Power Pumping to Increase Breastmilk Supply

Power Pumping

Power PumpingWhat is Power Pumping?

Power Pumping is a method to increase your breastmilk supply. It mimics how your child stimulates your supply through cluster feeding, by pumping several times within a short time span. Breastmilk production is based on supply and demand, so adding a power pumping session to your day increases the demand for your breastmilk and can in turn increase your supply. 

If you feel you are struggling with your milk supply, I would urge you to seek advice from a lactation consultant or similar professional. I am sharing my experience and advice here on power pumping, but while I am an experienced breastfeeding and pumping mom, I do not hold a medical degree and this shouldn’t be interpreted as medical advice.

How to Power Pump?

A power pumping session should be in addition to your normal breastfeeding and pumping routine. The idea is to increase demand for breastmilk to stimulate additional production. A typical power pumping session lasts about one hour, so you will need to plan to block out this time.

Milk production is often highest in the morning, so this can be a good time to power pump. I always chose to power pump in the afternoon, though, since my production was lower at that time of day. I wanted to stimulate my supply for the fussy evenings/ cluster feeding that would happen before bedtime.

Power pumping will be most efficient with a double electric breast pump, since you can pump from both breasts at once. After 2-3 days of power pumping, you should see an increase in your supply.

Power Pumping Routine

To power pump, follow this routine.

One Power Pumping Session (Total Time = 60 Minutes):

  • Pump for 20 minutes, or until breasts are empty.
  • Rest for 10 minutes.
  • Pump for 10 minutes (you might not express any milk, but that’s ok – you’re still stimulating production)
  • Rest for 10 minutes
  • Pump for 10 minutes (again, you might not express any milk)

To further stimulate your milk production, while pumping you can try breast massage, or use heat therapy on your breasts. I also recommend a hands-free pumping bra if you use an electric pump so you aren’t stuck holding the pump to your chest for so long! (Disclosure: these are affiliate links)

You might also like these lactation-boosting & pumping tips:

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Breast Pumping & Breastfeeding Pain Relief

breastfeeding nipple pain

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. These are all products I personally paid for myself and use (this is not sponsored content) and all opinions are 100% my own.

Whether you have nipple pain from breastfeeding directly, pumping, or both, these soothing products will help you. It is important to identify the source of the breastfeeding pain so it does not recur, but these products will provide relief while working to fix the cause of any discomfort. Item 2, Silverette Nipple Cups, are my absolute favorite – I hope you like them, too!

1. Bamboobies Boob-Ease Breast Pillows

Boob-Ease Breast Pillows provide all natural breastfeeding pain relief. They are made of bamboo and cotton and stuffed with natural flaxseeds. You can heat them or cool them to soothe pain from breastfeeding or pumping. Boob-Ease are also made in the USA!

2. Silverette Silver Nipple Cups

This is by far my favorite product to ease pain from breastfeeding and pumping.  They are a bit more expensive than other products for breastfeeding pain, but I think they are 100% worth it. They never wear out so you can use them for years. Silver has natural healing properties so wearing these over your nipples between pumping/ feeding sessions will keep your nipples in great condition.

3. Earth Mama Angel Baby Natural Nipple Butter

This Earth Mama Angel Baby product is a natural, organic, and vegan nipple butter. I use this as well as lanolin (see below) to avoid nipple pain from breastfeeding and pumping. It is a blend of cocoa butter, shea butter, mango butter and calendula, so it really promotes healing if you have nipple damage.


4. Lanolin Cream

Lanolin is a must-have for me as a pumping mom because I also breastfeed my son directly when we’re together. Lanolin cream helps to avoid cracked, chafed or sore nipples. If you have nipple damage, lanolin will also promote healing. I like to apply lanolin after pumping – although a properly-fitted pump should not rub or chafe the nipples at all, it is soothing to apply lanolin regularly. Note, lanolin is derived from sheep’s wool, so the Earth Mama Angel Baby product above is a good plant-based alternative if you want to avoid animal byproducts.

5. Medela Hydrogel Pads

Hydrogel pads provide cooling moisture relief with glycerol. They are an amazing product for breastfeeding pain. The gel pads promote healing if nipples are chafed, cracked, or otherwise damaged, and they are also soothing through the cool moisture.

6. Medela SoftShells for Sore Nipples

Medela SoftShells are designed to protect your nipples while wearing a bra. You can wear them between breastfeeding/pumping sessions to prevent chafing and allow air to circulate around your nipples. SoftShells help your nipples heal faster if they are cracked or chafed. The shells also collect any milk from leaky breasts, so be sure to point the air holes upward so the milk doesn’t leak out!


7. Lansinoh Thera-Pearl Hot / Cool Breast Pads

These breast therapy pads can be chilled in the freezer or heated in the microwave. If you have nipple pain from vasospasm, clogged ducts, or mastitis, these will provide wonderful heat therapy. Freezing them for cold therapy is great to ease pain from engorgement or to soothe tender nipples. Aside from soothing breastfeeding pain, the pads can also be used when pumping – warming them and placing them around your pump flanges helps stimulate letdown and milk-flow.

breastfeeding nipple pain

I hope this list of products helps you find something to ease breast pumping and/or breastfeeding pain. Silverette Cups are my favorite product – what is your favorite? What works for you to avoid breastfeeding and breast pumping pain or to heal damaged nipples?

 

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Pump at Work Efficiently

pump at work efficiently

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. All opinions are 100% my own.

I Don’t Like to Waste Time Pumping

I love pumping because I know it allows me to feed my son the best milk I can offer him. Day to day, though, pumping feels like a chore. Assembling pump parts multiple times, getting dressed and undressed, HOPING I don’t spill any milk. Pumping is never the highlight of my day.

My goal is to pump as efficiently as possible. I don’t like to waste time, especially if it means I could get held up in the office and not get home in time to put my son to bed. Over time I developed my own specific routine and I encourage any pumping mom to do so.

pump at work efficiently

Develop a Pumping Routine and Pack Your Pump Bag Well

It doesn’t matter what your routine includes – you’ll see I’ve laid mine out in some detail below, but it doesn’t have to be this involved. The point is, if you follow the same set of steps each time you pump, you will be able to pump quickly.

You’ll also want to pack your pump bag carefully each day. Yes, this also feels like a chore sometimes, but it isn’t fun to get set up to pump and realize you’re missing something essential, like milk collection bottles or even the pump itself. You can read about my pump bag essentials here.

My Pumping Routine

So here is the routine I follow – yes, it goes beyond the simple pumping session. As I wrote this I realized my entire day – not just my time in the office when I’m pumping – is centrered around pumping!

Before Work

Step 1 – Getting Dressed for Work. Wear a nursing bra, button down, and if it’s cold out, a cardigan. Why so specific? Because I don’t want to actually remove my shirt to pump. I unbutton, put my simple wishes hands free pumping bra on, and that’s it. I don’t sit there uncomfortably topless, I save time, and I don’t get cold.

Step 2 – Make Sure you have Everything in your Pump Bag. Sounds simple, but double and triple check. Is the pump there? All pump parts? Milk collection bottles or bags? Hands-free bra?

Pumping Session

Step 3 – Getting Ready to Pump. Get everything you need to pump together and head to the room you’ll pump in. Ideally you won’t have to make two trips. Sometimes this means my hands are full with my pump bag, milk cooler, lunchbox, and computer. If you pump at your desk, make sure you have everything you need within arms reach.

Step 4 – Set up the Pump. I always set up the pump first – assemble any parts, plug in the motor, and make sure you have everything there for pumping.

Step 5 – Breast Massage. When I’m all set and know I’ll begin pumping shortly, I briefly massage my breasts. This works as a ‘warmup’ of sorts, and it helps my milk start flowing soon after i begin pumping.

Step 6 – Prepare to Pump. Unbutton shirt, put on hands-free bra, place pump flanges on breasts.

Step 7 – Start Pumping. I always start with the letdown mode (or if the pump I’m using doesn’t have one, I set it to low suction and fast speed)

Step 8 – Watch Videos of My Son. Watching a couple of videos of my son always help my milk start to flow faster than if I’m doing something else when I start pumping.

Step 9 – Adjust Pump Settings. As soon as my milk starts to flow, I adjust the pump settings to high suction and low speed (just as a baby would adjust his pace to drink milk after triggering the letdown reflex).

Step 10 – Pay Attention to Milk Flow & Re-Adjust Pump Settings. As the flow of milk from the let down tapers off, I put the pump back into letdown mode to trigger a second letdown. For me, a pumping session is typically 2-3 letdowns.

Step 11 – Carefully Put Away the Milk. Once I’ve finished pumping, I very carefully remove the pump and cap the milk collection bottles. I do this before getting my clothes back together so I can avoid any accidental spills.

Step 12 – Store Milk. I store my expressed milk in a cooler bag because it isn’t always easy to find space in the fridge.

Step 13 – Store Pump Parts. I don’t wash the pump parts between sessions (only at home at night). I store them in a bag and place them in the fridge instead.

Step 14 – Button Up & Pack Up. Don’t forget to get your clothes back together! Pack everything up and head back to your desk until the next time you have to pump!

At Home After Work

Step 15 – Put Expressed Milk in Fridge or Freezer. Make a habit of doing it right when you get home. You don’t want to find it still sitting on the counter right before bed.

Step 16 – Wash Pump Parts Immediately. Washing the pump parts is never fun. Just do it. Get it out of the way and allow them time to dry before bed so you can pack up your pump bag.

Step 17 – Pack Back Up Your Pump Bag. I like to do this at night if I can because the morning is rushed and I’m more likely to forget something.

What do you Think?

I think my routine is pretty standard, but following it each day makes a difference. I pump so much faster now than in the early days when I would fumble around with parts and do stuff in a different order each time.

Do you follow a specific pumping routine? What works for you? Share in the comments below!

See more pumping tips & what to pack in your bag:

breast pump on the go  what to put in breast pump bag  using breast pump in office


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Pumping on the Go

breast pump on the go

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. All opinions are 100% my own.

As a breastfeeding and working mom, I did my share of pumping so my son could be exclusively breastfed. I returned to work when he was three months old, so pumping was a must. While most of my pumping was done in the office, I also had to pump in some odd places due to meetings and personal appointments.

breast pump on the go

In no particular order, here are a few random spots where I proudly wielded a breast pump…

1. In the co-ed sitting area outside the bathrooms in a Michelin-starred restaurant. I didn’t want to pump at the table but I also didn’t want to pump inside the bathroom. I got to sit on a lovely blue velvet bench and nobody bothered me. I wore a nursing apron and did a quick session with my favorite manual pump.

2. On a high-speed train. I unplugged my laptop and plugged in my double electric pump. Once again, I pumped under a nursing cover… the sound of the train drowned out any noise from my pump so other passengers were none the wiser.
3. On a sailboat. We were going out all day so pumping was a must. Unfortunately, at the end of the day I dumped most of the milk because it was super warm out and I neglected to bring my cooler bag. I always remembered it after that!
4. At the movies. This was slightly challenging because it was dark! My son was probably about four months old at the time and since he was usually feeding every 2 to 2.5 hours, I had to pump while we were out. I didn’t have the highest yield from that session but it prevented engorgement and allowed me to not worry about my supply. I used a simple 1-piece pump (since it is totally silent) and then poured the milk into a storage bottle.
Pumping On the Go

I know these aren’t the wackiest of places, but I hope the fact I pumped in a variety of public spaces encourages you to do the same so you can keep on pumping that liquid gold! My biggest tip is just go for it… did I feel awkward pumping on a train? Yes – but the truth is no one was paying attention. My other tip is to be prepared – pack your pump bag carefully so you have everything you need while you’re away from the places you usually pump.

What are some odd spots where you’ve pumped? Share in the comments below!

Not sure what to put in your pumping bag? Check out the essentials:

what to put in breast pump bag

Returning to work and pumping in the office? Check out my tips:

using breast pump in office


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7 Things to Consider When Buying a Breast Pump

buying a breast pump

Shopping for a Breast Pump

When you are shopping for a breast pump there are a lot of things to consider. There are the typical things to think about, like price, but there are other considerations so you can select the pump that is most suited to your needs.

Key Considerations for a Breast Pump Purchase

things to consider when buying a breast pump1. Is it portable? Can I move it easily around the house? Can I easily carry this pump back and forth to work? Can I carry this if I need to pump while out running errands?

2. Is it easy to clean? Some pumps are harder to clean than others or have more small parts. Since you’ll be washing the parts each time you use the pump, you want a pump that is easy to assemble and disassemble and easy to clean.

3. Is it noisy? Most electric pumps come with a bit of noise due to the motor. If you will be pumping often around your sleeping baby or in a public setting, consider the noise level to make sure you are comfortable.

4. Is it comfortable to use? Check the flange sizes, flange material, tube length, etc. I prefer pumps with silicone flanges because they are more comfortable on my breast. If it is an electric pump, I make sure the tubing will be long enough so I can sit or stand comfortably while pumping. Also for manual pumps, check if it is comfortable and ergonomic to hold.

philips avent manual breast pump

5. Easy to use? This is another key factor. Is it simple to operate? Are the settings complicated or easy to figure out? Can you assemble it easily?

6. Does it have any special features to making pumping easier? Many electric pumps and even some manual pumps have a letdown function that helps you stimulate your milk flow more quickly. This is a very nice feature to have! Some pumps also have a timer or digital display so you can keep track of your pumping session.

7. Is it easy to get replacement parts/ is there a warranty if it breaks? Most pumps come with a limited warranty but customer service varies a lot between brands. Medela, for example, is known for their extra customer service.

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7 Tips: Using you Breast Pump at Work

pump at work

Using your Breast Pump at Work

Pumping at work isn’t glamorous, but it’s essential for breastfeeding moms who need to spend time away from their babies. I pump daily at the office and over time I’ve streamlined my routine. See my favorite tips here and let me know your strategies for pumping at work in the comments below. Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. All opinions are 100% my own.

7 Key Tips for Pumping at Work

1. Don’t wash pump parts between sessions. It isn’t necessary if you can keep the parts in a cool and clean place between pumping sessions. If you prefer, a quick rinse is fine, but a thorough cleaning is unnecessary because breast milk is sterile. Just a thorough wash at the end of each day is enough and this way you can save time in your work day. If you’re really concerned, these Medela wipes (available for great low prices on Amazon) might do the trick.

2. Use a hands-free bra. This is essential for me because I pump both sides using a double electric pump. The hands-free bra lets me do work, have lunch, or play with my phone while pumping.

3. Develop a routine. Following the same routine each day will help you express milk quickly – much like your breasts respond to your baby, if you develop a pumping routine you can stimulate the milk ejection reflex quickly to express milk. For example, at the start of each session I drink a glass of lemon water and watch a video of my son.

4. Pump directly into milk storage bags. I started doing this for three reasons. First, I spilled milk out of the pump bottles a few times, out of clumsiness or while trying to pour milk from one bottle to the other. Second, my milk collection bottles leaked occasionally and I did not like coming home to find spilled milk in my cooler bag. Third, it was easier to transport and store milk in bags vs. the milk collection bottles.

5. Follow a pumping schedule. While away from your baby, it is best to pump as often as he or she would nurse so you can maintain your supply and express sufficient milk. I have also found that it helps to pump at approximately the same time each day. My first pumping session of the day is at 11am and my body has adjusted so I can express milk and empty my breasts quite quickly at that time.

6. Keep your pump in good condition. Membranes, valves, etc., occasionally need to be replaced. If you notice your milk production dropping off, check your pump parts in case suction has been weakened. Replacement parts are available on Amazon!

7. Try breast compressions.  I do this in every pumping session. I apply pressure to my breast while expressing to stimulate the milk flow. Especially towards the end of each sessions this helps me be sure I’ve drained my breasts. It can also speed pumping up a bit.

I hope these tips help and good luck pumping! Let me know any comments or questions – I’m here to answer!

using breast pump in office

You might also be interested in pump bag essentials or breast reviews:

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Breast Milk Storage Guidelines

Breast Milk storage guidelines

This article contains affiliate links. All opinions are 100% my own.

As a breastfeeding and pumping mom, breast milk is always on my mind. How much is there in the fridge? Is it enough for tomorrow? What about my freezer stash? Is any of the milk going to expire soon?

While breast milk storage guidelines can vary somewhat, I follow the “5-5-5” principle to make sure my expressed milk stays fresh and doesn’t expire before we can use it. See this handy graphic as a guide.

 

Breastmilk Storage 555 Rule

Of course, this might leave you with questions like, what is room temp? Or, it really only lasts 5 months in the freezer? I defined room temperature as quite cool – at work I pump and store the expressed milk in a cooler bag – so it is warmer than a refrigerator but cooler than my overheated office.

For freezer storage, if you have a deep freezer the milk will likely remain fresh longer and can be stored for up to one year. If your freezer is small and the doors is opened frequently (leading to fluctuation in the the freezer temperature) the milk may stay fresh for less than 5 months.

I hope the 5-5-5 rule helps you maximize your expressed milk. Remember, if you are freezing milk, label the storage bags with the quantity and date!

What’s in your breast pump bag? Curious about boosting your milk supply? Read on!

what to put in breast pump bag lactation smoothie recipe

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