Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Frustrated Mama Tip: Power Pumping to Increase Supply

Generally speaking, it takes most moms a few days to a week to see an increase from more frequent pumping. Milk is a supply/demand process - demand more milk and your body will make more milk. For moms with supply issues, it helps to pump in addition to nursing. The general idea is that to make more milk you must remove more milk. Power pumping is a way of boosting supply. It is basically adding a 10 minute extra session to your normal pumping schedule, using massage and compression. For us supplementing moms, that extra milk and extra demand/stimulation can really help!

The way I've always done power pumping is like this...
Pump as normal for 20 minutes or 5 minutes past the flow of milk, whichever is LONGER.
Stop. Massage for 5 minutes. (I also found using hot, wet compresses also helped.)
Pump again for 10 minutes using compression.

This mimics a growth spurt and if done a couple times a day for a few days to a week usually yields gains for most moms. Even if you do it and get NOTHING, it doesn't mean it isn't working. Also, some moms find that adding even one power pumping session a day will elicit another letdown. For some moms this is just a bit, but for others can be significant. Also, consider using hand expression after your regular pumping session. Some moms can actually hand express an oz or more after pumping, even if the pump isn't getting anything out.

For me, power pumping helped. And, I almost always got another little letdown. For us moms "short on milk", that extra 1/2 to 1 oz helped a lot. And, if I hand expressed, too - I might even be able to get more!

Good luck! Let me know how power pumping goes for you!

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