Best Breastfeeding Tip EVER: Power Pumping


PumpEase Hands-Free Pumping Supports The past week has been rife with life lessons for me.  1.) When you plan a romantic weekend away whilst breastfeeding, make darn sure your pump is working well and that you’re working well with your pump.  2.) Having not heeded lesson one, when you get home on the brink of mastitis (romantic, I know) and your milk supply is demolished, power pump.  3.) When your toddler, who has a pernicious stomach virus, mentions poop even in passing right before a bath, save the suds for later.

I think lessons one and three are pretty self-explanatory, but I have to share the best breastfeeding/pumping tip I have ever heard during my 20-month (over two babes) breastfeeding tenure.  Let me repeat: ever.

Three days after returning from said romantic getaway (during which I lost most of my milk because I just couldn’t seem to let down for the pump), I called the lactation consultant at the hospital where both my boys were born to see if there was any hope–my poor little guy was hungry and my milk seemed to be dwindling further!  With precipitously plummeting prolactin levels and on the brink of tears (Rants aside, I’m a breastfeeder.  I don’t ween until my kids can talk and walk.  Period.), I nodded through all the advice–pump after every feeding, fenugreek supplements, etc., and then she hit on a tidbit so priceless I can’t even believe I’d never heard about it before: power pumping.

It’s difficult and super time consuming to essentially double your nursing time by pumping after every feeding, particularly if you have an active or sick toddler on your hands in addition to an infant, so when the lc told me about power pumping, I saw light at the end of tunnel and got straight to work.  She told me to pump for ten minutes, rest for ten minutes, on and off, for a total of one hour (of course I did two), to simulate a growth spurt.  The best part: you can do it whenever you have time, so I was able to rebuild my milk supply after my guys were already in bed for the night.

I power pumped and took fenugreek three nights in a row and saw a huge increase in my milk that I hadn’t seen with the fenugreek + sporadic pumping regimen I’d been futilely practicing for most of the week. For three days,Little Lou had been taking full 8 oz bottles at bedtime after 20 frustrating minutes of succor-less suckling.  After the first power pumping session, he nursed for 20 minutes and took 4 ounces.  The second night, he nursed for 20 minutes again and took a 2 ounce top up.  The third night, he nursed 20 minutes and fell fast asleep, milk drunk.

Power pumping would not only be great for re-gaining a lost milk supply, but would also be a stellar way to stockpile milk if you’re going back to a paid job or on a trip away from the kiddos.

Power to the pump, mamas!  Let it set you free. (And thanks much to the fab lc at St. Joes!)

– M


  1. You might want to consider the Hygiea pump in future. It has a recording button that plays your baby crying, or cooing helps much with letdown. Might have helped your problem with pump letdown,

  2. Awesome advice, thank you so much. So many women have quit breast feeding because their supplies were dwindling. . . I wonder if this would helped them?

  3. Andrea – I agree! We had latch issues initially, so I spent quite a bit of time at a breast-feeding support group….but power pumping was never mentioned. So strange. Spread the word!!

  4. I just tried this! I remembered reading it when you posted and my baby was born a week ago. She had jaundice and I had to supplement with formula to try to flush out the bilirubin and trying to nurse, feed THEN pump was just too much. My milk was fast drying out and I remembered this tip. I only did it one time and we are back in business 🙂
    Thank you so much!

  5. You can do it once a day.  I liked doing it after the babies were in bed for the night so I wouldnt be interrupted.  I only had to do it for 3 or 4 days with no problems whatsoever, but a friend who did it longer had trouble and had some bleeding, so pay attention to your bodys signals : )

    • Hi Molly,

      I appreciate this is an old discussion, but i was hoping to get some feedback from you regarding your power pump experience. When your milk supply tanked, did your breasts become soft and milk flow non-existent?

      I ask because my son is 2.5 months and we’ve been on Domperidone since he was 1 month due to flow issues. However, i had established a good milk supply and he was nursing off 1 breast per feed and i would pump out the rest.

      Within the last week he has started sleeping through the night. My breasts would be engorged by morning. 3 days ago my milk dropped to non-existence. It’s gone. Disappeared. He doesn’t get any satisfaction at the breast.

      My breasts are flat as pancakes now. When i squeeze them milk will squirt out; however, the flow is no longer there for him. In addition, I am not pumping out what i used to after feeds — not even .5 of an ounce whereas i was able to pump up to 4 ounces post feed.

      My questions: how many days went by after your supply diminished before you took action? When your supply tanked, did your breasts become soft, and milk flow non-existent? what time would you sit down to power pump? Did you always do 2 hours straight? Was it always the same time? Also, did you keep nursing/or pumping throughout the day, and if so, how often? Did your milk come back as plentiful as before, more, or less? I see from your post that by the third day (i assume after you power pumped on the third day?) you did not have to top up your son, but does that mean your supply ALL came back, or it was enough at that time to feed him what he needed but it didn’t come back as before.

      I know these are a lot of questions, but I’m absolutely devastated right now (can’t stop crying) and any hope based on someone’s experience would be greatly appreciated.

      Thank you.

      • Hey Mama – I see you posted this a couple months ago so it may not be relevant – but I wanted to just tell you you’re a great mama and I hope that you aren’t still crying! Hang in there – the mama-guilt is ridiculous – you obviously love your kiddo and breastfeeding is wonderful if you can – but it’s also wonderful that baby is growing and gaining. 🙂

        • Hi L,

          I worked like crazy and refused to take no for an answer.

          I began by nursing him at the breast every 2-3 hours, even at night. I would hand express after each nurse to extract as much milk as possible and cup feed. If I thought it wasn’t enough I would cup feed some formula mixed with breastmilk. I gave him the breast when he wanted to pacify. I let him suck as long as he wanted. I would let him nurse while napping. I let him have access to the breast 24/7. We slept together so I could respond to him. After a couple of weeks, my milk supply started to increase and I was able to nurse him with no formula top-up.

          He is 1.5 years old now and we are still going strong 🙂

          • It sounds like I’m doing exactly the same things as you to bring back milk to the boobs, it’s been three days since I had low supply so I’m going to try so much harder. He’s on my boob but obviously not enough milk so I do use some of my frozen milk that I saved up. Thank you so much for your feedback although it’s been a whole year and a half since you posted. Totally doing skin to skin 24/7 access to the boob even at night he sleeps with me to, thank God for maternity leave for a couple more weeks. Again thank you I just want to give you a hug and congratulations on A successful journey of breast-feeding. Pray for me because I’m pretty sure we cried the same tears ❤️

          • Hang in there, Le. I’m sorry you are so upset; I know the feeling, and it hurts in a Momma’s heart something vicious. Just know you’re an amazing mom to even try to tough this out. Best of luck, I’m sending you positive vibes. And keep me posted 🙂

      • Rachel, I haven’t been on the blog for ages, and I’m so sorry this comment was left unanswered. I’m sure you’ve figured your situation out by now, but I feel just awful that this went unanswered when you really needed help. I’m sorry.

        For the benefit of others, i had a very good, established supply, but it only took 2-3 days to tank. I was horribly engorged, a thousand miles from my baby, and unresponsive to pumping (my babies never took bottles and I had only breastfed). By the time I got home, I was noticeably less engorged but still achy.

        The power pumpng was great because I wasn’t “taking” milk from the baby. I nursed him and then power pumped. And then I’d power pump again an hour or two later, before he even woke up or wanted more.

        The pumping initially yielded very little milk–maybe 2 oz at a go, but the pumping
        was simulating a breastfed baby on a growth spurt, signaling my body to make more milk. I stopped pumping when he was consistently falling asleep on the breast. For a few days I had noticeably more milk than was necessary, then my supply adjusted again.

        This is a trick that worked for me quickly and in desperation. I hope it helps others, too!

  6. GREAT tip! I have never heard of this and was just perusing your new layout when I found this under New Here. I am totally going to use this. I need to build up the ol’ milk stash. Thanks!

  7. Yeah, I couldn't believe I'd never heard of it, but please do be conscious of your body's needs–one friend had sensitivity/blood in milk after only three sessions, which did not happen to me, but it's good for
    people to be aware. Best to you!
    Sent from my iPhone

  8. Thank you for this. I’ve been in tears because my supply has suddenly dropped and nothing has worked to bring it back up. I’m going to try power pumping tonight!

  9. Molly, I just read that power pumping is futile unless you are also up pumping at night every 3 hours. Is that what you were doing? Or were you getting a good night’s sleep when you made your attempt? Just wondering if it’s actually going to work unless I’m up at night also…

  10. I know this is years later from the original post, but hoping someone will answer. My milk supply is very low and my baby is hardly gaining. The dr told me to pump for 10 mins after each feed but when I read this was wondering if you pumped after each feeding plus power pumped or just power pumped?

    • Elise, just put baby to the breast as often as possible. Every 1.5-2 hours. And every 3 hours at night. Let baby nurse to sleep. Let baby soothe at breast. Let baby hang out on the breast all day. Eat oatmeal, drink mothers milk tea, take domperidone if necessary. Don’t pump and take milk away from baby, unless you are feeding it to baby. The baby is more efficient than a pump at extracting milk. I would let baby nurse first if you’re thinking of pumping. But really, just put baby to nurse as often as possible. After a few days should increase.

    • Hi Elise, this is Molly. I’m so sorry, I just saw this. I haven’t been on the blog for years. It’s so frustrating and emotional to have trouble breastfeeding. I hope you’ve found some comfort by now.

      If not, I agree with Rachel below–of course you should never “take” milk from a baby.

      Pump directly after feeding. Almost nothing will be expressed, but it will give your body the signal that the baby needs more and supply should ramp up. Oatmeal and supplements can be helpful. Take care not to over-do the pumping since it’s easy to become raw, then you have another problem.

      But most of all, take care with yourself, because however you end up feeding your baby, the most important thing is to be present and engaged and as rested as possible. Xo

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