Can power pumping increase milk supply?: Power pumping schedule

Updated Apr 16, 2024
Can power pumping increase milk supply?: Power pumping schedule | Huckleberry

Power pumping can be a good way for a breastfeeding, combo feeding or exclusively pumping parent to increase their breast milk supply. It’s often recommended as a step to boosting milk supply since it doesn’t require any new tools or supplements and is pretty low-risk. However, there is a time investment. You’ll ideally want to commit to power pumping for one hour each day for 5 - 7 days in a row. 

To help you decide if power pumping is right for you, we’ll walk you through power pumping instructions, present the pros and cons, and give you tips for making the process as simple and successful as possible. 


Power pumping explained

Reasons to try power pumping

How should you power pump?

Sample power pumping schedule for parents

3 tips to make power pumping easier


How to power pump? FAQ

Power pumping is a method for increasing breast milk production. It involves using a breast pump to remove as much milk as you can from your breasts in concentrated intervals over a short time. A power pump session would be in addition to your regular pumping schedule. This practice attempts to signal to your body to make more milk by simulating a baby who is going through a growth spurt and cluster feeding.

The theory is that power pumping attempts to completely empty the breasts and hyper-stimulates the prolactin hormone cascade [1] which leads to increased breast milk production. 

Power pumping is one of the most common recommendations lactation consultants suggest for parents hoping to increase their milk supply. If your milk supply has recently decreased or you’re trying to maximize breast milk production to meet your baby’s needs, power pumping may be the key! 

Note that before you decide to try power pumping, it may be beneficial to determine if there’s a reason your supply has dropped [2] and address that first. This could include your baby not latching properly if you’re also feeding at the breast, your pump has a faulty part, or perhaps your milk supply has regulated at around 3 - 4 months postpartum (which is normal!).

In general, if you’re already producing enough milk to support your baby and try power pumping, it may lead to increased leaking, fuller breasts, or in rare cases clogged milk ducts. You know your body and your baby best! If you have concerns about your milk supply or your baby’s feeding schedule, reach out to their healthcare provider or an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) for support. They can help you decide how often you should power pump, if at all. 

Power pumping involves 5 - 7 days of pumping in intervals at around the same time every day for a total of one hour (with breaks). For this reason, it’s often preferable to use a double electric breast pump so that you don’t have to pump manually for these concentrated sessions. If you do not have a double-electric breast pump, power pumping is still possible using a manual hand pump! 

If you are considering pumping one breast at a time, keep in mind that your breasts let down simultaneously, even if only one side is stimulated. By double-pumping you can take advantage of the increased milk flow and surge of the prolactin hormone. It’s also more convenient and less time-consuming to pump both breasts at the same time. 

Note that toward the end of your power pumping session, it’s normal to get very little (if any!) breast milk. Keep pumping anyway! The goal isn’t to immediately get a large quantity of milk. Instead, you’re signaling your body to increase overall milk production. So, instead of focusing on how much milk you get during your power pumping session, lactation consultants recommend you focus on “collecting minutes.” In time, the extra stimulation pays off - most parents begin seeing and feeling the effects of power pumping on the milk supply beginning around 3 - 4 days into the new regimen. 

Power pumping involves pumping on and off for an hour, once a day. Here are the intervals: pump for 20 minutes, take a 10 minute break (you can leave your pump attached or get up, walk around, hop in the shower…), pump again for 10 minutes, take another 10 minute break, then pump again for 10 minutes, for a total of 3 pumping sessions in an hour. 

There is a variation of this schedule that some parents prefer; instead of pumping for 20 minutes to start, you can pump for 10 minutes, break for 10 minutes, pump for 10 minutes, break for 10 minutes, pump for 10 minutes, break for 10 minutes, and finish off with a final 10 minute pump. 

If you decide to try power pumping, you’ll want to commit to doing so for 5 - 7 days in a row. You should begin to see an increase in your supply after 3 days. 

For best results, aim to do this block of power pumping at around the same time every day, without skipping a day. Ideally, you want to mimic your baby’s cluster feeding, and typically infants are consistent with their feeding times when they’re in a growth spurt.

After your 5 - 7 days of power pumping, you can go back to your normal pumping schedule and allow your body to adjust to your new milk output levels. If you need to further increase your breast milk supply and want to go back to do another round of power pumping, it’s best to take a week off, then go back for “round 2.”

Double-electric pump option 1Double-electric pump option 2
Pump20 minutes10 minutes
Pause10 minutes10 minutes
Pump10 minutes10 minutes
Pause10 minutes10 minutes
Pump10 minutes10 minutes
Pause-10 minutes
Pump-10 minutes

Due to the frequency and duration of power pumping sessions, consider using a double-electric breast pump, if possible. It’s a lot tougher if you’re pumping just one breast at a time or are using a manual breast pump! 

However, if you do use a single pump, you could follow this schedule: Pump each side for 12 minutes then alternate back and forth between breasts for 8 minutes each for another 3 intervals. This technique means you’d be giving each side a rest versus resting completely if you were to pump both breasts at the same time. Of course, feel free to take a break between sessions if your hands get tired. 

Higher suction doesn’t always lead to more milk! Pumping effectiveness isn’t determined by using the highest vacuum strength and cycle speed settings. Pumping at a vacuum strength that is causing you discomfort can possibly damage the nipple [3], cause your body to tense up, or make it difficult to stick to your power pumping plan, which actually works against you and decreases your output. Instead, find the suction level that is truly comfortable for you — even if this means starting on one of the lowest settings. Over time, as your body adjusts to pumping and your milk supply regulates, you may be able to experiment with stronger vacuum levels. 

Have you checked to be sure you’re using the correct flange size? While it used to be thought most parents needed a 24mm/25mm or 27mm/28mm flange, new research has found these are actually not the most common sizes! Consider experimenting with flange sizes and measuring your nipple (you can DIY a ruler [4] or purchase one) for optimal milk output and ensuring pumping is as comfortable as possible. 

Another tip is to re-measure your nipples after your milk supply has significantly increased (AKA your milk “came in,”) about a week after delivery, about 4 weeks after delivery, and if you experience any changes in body weight during your pumping journey. Oftentimes the size we are told to use while still in the hospital is no longer the most appropriate once engorgement and increased milk production occurs.

  • Power pumping is one of the most effective techniques for boosting your breast milk output. It mimics how a baby cluster feeds during a growth spurt, which signals to your body that more milk is required.  

  • Power pumping to increase supply involves pumping in frequent intervals for 5 - 7 days in a row, preferably at the same time every day. You’d aim to pump around 3 times in one hour in order to reap the benefits of this frequent milk expression. 

  • If possible, consider using a double-electric breast pump while power pumping and making sure you’re using the correct flange size and pump settings for maximum effectiveness. 

How to power pump? FAQ

Q: Does power pumping work after 3 months?


Yes! Power pumping can be a good way to boost your breast milk output even after your supply has regulated at around 3 - 4 months postpartum. Around this time various hormone and lifestyle changes can result in a low milk supply, especially if you are skipping or decreasing the length of pump sessions. If you wish to build up your milk supply again, you might consider 5 - 7 days of power pumping.

Q: Can power pumping enhance lactation?


Yes! The goal of power pumping is to increase the amount of breast milk your body is making by mimicking a baby’s cluster feeding during a growth spurt.

Q: What's the recommended power pumping routine for increasing milk supply?


For best results, set aside a one-hour block of time (around the same time of day) for 5 -7 days in a row. Then you would follow these power pumping instructions each day: Pump for 20 minutes, and take a 10 minute break. Then pump for another 10 minutes and follow this with another 10 minute break. Then pump for the last 10 minutes to complete the hour. Alternatively, you could choose to pump for 10 instead of 20 minutes for your initial pump session.

Q: What are the benefits of following a power pumping schedule?


There are pros and cons to power pumping. The main benefit is this intensive week of pumping can effectively increase your breast milk output. A downside is that it is intensive — setting aside a whole hour to pump, especially while also taking care of an infant, can be daunting.

Q: What are the risks associated with power pumping?


If you decide to power pump and already have an adequate supply of breast milk, you may be more likely to experience breast engorgement or clogged ducts, which can lead to mastitis if not managed properly. Frequent pumping can also be uncomfortable, especially if your breast pump flanges do not fit correctly. If you have concerns about your supply or pump equipment, consult an experienced IBCLC.

Note: The content on this site is for informational purposes only and should not replace medical advice from your doctor, pediatrician, or medical professional. If you have questions or concerns, you should contact a medical professional.

4 Sources



  2. American Academy of Pediatrics (2022). Low Breast Milk Supply: 5 Steps That Can Help.

  3. Children's Health (2024). How to increase milk supply when pumping.