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I’ve noticed something that really bothers me. There’s so much fake “science” and fake “news” and fake “articles” floating around today that it’s almost impossible to know what’s real and what’s not. We keep hearing about power pumping – which is a popular breast pumping method that moms are using to boost milk supply. We’ve seen schedules, tips, and do’s & don’ts for power pumping. But is power pumping even safe?
The idea behind power pumping
The idea behind power pumping is that it mimics a baby’s natural tendency to cluster feed. Have you ever experienced that? It’s like your baby just wants to nurse and nurse and nurse and nurse…. and only give you a few minutes of sweet relief before rooting around for more?
It’s so frustrating!
But it isn’t a personal attack. Or a sign that there’s something you’re doing wrong.
Babies cluster feed as they come into a growth spurt. And that sends a giant message to your boobs, saying “Hey! This kid is getting bigger! You better start giving him more milk!”
Related Post: Baby’s growth spurt survival guide
Well, since power pumping imitates the feeding pattern of a baby who’s having a growth spurt, it essentially tricks your titties into making more milk.
Why would anyone want to power pump?
So if cluster feeding can be so frustrating, it seems ridiculous that someone would want to do anything to mimic it. But if you have low milk supply, you’re probably willing to try just about anything to start making more milk.
And for moms who exclusively pump, or pump more than half of their baby’s milk, periodically power pumping will help you to keep up with his growing appetite. Because that tiny, sweet baby isn’t gonna drink only 4 ounces forever.
Related post: 1 Sneaky hack to pump more milk TODAY!
Some women power pump to quickly increase the size of their milk stash. Proponents claim that power pumping for a few days will boost your milk supply so that you get more milk from the same amount of pumping. So you can stash away more milk, faster.
How is it done?
I know the phrase “power pumping” makes it sound like you’re about to do something incredibly difficult. But the truth is, it’s super easy. It’s really no harder than regular pumping, only you do it on a schedule. Here’s the schedule:
Pump for 20 minutes
Rest for 10 minutes
Pump for 10 minutes
Rest for 10 minutes
Pump for 10 minutes
That schedule isn’t set in stone though. If you want to adjust those pump times up or down a bit, you totally can. This is just a guideline. Essentially, the more you pump, the more you’re going to increase your supply.
But please don’t go crazy and kill your nipples. Okay, promise?
Is power pumping safe?
Even though there are so many benefits to it, it’s still natural to ask “is power pumping safe?” There are some people who claim it isn’t.
Rest assured, as long as you use common sense, it’s perfectly safe. Essentially, take care of your breasts (if pumping hurts, stop!) and don’t try to get a milk supply strong enough to fill a swimming pool. When you power pump, you’re not using any different technique than regular pumping. And you’re not pumping for a crazy amount of time.
But just for funzies, let’s examine the claims of people who say power pumping isn’t safe:
Claim 1: It’s unnatural
Okay, I’m not sure what this means exactly. Are they talking about the machinery? Of
But if the “it’s unnatural” folks are saying that the act of somewhat-aggressively removing milk is unnatural – well, they’re just wrong about that too.
It’s natural. Just ask any mom who’s ever been camped on the couch for hours on end while her baby nurses and nurses and never seems satisfied.
When babies approach a growth spurt, they somewhat-aggressively remove milk all the time. That’s totally natural. And if anything, power pumping is less aggressive than a 3 month old determined to drain her mom from 6-10 PM every day.
Claim 2: It can hurt your milk supply
Nope. It will definitely NOT hurt your milk supply. The general rule of lactation is that the more milk you remove from the breasts, the more they’ll make. Since this type of pumping removes milk from the breast, it won’t decrease milk supply.
Related Post: 7 Signs of breastmilk oversupply
Now, there is a chance that it will cause a milk oversupply. If you’re already making plenty of milk, don’t power pump.
For one reason, you don’t want to end up engorged. Also, a breastmilk oversupply can lead to painful letdown, mastitis, tummy troubles for your baby, and baby weight issues. It’s n
Claim 3: You can damage your nipples
Okay, this part is true. You could damage your nipples.
You could also damage your nipples while exfoliating in the shower.
So here’s a friendly warning: use some common sense here. If it hurts, either you’re doing something wrong and need to readjust or you’ve been at it too long and need to give it a rest. If you start to feel some discomfort, try using nipple balm to act as a lubricant and soothe your breasts. But don’t push through any kind of breast pain when you’re pumping.
Power pumping boosts your milk supply by copycatting the way babies cluster feed at the start of a growth spurt. The pumping schedule isn’t quite as aggressive as a growing baby’s schedule, but it is aggressive enough to signal boobs to increase their milk output.
Although there are people who claim that it’s unnatural, that it can hurt your milk supply, and that it can damage your nipples, these aren’t arguments that hold much water.
If you’ve been asking “is power pumping safe,” then I’m happy to report that it is.
It is completely safe as long as you don’t continue to pump through breast pain. And as long as you’re not creating a problematic breastmilk oversupply.
Have you ever power pumped? Please comment below and tell me about your experience!
Mama Natural. Can power pumping save your milk supply? Find out now