How Does Power Pumping Increase Milk Supply?

Power pumping is designed to mimic a baby’s natural cluster feeding phases.3 These phases occur when an infant feeds in frequent spurts with short pauses between them.3 This frequent cycle maintains and increases the release of prolactin, the hormone responsible for breast milk production.3,4 Also, as the breasts are emptied several times, there is space for the flow of milk to continue, stimulating a higher overall supply.3 For these reasons, power pumping can be a useful technique to address low milk supply, but please be sure to consult your healthcare provider to make sure it’s a good solution for you.

How Does Power Pumping Work?

Timing is key to power pumping. There are various ways to time out a power pumping session, but they all involve short bursts of pumping followed by a pause. Here are a few options:

15, 10, 15, 10, 15

For this method, start out with fifteen minutes of pumping followed by ten minutes of rest.3 Follow that with fifteen minutes of pumping, ten minutes of rest, and then fifteen more minutes of pumping.3 Within just more than an hour, you will have pumped for a total of forty-five minutes and potentially emptied your breasts as many as three times. This method is recommended no more than once a day.3


For a fifty-minute power pumping session, you can break your time into ten-minute chunks.3 Start by pumping for ten minutes, then rest for ten. Do that one more time, then end with ten more minutes of pumping. This method is recommended up to two times a day.3


In this easy-to-remember timing, you pump for five minutes and pause for five minutes, for a total of three pumping sprints.3 The whole session will take just twenty-five minutes. This method is recommended up to six times a day.3

Power Pumping Tips

Here are a few tips to get the most out of power pumping breast milk:

Use a Double Pump Set

Pumping both breasts at the same time is more efficient and can produce a higher quantity overall.3 There’s one more benefit, too: When you are in a rest period, you get to truly rest, as opposed to simply moving on to the other breast.

Incorporate Massage

While prolactin is the hormone that stimulates milk production, oxytocin helps with letdown.3,4,5,6 To release oxytocin, do something that feels soothing and relaxing for you!5 You might try asking a partner or friend for a massage, applying a warm washcloth to your chest, or snuggling your little one close for some skin-on-skin contact.5,6

Try It at Night

To get started with power pumping, you might produce milk more quickly if you try it at night. That’s when prolactin tends to be highest.6 Also, since feedings are sometimes limited in the late-night hours to allow for all-essential sleep, power pumping at night might help counter the effects of longer breaks between feedings.

Wait to Refrigerate

Since these power pumping sessions usually take an hour or less, it’s fine to hold off on refrigerating the milk until the session is done.3 The milk will be fine for that time period, so that’s one less thing you need to do or worry about.3 Instead, you can sit back, relax and focus on pumping or pausing.

Whether you’re working to increase your breast milk supply, optimize your own nutrition, or simply make breastfeeding work as well as possible for you and your child, you can explore additional resources to support all of this and more in our Breastfeeding Resource Centre.