Breastfeeding can be a tad challenging for a new mother, especially if her baby is exclusively given breast milk and she is not able to produce as much milk as she would like. This is where power-pumping comes in. Healthline defines it as a technique that is “designed to mimic cluster feeding“, which can “encourage your body to begin producing more breast milk”. Cluster feeding is when a baby wants more feeds every few hours; these feeds may have a short duration.
It is believed that power pumping can produce similar results as it helps the mother pump more frequently so that her body increases the milk supply naturally. On Instagram, actor Neha Dhupia‘s breastfeeding and parenting page Freedom To Feed recently highlighted this.
A post explained a step-by-step guide to increase the supply of milk by means of power pumping. It explained a 60-minute process, during which the mother has to pump for 20 minutes right after nursing the baby.
This is followed by a 10-minute break, during which she needs to drink a lot of water. Then, there is 10 minutes of pumping, followed by 10 minutes of rest and 10 more minutes of pumping. This has to be repeated at least once a day to increase breast milk supply.
Explaining this further, Dr Krishna Prasad JR, consultant — paediatrician, Motherhood Hospitals, Electronic City, Bangalore told indianexpress.com that the technique of breast pumping depends on the body, and there are no general rules to it. “In this technique, you have to pump breast milk more frequently in shorter time spans, so that your body will respond by stimulating the production of breast milk,” he said.
The doctor added that one needs to give it time and take breaks while they are at it. “Doing it without breaks can lead to breast soreness or nipple pain.”
“The length of the power-pumping session will depend on the mother’s body. Some women may see great results with 1-hour sessions, others may require 2 hours a day for a week to see an increase in supply. You will have to follow this schedule for at least one week. Some mothers begin to see an increase in their breast milk supply after a week; some must power-pump for a couple of weeks to see the changes,” said Dr Krishna.
Speaking about the other ways to increase breast milk production, he said there are many nutritious foods that can be added to the diet. Some of them include garlic ginger, fenugreek, fennel, papaya, chickpeas etc.
“You will also need to look for factors affecting milk production, like emotional or physical instability. You can try inculcating lifestyle changes like limiting or avoiding alcohol and smoking, regular exercising, etc. Many mothers look towards supplements or prescribed medications to increase their supply, but power pumping is always recommended for better and faster results. It is also less risky as compared to medications that may come with symptoms like nausea, sleep problems, headaches and relentlessness,” the doctor concluded.