or you are sick and choosing not to feed them directly.
- If you are under medication, which is decreasing the supply as a side effect.
- If you have decided to go back to work.
- You want to stash it for some reason and freeze it.
- It is time to give your baby solid food, so you are reducing nursing time, but you want to stay safe.
- Maybe you were feeding your baby formula and now want to start nursing or go back to nursing.
- You want to induce lactation because you are having a baby via surrogacy or adoption.
How Can You Power Pump?
Power pumping is nothing different than regular pumping, it just follows a different schedule. Instead of pumping in longer intervals, like three to four hours, as you mostly do in exclusive pumping, you have to pump more frequently in this scenario. You have to pump in short intervals within the span of an hour.
It might seem a little intense or difficult to follow the process of power pumping. But this is something that will give you results in the long run. Most woman notices an increase in their milk production after following the power pumping session daily for a minimum of three to seven days. When you see that happening, you can relax and go back to the original schedule.
If you are starting power pumping, you can follow this pumping schedule.
- Pump – 20 minutes
- Rest – 10 minutes
- Pump – 10 minutes
- Rest – 10 minutes
- Pump – 10 last minutes
For the other parts of the day, nurse and pump like you normally used to do, and then for the other part of the day, follow your natural nursing or pumping schedule which you normally follow.
The best you can do is get a double-electric breast pump. Electric pumps have more power and are easy to handle when compared to their manual counterparts. And pumping both breasts simultaneously cuts short the actual time of the pumping session. This also stimulates the production of prolactin, the milk-making hormone.
A Few Tips And Tricks For Power Pumping
Pumping, more so, power pumping, can drain you a lot. But, if you plan it ahead of time, it can help you stay at your best and, as a result, make the sessions more productive. Try to:
- Stay hydrated– Drink a lot of water before you start and continue to drink little by little throughout the day.
- Eat well – A nursing mom needs to get the right amount of nutrition for herself and the baby. Try not to skip any meals and keep some wholesome snacks close.
- Tap your support system – If that is something that is not going to happen, then ask for help from someone else who will take care of the baby for a while when you are power pumping.
- Even better – Take a rest before your power-pumping session.
- Encourage your let-down – For a little extra help, you can look at a picture of the little one while you are pumping or even think about snuggling with them, which can get the milk flowing. Or you can apply a little bit of hot compress for 5-10 minutes or take a hot shower. Massaging the breasts can also help.
- Reward yourself – While you are pumping, try to read a book or just relax with the help of your favorite Netflix show. You need it.
- Check your pump – Pumping should not make you uncomfortable. If it is becoming painful, it could happen that the flange is too big or too small, so swap it with some other size. If stil it is making you uncomfortable, consult a lactation specialist.
- Don’t push yourself too hard – If you are not feeling well, then skip a day. You do not have to push yourself too hard for it.
If your milk supply suddenly drops, it might make you emotional or frustrated, and more so if you are not okay with quitting breastfeeding just yet. Rather than just giving up, try to power the pump, and that might give you an effective result. Do not lose hope.
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